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MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois track and field program splits up this weekend as most of the team participates in the Ashford Spring Classic Friday (April 6) while Chelsea Lynes and Carianna Cottone compete at the Stanford Invitational (April 6-7).

The Stanford Invitational, held at Cobb Track and Angell Field, is one of the largest and most competitive meets in the nation. The meet features some of the top collegiate talent from around the nation and plenty of personal bests are expected.

Lynes gets the Fighting Leathernecks started Friday night (8:25 p.m. CST) in the women's 1,500-meter run while Cottone competes in the women's 10,000-meter run later in the evening (12:10 a.m. CST). Lynes concludes Western's entries Saturday afternoon (3:34 p.m. CST) in the women's 800-meter run.

Held at Ashford South Campus, the Ashford Spring Classic gets underway at 3 p.m. Friday with the field events.

LAST TIME OUT: Western Illinois recorded 28 event wins Saturday (March 31) at the Knox Open.

MARSHALL'S PERSONAL BEST: Sophomore Nathaniel Marshall won the men's hammer throw with the fourth best performance in program history. His throw of 187-08 currently ranks third in The Summit League and 67th nationally. Marshall also placed second in the shot put (48-06.25). His season-best performance at the Tulsa Duels (49-03.75) ranks seventh in the conference.

LARUE'S WIN: Senior Dana LaRue won the women's shot put with a throw of 46-04.75. She also won the competition at the Tulsa Duels with a throw of 47-04.50, which ranks second in The Summit League rankings and 90th nationally. LaRue's personal best effort of 48-10.75 at the 2011 Wisconsin Twilight Invitational is fourth in program history.

HAMES' VICTORIES: Senior Paul Hames won the men's shot put with a throw of 50-09.25. He also won the discus throw with The Summit League's fourth best toss (160-08). Hames' personal bests in the shot put (51-00.00) and hammer throw (178-04) at the Tulsa Duels also rank fourth in the conference.

LILES ENTERS RECORD BOOK: Senior Jordan Liles won the men's javelin throw with a toss of 180-03 and also set a personal best while placing second in the 400-meter dash (50.36). At the Tulsa Duels, Liles recorded the sixth farthest javelin throw (189-04) in program history. His personal best ranks third in The Summit League.

JONES WINS: Senior Lizzy Jones won the women's hammer throw with a personal best effort of 165-02, which ranks seventh in program history and fifth in The Summit League. Jones also won the discus throw competition with a toss of 144-09, which ranks fifth in the conference. 

FUNCHES' PERSONAL BEST: Freshman Matthew Funches placed second in the men's triple jump with a leap of 45-09.25. Funches' personal best effort ranks fourth in The Summit League.

BYERS' WIN: Senior Amy Byers won the women's 400-meter hurdles with The Summit League's second fastest time (1:03.07). Byers' personal best time of 1:01.03 set in 2009 is the program record. Byers also won the 100-meter hurdles at the Knox Open with a time of 15.57.

CASTEL'S PERSONAL BEST: Sophomore Michael Castel won the men's 1,500-meter run with a personal best time of 3:57.59, which ranks fifth fastest in the conference. His previous personal best (4:01.49) came at the 2011 Wisconsin Twilight Invitational.

WATSON'S PERSONAL BEST: Junior Talisa Watson won the women's high jump by clearing a height of 5-03.00. Her personal best ranks fourth in The Summit League. Watson's previous personal best (5-01.00) was at the 2010 Summit League Championships.

LYNES' WEEK OFF: Junior Chelsea Lynes was given the weekend off by head coach David Beauchem in preparation for her races at the Stanford Invitational. Lynes recorded The Summit League's fourth fastest women's 1,500-meter run time (4:40.63) at the Tulsa Duels. Her personal best of 4:34.42 at the 2011 Payton Jordan Invitational is seventh fastest in program history.

TAYLOR'S WEEK OFF: Junior Jamario Taylor was also given the weekend off in preparation for the Ashford Spring Classic. Taylor won the men's high jump competition at the Tulsa Duels by clearing a personal best height of 6-09.75. His effort ranks eighth in program history, second in The Summit League and 63rd nationally.

LEE CALHOUN MEMORIAL PROJECT BEGINS: In early October, the Western Illinois Athletics Department and Track & Field program announced the Lee Calhoun Memorial Plaza Project, starting with an engraved plaque on the Lee Calhoun Statue out at the Hanson Field track. Made by Lacky Monument in Macomb, the plaque was installed in late September. The plaque is the first addition to the plaza that honors Lee Quency Calhoun, who was the track and field coach at Western Illinois from 1980 until his untimely passing in 1989.

Future enhancements to the plaza will feature the permanent recognition of all former head track and field coaches. The project coincides with the Hanson Field renovation, which included/includes the removal of the current grass surface and the track and field jump pits, installation of the Matrix Turf brand artificial surface and renovation of the field events area. The installation of a javelin runway, four new pits for the long jump and triple jump, and redesigning the discus/shot put area will take place on the north end of the facility.

An internationally known track and field figure, Calhoun was a two-time Olympic gold medal winner in the high hurdles, and the first man to win successive titles in the event. The 23rd running of the Lee Calhoun Memorial Invitational is set for the weekend of April 13-14, 2012.


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