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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

March 03, 2004

USI’s Cooksey, Perry heading to nationals

Final NCAA II Entry Lists

University of Southern Indiana women’s track and field sophomore runner Heather Cooksey (Brownsburg, Indiana) and freshman jumper/sprinter Candace Perry (Anderson, Indiana) made the final cut to compete at the NCAA II Indoor Championships Friday, March 12 through Saturday, March 13.

Cooksey will be seeded ninth in the mile with her season-best and school-record time of 4:56.21, which she recorded at the Hoosier Hills Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana. Cooksey, who won GLVC championships in the mile and the 800 meters last Saturday and is making her second straight trip to the Indoor National Championships, has won eight consecutive races during the indoor season.

“The mile is not Heather’s best event, but she is capable of finishing in the top three,” Head Coach Mike Hillyard said. “This experience will prepare her for her better events, the 3000 and 5,000 meters, when the outdoor season rolls around.

“Heather is a confident runner right now, having not lost a race yet,” Hillyard continued. “Her workouts indicate that she is in better shape than she was going into outdoor nationals last spring, where she nearly won two NCAA titles.”

Perry shattered the GLVC record in the long jump with her mark of 19 feet, one and one-quarter inches at the GLVC Championships last Saturday. She is seeded 11th in the final entry list for the long jump and will be making her first appearance at nationals.

“Candace may have pulled off the biggest upset of the conference meet,” Hillyard explained. “It was not, however, an upset in our eyes because we knew what was possible for her. There have been several All-American long jumpers to come through our conference, so it’s an honor for her to have the (conference) record.

“Although this is Candace’s first appearance on the national stage, I expect her to do very well,” Hillyard continued. “The runway, the board, and the pit are the same as they are anywhere else.”

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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