Trio of Track & Field standouts earn All-American honors at the NCAA Championships
All three Redbirds who competed at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships for Illinois State in Austin, Texas, returned home All-Americans in their respective events. Junior Jack Anstey finished seventh in the 1500-meter finals to be named a first-team All-American while junior Sydney Laufenberg and sophomore Kameesha Smith collected second-team All-America honors, in discus and high jump, respectively.
“The staff and student-athletes leave Austin hungry to return next year with many more qualifiers and to put many more points on the board,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Jeff Bovee. “We have two strong teams returning, so the next challenge for our program is to convert our conference and regional success onto the national stage. Jack, Kameesha, and Sydney did that this weekend and we return home proud of their efforts.”
Anstey, a native of Newtown Toowoomba, Australia, finished fifth in his preliminary race earlier in the week to advance to the 12-runner final on Friday night. He stayed in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race, but a strong kick at the end helped him cross the finish line in a time of 3:42.73 to finish seventh overall and earn first-team All-America honors. With his performance, Anstey is the first Illinois State male track and field athlete to earn All-America honors since 2014, when Curt Jensen finished eighth in the shot put. He is the first non-field athlete to earn All-America honors since 2000, when Christian Goy also finished in the top 8 in the 1,500-meters.
Laufenberg, a native of Clinton, Iowa, launched her best effort of the discus competition on her first attempt, recording a mark of 54.21m (177-11). However, she could not improve on that mark and did not advance out of the prelims to finish 14th overall and also take home second-team All-America honors.
Smith, a native of South Holland, Illinois, started the high jump competition strong clearing the first two bars (1.70m and 1.75m) in just three attempts. As she headed to the third bar at 1.78m (5-10), she missed on her first two attempts but cleared the bar on her third and final attempt to tie a personal best. However, her competition came to an end on the next bar at 1.81m (5-11.25) as she finished in a tied for 12th to earn second-team All-America honors as well.
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