Indiana track and field splits up to compete at two meets this weekend, getting in one last weekend before a week off leading into the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The Hoosier Hills Invitational is the final home meet of the indoor season and will see Indiana's distance and middle distance runners, while the SPIRE NCAA DI Invitational provides Indiana's sprinters and field event athletes with great competition at a great new facility.
The Hoosier Hills starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and will put exciting races on the track, including an Invitational Distance Medley Relay at 5:50 p.m. on Friday night. Saturday's competition will feature 60m dash and hurdle finals and eight invitational races, with competition beginning at 10:35 a.m. and concluding at around 12:30 p.m.
The SPIRE Institute boasts an oversized 300 meter track and seating for 5,000 spectators. Other teams at the SPIRE Invitational will include Auburn, Florida State, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan State, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Texas, and Virginia Tech among others.
LAST TIME OUT
Indiana track and field closed out competition at the Meyo Invitational with an NCAA Auto time and a school record. All combined, the Hoosiers posted 20 career bests at the meet.
Kelsie Ahbe cleared 4.21m (13-9.75) to win the pole vault. The clearance is a school record, surpassing the most accomplished vaulter in school history, Vera Neuenswander, by a half inch.
Andy Bayer took second in the 3,000m. At 7:50.23, Bayer automatically qualified himself into the NCAA meet. The time is among the top 10 in DI this year.
De'Sean Turner moved past IU legend Jim Spivey on IU's all-time list in the 800 meters with his fourth-place finish. He clocked a time of 1:49.73, which is good for third in IU history. Ryan Hindes clocked a time of 1:03.23 for second place. His time is the best by a Hoosier at 500 meters since 1987, when Roger Hunter ran the school record of 1:03.07.
Olu Olamigoke won the men's triple jump with a career best of 15.72m (51-7). The mark is the eighth best in IU history. Darius King cleared 2.13m (6-11.75) for third in high jump, moving into seventh in the Big Ten this season. He is now just one centimeter off his career best.
In the men's DMR, the Hoosiers took the win in 9:53.74. Adrien Dannemiller, Joshua Moore, Hale O'Herren and Daniel Stockberger ran the relay for IU, with Stockberger coming from behind on the mile-long anchor leg for the win. Stockberger clocked a split of 4:05.7 to outkick Michigan's James Yau by nearly a second.
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.
In 2011, 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.
Ahbe showed at the Meyo Invitational that she is ready to step into a bigger pair of shoes, winning the pole vault with a clearance of 4.21m (13-9.75). The mark moves her past Neuenswander in the IU record books as the IU indoor record holder in the pole vault. She is tied for the lead in the Big Ten this season and ranks ninth on the national list.
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 28th on the NCAA list and is second in the Big Ten. In the 200, Butler's time of 21.35 against Purdue ranks 33rd 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.
TEDDY IS READY TO RUN Andy Bayer completed a planned redshirt in the 2011 outdoor season after a historic indoor campaign. The junior trained at a high-level all spring, and suffered a setback in May with a fracture in his foot. The road back included an All-American finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Nicknamed "Ted" by his teammates because he was one of four Andrews on the distance crew upon his arrival, the "Teddy" Bayer, moniker stuck.
This indoor season, Bayer has shown that he is back to full strength, running sub-eight in the 3,000m twice and 3:58 in the mile. He is automatically qualified for NCAAs in the 3K and ranks sixth nationally in the mile.
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.