Times Sports Editor
The Indiana State Sycamores' track and field teams competed Saturday at the Rose-Hulman Invitational in ISU's lone home meet of the indoor season.
Northview High School graduate, Kylee Thacker, a Sycamore sophomore, is enjoying her second year as part of the ISU track and field team and competed in the 3,000 meters against runners from Division I Illinois State as well as competitors from Illinois Wesleyan, the host Engineers and Washington University from Missouri.
Thacker was running in her first track meet of the 2010-11 season and placed fifth out of 15 runners in a time of 10:45.12. Illinois State's Aisha Praught won the race in 10:08 followed by the Sycamores' Allison Malone (10:10.39).
Coach Angie Martin spoke with Indiana State track and field Sports Information Director Kevin Jenison, regarding her happiness with how the team's younger athletes performed at Rose-Hulman.
"Our freshmen and sophomores are getting better each week," Angie Martin, Indiana State women's track and field coach said. "Their determination is also making our team better because of the pressure they are putting on our veterans to keep up with them. The entire team has a great attitude and they are exciting to watch."
Thacker is especially enjoying being healthy again after injury limited much of her senior year with the Knights. She started her freshman year at ISU with the cross country team, but was still limited because of her leg injury, which complicated collegiate training.
"The biggest challenge was, since I came back injured, so I didn't even get to start cross country. I only had one month of training while everyone else had three or four," Thacker said. "So coming back was pretty hard, but the team is awesome and all of the coaching staff is great. I really like it, but it's much harder. I was used to being up front in high school and in college you are trying to fight to stay in the middle, but it's a good experience.
Thacker's freshman year with the cross country team showed promise as she 61st at the Missouri Conference Meet with a time of 21:09 in the five-kilometer distance and then ran a 24:22.72 over six-kilometers to place 168th in the Great Lakes Region Meet. During her track and field season as a freshman, Thacker had an indoor personal best of 5:23 in the mile, 10:30 in the 3,000 and 18:16 at 5,000 meters.
In the outdoor season, Thacker's PR was 5:02 in the 1,500 meters, 10:51 in the 3,000 and 18:45 at five-kilometers.
This year in her sophomore cross country, Thacker improved to 38th at the MVC Meet in 19:01 and was 134th in the Great Lakes Regional with a time of 23:11.
This season, Thacker is looking to continue to build upon her fall success while on the track and to be a big part of what the 32nd ranked Sycamore Women's team hopes to accomplish.
Thacker credited the work she and her teammates have put in during practice for her improvements.
"Having people push you in practice makes a big, big difference. They are not only my teammates, but also my best friends," Thacker said. "That's really nice.
"My goals are, I want to do better in the conference meet, I would like to break all of my PR's and to be a little more competitive than I am," Thacker added. "(As a senior) I'd love to be in the top-three. I was fourth in cross country this year, so hopefully next year."
The ISU sophomore some local company on the Sycamores too as former Northview teammate, Shelby Sands, is a freshman this year and competed at the Eastern Illinois Dual Meet on Dec. 10 and Conor Strain, a five-time all-conference performer with the Knights, is also a freshman at ISU.
Thacker, who holds the Northview High School record at the four and five-kilometer distance, has enjoyed running for ISU, but has enjoyed the relationships she has built even more.
"I think the friendships I've made and it's such a great experience," Thacker said. "You get to all sorts of different places and I've gotten to see so many college campuses. I love running and each year I love it a little more."
Indiana State is back in action at the Purdue Dual/Edmonds Cup on Saturday at 11 a.m.