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Monday, April 19

New track facility delights opposing coaches

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[APRIL 19, 2004]  NORMAL -- Illinois State track and field head coach Elvis Forde received numerous compliments from his colleagues about the new outdoor facility during Saturday's Redbird Classic.

Several schools helped unveil the new track, including Missouri Valley Conference foe Southwest Missouri State. Forde hopes that coaches will continue to bring their athletes to compete at Illinois State in the future.

"So many coaches complimented our facility, especially the running surface," Forde said. "My hope is that they pass the word along and we can continue to have quality programs come here to compete with us."

The Redbirds' performances on the day did not disappoint either. Brittney Hourd was a first-place finisher in the long jump with a mark of 18-3 3/4. Hourd also took second in the triple jump, at 38-5 1/2. Laura Kennedy also placed first on the day, winning the 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 11:03.88. In the women's 4x100, Lian Lucas, Brittney Hourd Lindsey Arnold and Cherise Devers came in first with a time of 45.80.

In the women's 1,500, Betsy McDonald came in second with a time of 4:35.80, while in the 400 dash, Arnold placed second with a time of 55.59. Lucas took second in the 100 dash, finishing in 11.68, while Stephanie Mell was a second-place finisher in the javelin with 111-6.


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On the men's side, Tyler Gaumer was a first-place finisher in the pole vault with a height of 15-8 1/4, while Pierre Woods won the high jump with a leap of 6-11 3/4. Woods was also victorious in the 110 hurdles, winning with a time of 14.33. Like Woods, Rhett Hillard also won two events Saturday, placing first in both the shot put (55-0 3/4) and hammer throw (176-4).

Jeremy Doherty (3:47.83) and Dan Tripp (3:50.58) finished first and second in the 1,500 respectively, while Casey Gantt was runner-up in the triple jump (38-5 1/2) and third in the long jump (23-0). Taiwo Sodeyi finished second behind Woods in the 110 hurdles (14.88), while Mark Jackson was second in the hammer (175-4).

"The kids ran really well at home, and you always have to be happy about that," Forde said. "Everyone performed at a high level in our home facility."

Next the Redbirds travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Relays April 22-24.

[Illinois State University news release]

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