March 11, 2004
USI’s Cooksey, Perry ready for nationals
University of Southern Indiana women’s track and field sophomore runner Heather Cooksey (Brownsburg, Indiana) and freshman jumper/sprinter Candace Perry (Anderson, Indiana) are making their final preparations for the NCAA II Indoor Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, March 12 through Saturday, March 13.
Cooksey is 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 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.”
The prelims for the women’s mile will take place Friday at 5:15 p.m. (EST), with the top 10 advancing to Saturday’s 3:10 p.m. (EST) finals.
Perry shattered the GLVC record in the long jump with her mark of 19 feet, 1 ¼ inches at the GLVC Championships. She is seeded 11th in 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.”
The finals for the long jump are slated for 5:30 p.m. (EST) on Friday. The top eight in each event will earn All-America honors.
USI Sports Information