The Indiana Open starts a streak of four home meets in 20 days for Indiana, kicking off the new year with a flash. Competition will begin at 11 a.m. ET on Sat., Jan. 7 in Gladstein Fieldhouse, and live results will be available at IUHoosiers.com. The meet produced a pair of NCAA automatic qualifiers and a Gladstein Fieldhouse record in 2011. The Hoosiers won 23 events at the 2011 meet and three Hoosiers led the nation in their respective events at the end of the weekend.
Butler blazed to wins in the 55 meters and 300 meters. His time of 6.27 seconds in the 55 is the sixth fastest in school history and is the fastest 55m time in the country on the very young season. In the 300, Butler finished in a school record 33.57, to win by more than half a second. Bailey took wins in the 55m and 300m, posting a time of 7.13 seconds in the 55. In the 300, Bailey clocked a time of 39.31 to win by just under two seconds.
Hubers took second in the 5,000 meters. Hubers' time of 13:46.07 is less than six seconds off of his career mark from the NCAA Championships a year ago. Andrew Poore was third in 13:47.05.
Kimoto won the high jump with a good early season clearance of 1.73m (5-8), and Mia Mackinnon was second at 1.70m (5-7). Ahbe won the pole vault with a clearance of 4.00m (13-1.5) from a short approach.
HOOSIERS SWEEP FIRST WEEK OF B1G AWARDS
Indiana Track and Field won 18 events at the Hoosier Open to start the season, and the Big Ten has taken notice, honoring four Hoosiers as the conference's Athletes of the Week. Aireonna Bailey and Kind Butler are the Big Ten Track Athletes of the Week and Emma Kimoto and Olumide Olamigoke are Big Ten Field Athletes of the Week. Olamigoke shared the honors with Heath Nickles of Ohio State.
Indiana director and head coach Ron Helmer said that the four honorees were among several Hoosiers to hit the ground running in the indoor season, but stressed there is still a lot of room for growth.
"It is very early in the season, and we have a long way to go to call this season a success," said Helmer. "But, the Hoosier Open was a good start to our season, and to get four student-athletes honored by the Big Ten gives us some good forward momentum as we head into the new year and into the heart of the indoor season."
ONE OF A KIND Kind Butler blazed to wins in the 55 meters and 300 meters at the Hoosier Open. His time of 6.27 seconds in the 55 is the sixth fastest in school history and is the fastest 55m time in the country on the very young season. Converted to 60 meters, Butler ranks sixth on the NCAA list.
In the 300, Butler finished in a school record 33.57, to win by more than half a second. Butler bettered the previous record of 33.87 by IU legend and Olympian Albert Robinson.
Butler has a led a resurgence of the Indiana sprints program over the past two years. He won IU's first Big Ten title in the 60 meters since 1992 and became IU's first All-American in the 200 since 2004 during the 2011 indoor campaign, and then outdoors he led the Hoosiers to the first All-America finish in the 4x100 since 1971 and came within .01 seconds of the IU record in the 100 meters.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Since his arrival in Bloomington in 2007, Ron Helmer has turned Indiana's distance program into a powerhouse. IU's men's distance runners have played prominent roles in four NCAA top-10 finishes in the past two seasons. The men's cross country team finished seventh at NCAAs in both 2010 and 2011, and the distance crew helped the Hoosiers to sixth at NCAAs during the 2010 and 2011 indoor seasons.
When it comes to success on the track, Indiana enters the indoor campaign with perhaps the most depth in the country in distance events. IU's men return four distance runners with Big Ten titles on their resumés, and two of those runners have won a pair of conference crowns. The 2012 Hoosier squad returns six All-American distance runners, who have combined to collect 21 All-America certificates. Indiana's depth is evident if you look at the team's career bests, as six Hoosiers have PR's in the mile better than 4:05 and 10 Hoosiers have gone under 4:10 in their collegiate careers.
ONCE THE ROOKIE, NOW THE VETERAN Kelsie Ahbe came to Indiana in 2009-10 as a two-time state champion pole vaulter from Ohio, but with a pair of NCAA Championship-tested jumpers (Vera Neuenswander and Stephanie Chin) in the program to train with and learn from. Two years later, she is the returning All-American, and four freshmen will look to her for the lead on the pole vault runway. Indiana has had great successes in the women's pole vault since Jake Wiseman took over the group in 2005.
Ahbe took second at Big Tens during the indoor and outdoor seasons and added a sixth place finish outdoors for her first All-America certificate. She and Vera Neuenswander went 1-2 at the outdoor Big Ten meet. This after she took 14th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and second at Big Tens as a freshman in 2010.
This season, four freshmen enter the program in the women's pole vault, and they are a heralded group. All four jumpers cleared 3.81m (12-6) or better in high school, a mark that was Ahbe's PR when she arrived in Bloomington. It should be an intriguing season on the pole vault runway for IU.
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK Monique Riddick had a breakout year in 2011, but unless you were a hardcore fan of the throws, you might not have noticed. Overshadowed by Faith Sherrill's standout senior season, Riddick posted similar numbers in the shot put in her junior season to what Sherrill did in her junior season, making Riddick an under the radar performer this year with the potential to surprise people in 2012.
Riddick, a transfer to Indiana in 2010 from Montclair State, won three NCAA Division III titles in the shot put before arriving in Bloomington. Riddick posted an indoor best of 16.66m (54-8) in 2011 and advanced to the NCAA Championships during the indoor and outdoor campaigns. In comparison, Sherrill finished her junior indoor season at 16.80m (55-1.5).
A standout at Bishop Ahr in New Jersey, Riddick wasn't heavily recruited out of high school, mostly because of her height. The senior has proved people wrong as a collegiate thrower, and with her work ethic and strong finish to throws, she has blossomed under Indiana's throws coach Jermaine Jones. After winning her third NCAA title at Montclair State, head coach Aubrey Lewis told Riddick that she should look to transfer if she wanted to reach her full potential as a thrower. In the recruiting process, Riddick chose Indiana because of Jones's successes with another short thrower, Tiffany Howard. Howard was an All-American and Big Ten Champion at Indiana.
BREAKOUT FOR BAILEY? Aireonna Bailey took wins in the 55m and 300m at the Hoosier Open, posting a time of 7.13 seconds in the 55 to move past IU legend and Olympian DeDee Nathan for ninth in IU history. Converted to 60 meters, Bailey's time is 7.65, which is .02 better than her career best. In the 300, Bailey clocked a time of 39.31 to win by just under two seconds.
After a breakout season in 2011, Bailey is poised for a breakout campaign in 2012. The junior posted a third place finish in the 200m at Big Tens in 2011 and scored in the 100m at the conference meet as well. The Zion, Ill., native was one race away from a trip to Des Moines during the outdoor campaign last year, advancing to the quarterfinals at the NCAA East Preliminary Round.
Bailey should benefit from the addition of two new training partners, freshmen Shawntanay Johnson and La Toya Williams. Both of the freshmen come to Indiana with impressive high school accolades. Johnson was a Missouri state runner up in the 100 in 2009, and Williams was all-state in the 100m and 200m at the always impressive California State meet.
FOLLOW IU WITH SOCIAL MEDIA!
Fans of IU track and field will have access to greatly expanded coverage of the Hoosiers in 2012. Media Relations contact Kyle Johnson will be covering the Hoosiers all season long on Twitter, Facebook and IUHoosiers.com. His Twitter posts will include live updates from meets all season long.
Weekly Youtube videos, previews, recaps, photo galleries, results and much, much more will be available all season long. You can get updates on your mobile device or computer via Twitter by following Johnson at twitter.com/KJatIU or via Facebook at facebook.com/IUTrackXC.