PEORIA, Ill. -- The Bradley men’s and women’s track and field teams will be close to home for their final tune-up before the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in mid-May, Saturday when the Braves travel down I-74 for the Redbird Invitational in Normal, Ill.
After a rare weekend off, Bradley will have its final outing before the Valley Outdoor Championships, which will be held May 16-18 in Carbondale, Ill.
Saturday’s action is slated to start at noon with sophomore Elizabeth Dutcher (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) competing in the high jump and long jump. Bradley is scheduled to start in the running events at 1:15 p.m. with the women’s 1,500 meters.
"We are looking forward to the Redbird Invite this weekend,” said Bradley head coach Marc Burns. “Our crew has enjoyed a rare weekend off and is ready for the final tune-up before the Valley Championships. This meet is designed to finalize some positioning and to continue to build momentum going into the championships.”
Freshman Casey Kramer (Yorkville, Ill./Yorkville) owns the top 1,500 meter time among the nine Bradley entries in the field, posting a 4:35.95 at the Illinois Twilight. Kramer’s season-best time is 12th all-time and was 11 one-hundredths of a second from the top 10 in school history.
On the men’s side, freshman Daniel Gagne (Wauwatosa, Wis./East) is expected to help pace seven Braves in the men’s 1,500 meters. His time of 3:56.10 from the Vanderbilt Black & Gold ranks ninth in program history.
Dutcher, who owns the second-highest score in the heptathlon in Bradley history, is also scheduled to run in the 100 meter hurdles (2 p.m.) in addition to competing in both triple jump (3 p.m.) and javelin (3 p.m.) Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Emily Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) had the top 800 meter time in the MVC most of the season and won the event at the MVC Indoor Track & Field Championship back in March. Her career-best time of 2:09.71 is second in the league this spring and less than a half-second off the school record of 2:09.37 set by Mary Goldkamp in 2011. Delvo is expected to lead a pack of nine Braves in the women’s 800 meters at 3:10 p.m.
Junior Aaron Peck (Moline, Ill./Moline) clocked the top 800 meter time for Bradley on the men’s side this year and will look to challenge his career-best effort of 1:54.46 Saturday. Peck’s time ranks seventh in school history.
Sophomore Caitlin Busch (Waterloo, Ill./Freeburg) will be running the 3,000 meter steeplechase for the first time in her career Saturday at 5 p.m. Junior Eric Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin), who broke the men’s school record in the 1,500 meters last month, will also run in his first steeplechase and is one of three Braves slated to run.
“We are running some of the longer distance crew in the 1,500 meters and will see what Eric Delvo and Caitlin Busch can do in the steeple,” added Burns. “Emily Delvo will be gunning for Goldkamp's 800 meter school record in her first fresh 800 meters of the outdoor season. This is going to be a fun meet and we hope some folks from the Hilltop can make it over to watch the Braves in action."
The women’s 5,000 meters will feature senior Whitney Schumacher (Appleton, Wis./Kimberly), who will look to finish toward the front of five Braves in the event. Schumacher posted the seventh-best time in school history (17:24.14) last month.
Sophomore Marshall Moyer (Burlington, Iowa/Burlington) will help highlight the men’s 5,000 meters as he tries to break 15 minutes after clocking a career-best 15:10.81 earlier this year.
The day is scheduled to conclude at 6:10 p.m. with the 4x400 meter relays.