CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Lincoln men's and women's track and field teams are off to another strong start.
The Blue Tiger women had eight top-five finishers, while the men had eight finishers in the top-10 against NCAA Division I competition at Saturday's Illini Classic.
Despite being the only Division II school at the meet, which was hosted by the University of Illinois, the Lincoln women earned three first-place finishes and the men earned one. It was just the third competition this season for the men and the fourth for the women.
The Blue Tiger women took first in the 400-meter relay, while posting the fastest time in the country among Division II programs at 3:49.64.
Shakeisha Miller brought home a first-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 5.74 meters, a provisional qualifying distance for the NCAA Division II Championships that also ranks as the third-best mark in Division II.
Daniele Newman had the other top finish for Lincoln after winning the triple jump at 11.62 meters.
With the Blue Tigers being the only non-Division I school in attendance, Lincoln athletes were not allowed to compete in the scored finals of the 60 meters or 60-meter hurdles. That didn't stop the Blue Tigers from showing their best in the preliminaries as Lincoln beat out all of its higher-level opponents in each race.
In the 60-meter prelims, Yanique Ellington turned in the best time of any athlete, winning in 7.65 seconds. Kimberly Bailey also performed well, taking fourth in the prelims at 7.74.
In the 60-meter hurdles, Ladonna Richards won the preliminaries, beating all other athletes with a time of 8.64. Juneille Barker finished second, clocking in at 8.66, while Miller took eighth in the prelims with a time of 8.90.
Tamara Keane took third in the 400 (57.83) and picked up a fourth-place finish in the 200 (25.46). Jonelle Campbell finished third in the triple jump (11.25m), and Nickeisha Beaumont place fourth in the long jump (5.56m) to round out the top performers on the women's side.
The men's team also had several top finishers.
Lincoln freshman Stallone Watson paced the Blue Tigers by holding off 12 Division I competitors to win the long jump with a distance of 6.94 meters.
Lincoln also had a strong showing in the 400-meter relay, taking second in the event with a time of 3:19. That mark is a provisional qualifier and ranks as the fifth-best time in Division II this season.
Lincoln's best individual finishes in track events came in the 400, where the Blue Tigers placed two athletes in the top five. Roger Blake led the way, clocking in at 50.08 to finish fourth, while Winston Edwards took fifth at 50.20.
Ramone Hill put together two solid finishes, running an unscored 60 in 6.68. That time currently stands as the eighth-best in Division II and is also a provisional qualifier. Hill also took eighth in the 200 at 22.68.
Wesley Best finished seventh in the 200 at 22.67.
The Lincoln men and women will return to action on Friday at the Jayhawk Classic hosted by Kansas University.