For the first and only time this season, the Illinois State track and field team competed on home ground, taking on Loyola-Chicago and Illinois-Chicago.
The dual men and women’s invite saw the Redbirds dominate, beating out the Ramblers and the Flames. The ’Birds took their lone home meet, having runners finishing in first place in 21 out of 36 events.
The Redbird women placed first with 358 points compared to the Ramblers’ 122 points and Flames’ 105 points, while the ISU men also finished first with 300 points to the Ramblers’ 134 and Flames’ 77 points.
The Cranston sisters dominated the women’s pole vault competition. Junior Ariana Cranston took first place with a jump of 3.87 meters. Freshman Ali Cranston finished second with a 3.72 meter jump. That jump gave the freshman a new personal record.
“I am really happy I broke my PR, I have consistently been clearing 11 feet. I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. It was the best moment,” Cranston said.
Freshman Tori Ortiz was a key part of the ’Birds 21 first -place finishes. Ortiz collected first in three events and won the 100-meter with a time of 11.97. She followed that with a 24.70 200 meter time. Both are personal best times for Ortiz.
“It was really good coming on home turf knowing that we all had to dominate,” Ortiz said. “I just went out with a clear head and ran my best. It was a good day, I am very happy with my times.”
Ortiz added another first place finish as a part of the Redbirds 4 x 400-meter relay. The Redbirds capped off the Redbird invite with a sweep of the two 4 x 400 races.
ISU junior Jordyn Bruce continued the impressive day for the ’Birds with a slew of solid showings, and collecting three personal records. Bruce won the 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best 1:01 finish. Bruce’s 1.57 meter jump in the high jump was a personal best and good for second place. A 14.68 finish in the 100-meter hurdles added another personal best and another second-place finish for Bruce.
A week ago, ISU junior Devon Kelly set a personal best 48.93-second finish in the 400 meter at the Ole Miss Classic. Only a week later, Kelly broke his record again winning Saturday’s 400 meter with a time of 48.87 seconds.
“It means a lot to set new personal records because I have dealt with injuries in earlier years. This year is the first year I have been healthy,” Kelly said. “I have been feeling a lot stronger and I have been really happy with the results.”
Running on familiar grounds seemed to have helped Kelly, and the Redbirds as well.
“Being at home was nice. I felt a lot less pressure being home. I did not really let anything get into my head. It was good for me to be able to take a step back but still stay competitive.”
The Redbirds also dominated the 800-meter race, with runners taking four of the five top spots. Junior Jack Anstey led the pack with a time of 1:50. Only three seconds separated Anstey from third place Nick Swartzendruber.
“We had young blood come out today and demonstrate that they want to make a positive impact on this team as the season unfolds,” ISU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Jeff Bovee said. “I was extremely pleased to see that, as we need to ensure that we stay hungry after coming off a successful indoor season. We will continue to focus on getting better each and every day, and we definitely made some great progress this week.”
ISU is back in action at the Tennessee Relays in Knoxville, Tennessee this Thursday through Saturday.