Feb. 28, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana's men's track and field program won its first Big Ten team title since 1992 this weekend, and more hardware was shipped toward Bloomington by the Big Ten on Tuesday. IU head coach Ron Helmer was named Big Ten Men's Coach of the Year, and Andy Bayer, who scored 26 points in the meet, was named Co-Track Athlete of the Big Ten Championships. Bayer split the award with Minnesota's Harun Abda. Bayer was one of 11 Hoosiers named All-Big Ten honorees as well.
Helmer said that credit for his Coach of the Year honor should go to his team.
"Coaches have a job to do and while winning often times results in honors of this type it is my sincere belief that we must be careful not to lose the reality of the accomplishment while recognizing a job well done," said Helmer. "I have a great coaching staff and a great support staff, all of whom do everything they can to facilitate our student-athletes' success, but at the end of the day some individuals and teams choose to excel and some do not. This particular group of young men has grown and matured while becoming a team. They have returned competitive spirit and pride to our locker room and followed that up with an outstanding team effort last weekend while winning a very competitive Big Ten Championship. While I don't deny the part our coaches played in this process I can assure you the athletes took over this past weekend and won a championship for their team. There can be no greater honor for a coach than the opportunity to watch committed athletes compete with heart and excel."
"Andy (Bayer) ran with a purpose this weekend, and that purpose was to help our team win a championship. Some athletes say the right things, but I truly believe Andy when he said his concern wasn't winning individual awards but rather scoring points for the team. He represents what made this team a success. They all bought in and put the team before themselves, and it was extremely rewarding to see their hard work pay off with the reward of a Big Ten Championship trophy."
Bayer won two individual titles in the meet and added a third-place medal as well, scoring 26 of Indiana's 104 points in the meet. He won the mile and 3,000 meters.
Other first team All-Big Ten selections included 200-meter champion Kind Butler, high jump winner Darius King and shot put champ Monique Riddick.
All-Big Ten Honorees
First Team: Andy Bayer (mile, 3,000m), Kind Butler (60m, 200m), Darius King (high jump) and Monique Riddick (shot put)
Second Team: Kelsie Ahbe (pole vault), Ruth Christopher (distance medley relay), Kelsey Duerksen (distance medley relay), Breanne Ehrman (distance medley relay), Antonia Franklin (distance medley relay), Emma Kimoto (high jump) and Olu Olamigoke (triple jump).
Next up for IU are last chance qualifying meets at Notre Dame and Iowa State on March 2-3. For complete coverage of all things IU track and field, stay tuned to IUHoosiers.com.