Junior Jack Anstey (1,500-meter), junior Sydney Laufenberg (discus) and sophomore Kameesha Smith (high jump) have all punched their tickets to compete and represent Illinois State on the NCAA’s biggest stage when they travel to Austin, Texas, for the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 5-8.
The three Redbirds qualified for the NCAA Championships this past week at the NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary Round in Sacramento, California, and marks the most individuals that have advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships during Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Jeff Bovee‘s tenure.
“I’m really proud of Meesha, Sydney, and Jack,” said Bovee. “To get two women in for the first time in awhile, and to get three athletes total to qualify for the championships – that’s our highest number in a number of years. I feel really pleased that we brought 17 student-athletes down and have three still moving on. Overall, a great weekend for the ‘Birds.”
Smith set high standards for the Redbirds, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in Illinois State’s very first event of the competition. Smith cleared 1.75m (5-08.75) to finish in a three-way tie for 10th place in high jump moving her through to the finals in Austin, Texas.
Laufenberg continued Illinois State’s successful showing at the NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field West Preliminary Round, punching her ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in discus on day two. She threw for a mark of 55.28m (181-04) to finish 11th in her third appearance at the NCAA West Prelims. The junior is a two-time MVC champion in discus and currently holds the school record of 56.99m (187-00), having set it at the Ole Miss Classic on March 30.
In the final day of competition, Anstey wrapped up the NCAA West Preliminary Round for the Redbirds with a career performance in the 1,500-meter run, punching his ticket to the NCAA Championships in the process. Anstey’s time of 3:41.81 was not only a personal-best, but also an Illinois State school record. The previous record of 3:42.19 was set by MVC Hall-of-Famer and NCAA All-American Christian Goy in 2001 and had stood untouched for 18 years.
More information will be available on Illinois State’s NCAA Championship-bound Redbirds on GoRedbirds.com in the coming days.