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NIU roundup: Track finishes fourth at MAC behind five champs

The Northern Illinois University women's track and field team completed the 2015 Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track with several program bests, posting its top finish, point total and number of champions in school history at the conference championships with a sensational Saturday performance.

The Huskies finished the 2015 MAC outdoor meet in fourth place with 107 points after Saturday's rainy conclusion of the three-day meet, which was hosted by Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

NIU produced five event-winning performances at the meet, including Saturday's victories by A'Iesha Irvin-Muhammad in the 200-meter dash in 23.94 seconds, Latesha Bigby in the 100-meter hurdles in an NIU school-record time of 13.52 seconds, and the 400 relay in 45.72 seconds and in the 1,600 relay in a school-record time of 3:39.94. Kelsey Hildreth also won the 10,000-meter run on Thursday evening in a time of 34:37.50.

NIU's previous best result at the MAC outdoor meet was an eighth-place finish with 55.33 points in 2012. 

NIU director of track & field and cross country Connie Teaberry was thrilled with her team's performances on Saturday, which capped an already incredible season for her program.

"It summed our entire year of hard work, sweat and tears for our team to come out here today, put it all on the track and come out with those victories. We're so happy for our team," Teaberry said. "Our program is headed up. Our seniors have done so much for this program -- one and off the track. But we're ready for our next challenge."

The Huskies will now wait until results from conference championships around the nation to come in to find out how many members of the NIU women's track & field team will qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships in two weeks in Austin, Texas.


Season ends with loss: Home runs by Carl Russell and Nate Ruzich weren't enough as the Northern Illinois baseball team lost 9-3 at Ball State on Saturday.

Both of the home runs for NIU came in the sixth against the Cardinals (30-23, 14-13), marking the first time March 1 at Tennessee Tech that the Huskies hit two home runs in the same inning.

Head coach Mike Kunigonis closes his first season at the helm of the program with a 22-33 record and a 10-17 record in the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies 22 wins in 2015 were the fifth-most under a first year head coach in program history.

"Thank you to our fans, alumni and family for all the support this year. I wish we could have played a little longer but Huskieball will bounce back and look to win a MAC title next year," Kunigonis said. "Thank you to our five seniors for all their efforts this year. They are a group of young men with tremendous character. I couldn't have asked for a better group of leaders to join me in my first head coaching position. I look forward to a great summer of recruiting and we will be back at it at The Ralph in late August."

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