Armstrong sprints her way to 3K championship

March 1, 2008

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — If Tamilee Kerr was the spark for the University of Iowa women’s track and field team Saturday during the first day of the two-day Big Ten Championship, then Meghan Armstrong was the flame.

Kerr posted career-best performances in the 60-meter hurdles, high jump and 800 run and scored a career-best 3,974 points while placing fourth in the pentathlon at Griak Fieldhouse.

“As Coach Anderson was saying last night, we wanted somebody to pick up the pace and start off good so that everybody else would follow,” Kerr said. “I came out here and did my best. I set the pace for everybody else.”

“Tamilee Kerr was a highlight,” UI head coach Layne Anderson said. “She got the meet going for us with some nice PRs and finishing fourth.”

Armstrong brought the crowd to its feet during the marquee event of the first day, the 3,000-meter run. Armstrong and teammate Diane Nukuri took turns leading the 15-lap race. Nukuri faded on the last few laps and finished eighth. Armstrong was in fourth on the gun lap and sprinted past Michigan’s Nicole Edwards at the tape to win by .09 seconds in 9:18.30. Nukuri ran 9:28.39.

“I wanted to stay with the leaders and when it came down to the last two or three laps I wanted to just really start moving,” Armstrong said. “I was thinking, `this hurts,’ but it’s 200 (left) and I can do it.”

“Meghan finishing off the 3K was another highlight,” Anderson said. “It was nice to see her win her first Big Ten title.”

Four other Hawkeyes qualified for Sunday finals. Rhonda-Kaye Trusty was fourth in the 60 dash (7.64), Renee White was seventh (8.45) and Karessa Farley was eighth (8.52) in the 60 hurdles and Kineke Alexander was first in the 200 (24.34) and fourth in the 400 (55.87).

“I was quite nervous,” Trusty said. “Tomorrow will be anybody’s race. It doesn’t matter if you have the fastest time or the slowest time. I was proud of my drive phase today, but I need to work on the latter part of the race.”

Iowa is in fifth place with 16 points after Saturday’s competition. Minnesota is first with 58, followed by Michigan (37), Penn State (33) and Wisconsin (32).

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