Girls track and field: Paris signs with Eastern Illinois

FISHER — The blue track surrounding O’Brien Stadium in Charleston has treated Kristen Paris well the last four years.

On Friday, Paris made plans that the Eastern Illinois University track — site of the state meet — will hopefully treat her well the next four years.

The recent Fisher graduate signed a letter of intent to join the Eastern Illinois women’s track and field team after a stellar prep career with the Bunnies.

“It’s close to home, but it’s also a little ways away,” Paris said. “I really like the campus, and I really enjoyed talking to the coaches there.”

Paris verbally committed to the Panthers on May 21, two days after she placed third in the Class 1A state meet in the 800-meter run and fourth in the 1,600-meter run. Interest in Paris intensified after the state meet. Nebraska and Bradley both contacted her, but she decided to stick with EIU.

“I’m very relieved because now I’ve (signed),” said Paris, Fisher’s school record holder in the 800 and 1,600, “and I don’t have to keep searching.”

Paris ran multiple events for Fisher this spring, including the 400, 800 and 1,600, while competing in the 4x400-meter relay and the high jump. Paris said she’ll most likely compete in the 800, with the 1,600 a possibility as well in college.

Paris, a four-time state qualifier, said she’ll train with the Panthers cross country team once she arrives at EIU before practices start in September for the indoor track and field season.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Fisher head coach Sara Derges said. “This is only my second year coaching, so to have someone going to a Division I school sets the bar pretty high.”

Paris will major in exercise science at EIU, which has won the last four Ohio Valley Conference outdoor and indoor titles.

Once the outdoor season arrives next spring, she’ll have a chance to see if she can duplicate some of the success she had at O’Brien Stadium while running for Fisher.

“I like (that track) because I do pretty good there,” Paris said with a laugh. “The thought of the fact that I’m going to be running there was comforting.”
mdaniels@rantoulpress.com

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