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ISU track team impresses coach

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Special to The Pantagraph

A number of strong performances by the Illinois State track and field team was reason enough to impress head coach Elvis Forde after the first indoor competition of the season, the Early Bird Invitational, was held at Horton Field House Saturday.

"I thought the kids competed well for it being the first time this year," said Forde. "Today wasn't necessarily important in terms of times, but I was pleased with the good effort they gave. Looking at the times it is nice to see that some of them were better than they were this time last year."

On the women's side Betsy McDonald and Kathleen Thompson carried their success from the cross country course to the track as they took first and third places in the mile as did Kimberli Smudde who won the 800 (2:16.47).

Andrea Mosher clocked in at 56.26 seconds in the 400-meter dash to take second in the event. Teammate Lian Lucas, who has moved up to the 400 meters this season, placed third in 58.05.

Other notable performances on the women's team included Devon Williams and Anna Lovell in the 60 dash. The two took second and third, respectively, while also running personal bests in the event.

On the men's side Forde was pleasantly surprised by the results of the sprints. Newcomer Jeremy Johnson took the 60 dash in 6.94. Kelly Anderson also qualified for the finals, placing fourth in 7.01. Johnson also came back in the 200, grabbing another first-place finish in 21.90.

The 3,000 run was stacked with ISU runners as Jeremy Doherty (first), Mike Richardson (second) and Brian Glaza (fourth) took three of the top five spots. Other outstanding performances in the distance events include Dan Tripp's first-place finish in the mile and Bronco Meeks in the 800.

Mark Jackson added to the list of first-place finishes for the Redbirds as he won the weight throw with a toss of 63 feet, 9 inches and the shot put in 53-4 1/2.

Wrapping up the meet with the 4x400 relay, Illinois State's women's team (Cherise Devers, Lucas, Brianna Officer and Mosher) took first-place honors on a come-from-behind win in 3:47.43. The men's relay team consisting of Georff Houtman, Joe Marcin, Meeks and DeAndre Tillman finished third.

"After today's competition we really have something to be excited about," said Forde. "The kids will have to go home for break and continue working hard and use this meet as a springboard to get the rest of the season underway in January."

The Redbirds will be back in action on Jan. 14 as they host a dual meet in Horton Field House against Indiana State.

Forsyth named soccer MVP

Illinois State soccer player Heather Forsyth was named most valuable player and offensive player of the year during the Redbirds' team banquet on Saturday.

Earlier, Forsyth had been selected MVP in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Sophomore Amanda Lauber was named defensive player of the year after helping the Redbirds allow just 12.2 shots per game and 24 goals in 19 matches. Freshman Rachel Lee was chosen most improved player and Joyce Kleinheinz received the Cheryl Sarnwick Award.

"Heather, Joyce and Taylor (Casement) have made so many positive contributions to this program in their four years, making sacrifices for the improvement of this program. The three of them will surely be missed."

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