When mentioning women’s sports, championships and Connecticut, reflexively you think women’s basketball. Members of the UConn women’s track and field team will out to change that starting today as they have sent a record 11 participants to the NCAA East Regionals that begin in Bloomington, Ind., at the University of Indiana.
Huskies who will compete over the next three days are Trisha-Ann Hawthorne (100m and 200m), Heather Wilson (800m), Leah Andrianos (1500m), Brigitte Mania (800m), Celina Emerson (400m), Tynisha McMillian (shot putt and discus), Whitney Holder (long jump), Ilva Bikanova (high jump), Meghan Cummingham (3,000m steeple chase), Lauren Sara (10,000m) and Shauna McNiff (5,000m)
Going into the regionals with some momentum are McMillian, Hawthorne and Emerson. McMillian is fresh off winning the East Coast Athletic Conference outdoor titles in both the shot put and discus, and Hawthorne comes in as the four-time Big East champion in the 100m and 200m. Also competing as a conference champion is Cunningham, who won the 3,000m steeplechase at the Big East championships, and Bikanova, the ECAC champion in the high jump.
Need to Know
• LSU’s Semoy Hackett has been selected the Southeastern Conference’s Women’s Runner of the Year. Hackett, who had the most points at the conference tournament, led LSU to its fourth SEC Outdoor team title in the last five seasons. She is the SEC’s outdoor champion in the 100m and the 4×100 Relay, and was runner-up in the 200m. Her time in the 200 (22.41w) is the No. 2 in the NCAA this season.
• Arkansas’ Tina Sutej was named Women’s Field Event Athletes of the Year. Sutej, who is undefeated in 13 competitions this season both indoor and outdoor, set an NCAA, SEC Championship and school record (15-1.5) when won her second consecutive SEC title in the pole vault.
• Iowa senior Bethany Praska is the first Iowa woman to claim a Big Ten championship since 2009. Praska won the conference title in the 800m with a 2:05.63 – a Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track record time in the event. She also set the school record in the event (2:06.20) Feb. 12 at the Iowa State Classic. She was also a member of the championship 4×400 relay team, Iowa’s first winning effort since 2003. Its time (3:36.15) was also a facility record.
• Allison Stokke, who set a Cal indoor record in the pole vault when she cleared 13-11.75 at a March 5 competition, has qualified for the outdoor regionals this weekend in Oregon. Stokke’s best outdoor effort is 13-9.25, which ranked her 35 of 48 competitors in the event.
• Freshman Jessica Davis is sprinting through the Southern California record book this season. She finished second in the 100m at the Pac-10 championships with a personal best of 11.19 seconds – good enough for sixth all-time at USC. She had another personal best (22.84) in winning the conference’s 200m title, tying Torri Edwards for sixth on the USC list, and setting a Roy P. Drachman Stadium (at University of Arizona) record. Her previous PR in the event was also a USC freshman record (22.98) set at Mt. SAC on April 16. That time broke the previous mark (23.22) set by Angela Williams in 1999.
• University of Louisiana-Lafayette senior hurdler Jasmine Anderson is looking to continue her strong season at the regionals in Bloomington, Indiana. She is 22nd nationally in the 100-meter hurdles. She is an All-Sun Belt selection, has a school-record (13.19) in the event outdoors and tied the Sun Belt record indoors this season.
• Competition begins Thursday when Lady Demons senior hammer thrower Northwestern Louisiana State University’s DeJon Griffin is making her second regional championships appearance in the hammer throw. She extended her own school record to 182-5 in the hammer throw, which is 47th in the nation this season.