For the fourth straight outdoor season and ninth time in program history, the Illinois State women were crowned Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Outdoor Champions after totaling 180 points in the team score, topping Indiana State’s 143 points. The Illinois State men finished as the runner-up with 173.5 points. The team has finished second in each of the last four outdoor conference championship meets.

Four individual champions crowned on day three

Setting the tone early, was senior Mya Robinson, who was crowned the champion of the 100m hurdles with a wind-legal personal best time of 13.93 seconds. Coming into the conference weekend, Robinson was seeded fourth overall in the event. Robinson won the race in a photo finish, defeating Loyola’s Jayla Johnson by a hundredth of a second.

Rebounding from the 2022 MVC Indoor Championships, San’Toria Harris won gold in the women’s 400m dash with a blistering personal best time of 54.43 seconds. Harris’ time now ranks sixth in school history.

A two-time MVC indoor champion, junior Riley Wells won his first outdoor 800m title with a winning time of 1:53.05. Wells extended Illinois State’s middle-distance dynasty with the win, as the Redbirds have now won seven straight 800m championships across the indoor and outdoor seasons.

For the first time in 23 years, a Redbird won the men’s 400m hurdles title as senior Cole Maguire took the win with a personal best time of 51.09. Maguire continues to hold the third-fastest time in program history and ranks No. 24 in the NCAA West Region.


Competing in her first outdoor conference meet, freshman Arianna Walker earned All-Valley honors in three events: the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. Walker was the runner-up in the 200m dash with a time of 23.94 seconds, coming up just short of her personal best. In the 100m, Walker captured the bronze medal in a time of 11.71. The freshman also ran the anchor leg of the women’s 4x100m relay team that finished second. In total, Walker contributed 22 points to the women’s team score and was named the Women’s Freshman of the Year.

Freshman Elijah Williams posted a stellar performance in the men’s triple jump, as he leaped over 15 meters for the first time ever. Williams was the runner-up in the event with a mark of 15.05m (49-4.50). With the silver medal, Williams earned All-MVC honors for the first time in his Redbird career.

Illinois State had two relay teams finish in second place at the championship meet: the women’s 4x100m relay and men’s 4x400m relay. The 4x100m team of Sa’Mone WintersBri BuggsMadison Saunders and Arianna Walker clocked a time of 45.35 seconds, which ranks fifth in school history.

The men’s 4x400m squad of Junias Holmes Jr.Edward WatkinsCecil Brownridge III and Brandon Gage clocked the ninth-fastest time in school history at 3:09.83 to also finish in second.

On top of competing in the 4x400m, Gage and Brownridge also competed in the open 400m and finished atop the podium. In a photo finish, Gage finished second while Brownridge was third in times of 47.834 and 47.839, respectively.

Freshman Taylor Kesner had a big day in the women’s discus, finishing as the runner-up in just her first outdoor conference meet. Kesner launched the disc 48.63m (159-6), just short of her personal best.

In his final meet as a Redbird, senior Jake Gillum earned All-Valley honors in the men’s 1500m, clocking a time of 3:55.28. Gillum was honored with the Elite 17 Award for his hard work in the classroom and on the track.

Doubling in both the 800m and 1500m, Rachel Hickey finished on the podium in both events. Hickey was second in the 1500m in a time of 4:23.81, while she finished third in the 800m in a time of 2:07.08. She totaled 14 points across both events.

Cementing herself into the program record book, freshman Madison Saunders leaped to a new personal best in the women’s triple jump at 12.20m (40-0.50)m which ranks ninth in school history. Saunders finished third in the event.

Following up an All-Valley performance at the indoor conference meet, Joe Morrison collected a bronze medal in his first outdoor championship as a Redbird. Morrison totaled six points to the men’s team score, finishing in a time of 1:53.64.

Specialty awards

Other MVC point scorers

4th – Bri Buggs, 100m dash, 11.82

4th – Bri Buggs, 200m dash, 24.18

4th – Joe Boyer, discus, 51.81m (169-11)

4th – Brandon Ratliff, 110m hurdles, 14.07

4th – Lucie Grandjean, 1500m, 4:29.49

5th – Jake Gillum, 5000m, 14:18.86

5th – Jaclyn Greci, 400m dash, 56.21

5th – Macy Byer, discus, 46.31m (151-11)

6th – Devin Turner, 100m dash, 10.58

6th – Maddi Exline, 1500m, 4:29.87

6th – Sabrina Schlenker, 400m hurdles, 1:04.25

7th – Junias Holmes Jr., 100m dash, 10.68

7th – Logan Calvindiscus, 50.98m (167-3)

8th – Sa’Mone Winters, 100m dash, 12.03

8th –Batya Butler, discus, 45.55m (149-5)

8th – Devin Turner, 200m dash, 21.72

8th – Maddi Exline, 800m, 2:16.18

8th – Caroline Meyers, 5000m, 17:03.16


Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Jeff Bovee

On the women’s team performance:

“Super proud of our women this weekend. They dug deep and were hungry to prove themselves. Our 4th straight outdoor win is extra rewarding after a tough loss at the indoor championship. It was a collective effort from a balanced attack on the track and in the field. We had significant contributions from our freshman, which may have been the difference from the outcome at the indoor meet. The spark for our team was a 1-2 finish in the 10k on day one and the fire continued from there.”

On the men’s team performance:

“The men had two very good meets indoors and outdoors that likely would win championships in other years. Indiana State is a very good team and we gave them our best effort. The UNI men had a strong meet and they made this a three-way fight.   am really proud of our men and although we finished 2nd for the 4th straight year we continue to elevate our performance and it won’t be long before we bring the trophy back to Normal!”

Up next

Student-athletes who qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary Championships—those who rank in the top-48 in the region in their respective events—will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for competition from May 25–28.

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