|‘Birds hold No. 14 spot on national-best list|
|Written by Ashley Schrader, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 03 May 2012 16:15|
As the ISU women’s track and field team has drawn attention this season with top-performances from Redbirds such as Brittany Smith, Aisha Praught, Leigh Petranoff, and Sade Sealy, so has a national ranking to follow.
For the third week in a row, the ’Birds have broken into the NCAA Division I top-25. ISU went from a No. 25 ranking April 17, to a No. 12 spot April 24, and a No. 14 spot this week.
The Redbirds have also earned a No. 15 spot in USTFCCA NCAA Division I Regional ranking this week.
“It’s a testament to how hard our women’s team has been working this outdoor season,” ISU head coach Elvis Forde said. “We have our standout athletes; however, it’s how well the team gels together that allows us all to perform at a high level.”
The national team rankings are compiled by a formula based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons, of which nationally-ranked individuals help boost team spots.
With Smith, Praught, Petranoff, and Sealy each ranking in the top-50 in their respective events, the women’s team has been able to rank ahead of Missouri Valley Conference rival Southern Illinois, as the Salukis sit at No. 23.
Smith sits at the No. 3 spot in the nation in the shot put (58’09.5”), sixth in the hammer throw (214’02”), and 10th in the discus (180’11”). She also qualifies to compete for a spot on the United States Olympic team at the end of June in the shot put.
Praught holds the No. 2 spot in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after her performance of 9:51.3 at the Mt. Sac Relays. The senior’s time also earns her the chance to compete for an American Olympic spot.
Petranoff sits at the No. 3 spot in the javelin with a career-best mark of 173’03,” while Sealy has the No. 39 spot in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.61 seconds.
“The sky is the limit with this group and if we continue to work hard and get more people on the national list, it will go a long way,” Forde said.
“This gives us a confidence boost that we are good enough to compete against the top school in the nation and hopefully we can carry this swagger with us into the Valley Championships and redeem ourselves after a disappointing third-place finish during indoors,” Forde added.