Thirteen Valley student-athletes competed on the third day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium. The MVC dominated the women's shot put, placing three in the top five, including Brittany Smith (2nd), Jeneva McCall (3rd) and Felisha Johnson (5th).
Listed below are the individual school recaps from each of the 13 competitors on the second day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships:
Junior Brittany Smith claims her second national runner-up performance in the shot put competition with a season's second-best mark of 58-04.75, as the Illinois State track & field teams conclude competition at the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium. Akil Mills threw four feet further than his previous career best, taking 11th place in the hammer throw with a mark of 208-08.
Smith opened the shot put competition with a mark of 54-06.00 putting her in fourth place after the first round of throws. She followed with an improvement to 54-09.50 on her second attempt, which would hold as her best in the prelims. Four other women passed her on their third throws, allowing her to squeak into the finals as the No. 8 seed.
On her first throw of finals, Smith bombed one right down the center of the sector at 58-04.75, moving her into second place. That mark would hold and stand five inches further than third-place finisher Jeneva McCall of Southern Illinois (57-11.75). Tia Brooks of Oklahoma would prevail as the winner, throwing 60-06.00.
The All-American claimed her second-straight runner-up finish of the meet and her third top-five finish at the championships this season, as the other one came indoors where she finished third in the weight. Her mark of 58-04.75 is the second-best is school history.
Prior to Smith in the shot put, Mills started the day off in the hammer as the only other Redbird competing on the day. He opened his competition with a season-best opener of 200-08, moving him into the 12th position headed into the second round of throws. He would better that mark, throwing a career-best 208-08, jumping four spots to eighth. He would throw just 204-05 on his third, failing to better his mark and finish in the top nine to move on to the finals. His mark of 208-08 is the second-best in Illinois State history.
Indiana State junior Felisha Johnson closed out the 2012 track & field season for the Sycamores on a positive note, breaking an 21-year-old school record and placing fifth in the women's shot put at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Earlier Friday, junior Brandon Pounds posted two good throws early and finished sixth in the men's hammer throw to earn his first First-Team All-American recognition.
The junior came through on her final attempt with a school record throw of 56-feet-11¼-inches (17.35 meters), breaking the old mark of 56-feet-10¾-inches (17.34 meters) set by Christy Barrett Sherman in 1991.
This was the second time this year that Johnson has broken the shot put record as she surpassed Barrett's indoor record with a throw of 55-feet-5¾-inches (16.91 meters) at the MVC Indoor Championships.
Fellow junior Mary Theisen finished 20th overall in the shot put with her best throw coming on her third attempt at 52-feet-1¾-inches (15.89 meters).
Johnson earned her first First Team All-American recognition for outdoor track & field to go along with three All-American honors from the indoor season.
Pounds earned his first All-American recognition with the effort and scored Indiana State's first points in the men's outdoor championship since Aubrey Herring placed second in the 110 hurdles at the 2000 NCAA Championships.
The junior went opened with a throw of 210-feet-4-inches (64.11 meters) and followed that up with a toss of 212-feet-1-inch (64.66 meters). Pounds was third at the end of the first flight rotation and was fifth after the second flight concluded to advance to the final round.
University of Northern Iowa senior Olimpia Nowak wrapped up her illustrious collegiate career with a 12th-place finish in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium on Friday evening. Nowak scored 5,593 points - the second-highest total of her career - and finished just 13 points shy of 10th place.
Nowak finished in the nation's Top-12 in the heptathlon for the third consecutive season, placing 11th in 2010 and 10th last season with 5,314 points.
Nowak used two season-best performances over the final three events on Friday to climb the standings. She leapt 18-07.75 (5.68m) in the long jump to surpass her previous best this year and threw 123-02 (37.55m) in the javelin. Nowak closed with the second-fastest 800m time of her life at 2:15.09 to lock up the 12th-place finish.
Also a three-time NCAA Indoor Championships qualifier in the pentathlon, Nowak concludes her career with six Top-14 national finishes in the multi-events.
One day after claiming second-team All-America honors with a 10th-place finish in the decathlon, junior Daniel Gooris took 22nd place in the pole vault. Gooris cleared 16-04.75 (5.00m).
Southern Illinois senior Jeneva McCall finished off her illustrious college career with a third-place finish in the shot put Friday at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
McCall posted a throw of 57-11.75 to earn the 13th All-America honor of her career. She finished behind Illinois State's Brittany Smith in second (58-04.75) and national champion Tia Brooks of Oklahoma (60-06.00).
Saluki junior Kim Fortney finished 16th in the shot put with a career-best throw of 53-01.75, which moves her up to fourth in SIU history in the event.
Also competing for the Salukis at the NCAA Championships Friday, junior Cody Doerflein finished 20th in the pole vault with a height of 16-10.75 and sophomore Doug Palacious finished 21st in the triple jump with a jump of 49-11.75.
Wichita State's J'Lynn Ledesma finished tied for 17th in the women's high jump and Tanya Friesen finished 21st in the women's heptathlon Friday at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
Ledesma, from Wellington, Kan., finished tied for 17th overall in a field of 24 high jump competitors with a top mark of 5-8 ¾ Friday.
After making the mark, she missed three close attempts at 5-10 ½, which would have been a personal best height for the sophomore.
Junior Friesen, from Buhler, Kan., finished 21st overall in the women's heptathlon with 5,080 total points.
She moved up two spots after entering the second day of heptathlon competition in 23rd place with 3,059 points through the first four events Thursday.
Friday, she posted a top mark of 19-0 in the long jump for a ninth-place finish in that portion of the multi-event for 786 points. Her top throw of 110-5 in the javelin equaled 546 points, while Friesen's time of 2:30.27 in the 800 meters was worth 689 points.