February has arrived and the Indiana track and field program is prepared to hit the road for the first time this season. The Hoosiers will travel north to South Bend, where the Meyo Invitational will have the attention of the collegiate track and field world. The meet annually produces fast times and attracts some of the nation's best, who are looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Flotrack will be on site, providing race-by-race video coverage of the meet as well as interviews with runners as they finish.
LAST TIME OUT
Indiana track and field wrapped up competition at the Indiana Relays on Sat., Jan. 28. The Hoosiers finished up strong posting national level marks in multiple events.
Andy Bayer clocked a time of 3:58.23 to win the invitational mile. He has now broken the four-minute barrier three times at Indiana. Indiana's De'Sean Turner (4:00.13) and Ben Hubers (4:00.78) took fourth and fifth in the race, narrowly missing out on sub-four miles of their own.
Ryan Hindes made history of his own in the 600m, staking his claim among the Big Ten's best in the event with a time of 1:18.75. His time is the second-fastest in IU history, just .05 off the record held by Rodney Hollis.
In the men's 5,000m invitational, Andrew Poore took the win, posting a time of 13:48.27, which is a second slower than his time from earlier this season.
Monique Riddick launched a season best of 16.21m (53-2.25) in the shot put, taking fourth in the invitational section. Riddick also career best in the weight throw, at 18.85m (61-10.25). Riddick moves into fifth in IU history.
Kelsie Ahbe took third in the women's invitational pole vault, clearing 4.10m (13-5.25) to move into second in the Big Ten and 11th in Division I this season.
Chelsea Blanchard posted the best time in the Big Ten this season in the women's 3,000m invitational, taking third to two unattached runners with a time of 16:41.96.
Breanne Ehrman and Kelsey Duerksen continued their streak of impressive times this season, going 1-2 respectively in the mile. Ehrman finished in 4:42.89 and Duerksen in 4:42.90 to move into sixth and seventh in IU history.
Sam Retzloff won the men's open pole vault with a clearance of 5.05m (16-6.75).
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. Sophie Gutermuth has already shown she is ready to compete with the best in the Big Ten, as she cleared 3.85m (12-7.5) to win against Purdue. With Ahbe's season best at 4.10m (13-5.25), Indiana has two vaulters currently ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten.
ONE OF A KIND Kind Butler has opened the 2012 campaign with a flurry of wins. His time of 6.27 seconds to win the 55 at the Hoosier Open is the sixth fastest in school history and is the fastest 55m time in the country on the season. Converted to 60 meters (6.73), Butler ranks 25th on the NCAA list and is second in the Big Ten. In the 200, Butler's time of 21.35 against Purdue ranks 28th nationally and is second in the Big Ten
In the 300, Butler finished in a school record 33.57 at the Hoosier Open. 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 11 Hoosiers have gone under 4:10 in their collegiate careers.
This season, Indiana has had seven male distance runners get under 4:10 in the mile, and Andy Bayer and Andrew Poore rank among the nation's top 11 in the event.
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.
Riddick had her first big throw of the year at the Indiana Relays, launching a throw of 16.21m (53-2.25) ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 17th nationally. She also PRed in the weight throw with a heave of 18.85m (61-10.25), which ranks fifth in IU history.
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/IUTrackXC or via Facebook at facebook.com/IUTrackXC.