Track & Field

    Hoosiers Take One Last Shot at NCAAs

    Go Hoosiers! Freshman Nick Stoner
    Go Hoosiers!
    Freshman Nick Stoner
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 1, 2012

    Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Alex Wilson Invite Flotrack Coverage | Alex Wilson Invite Live Results | Wisconsin NCAA Qualifier Live Results

    Around the country this weekend, athletes are taking one last shot at qualifying for NCAAs. The Hoosiers are no different as Hoosier NCAA hopefuls will head to Notre Dame and Wisconsin this weekend, looking to punch their tickets to Boise, Idaho. Indiana's throwers will compete at the Wisconsin NCAA Qualifier and all other Hoosiers will compete at the annual Alex Wilson Invitational.

    Alex Wilson will be streamed live on, and the track and field fan site will feature interviews and archived race footage throughout the meet.

    Hoosiers looking to move into the nation's top 14 or 15 this weekend include Kelsie Ahbe in the pole vault, Monique Riddick in the shot put, and IU's men's 4x400m relay.

    Indiana's men's track and field program won its first Big Ten team title since 1992. Indiana got individual titles from Andy Bayer, who scored 26 points in the meet, Kind Butler, Darius King and Monique Riddick. Leading by two with heading into the final event, Indiana sealed the victory in the 4x400m relay, taking fifth. The Hoosiers had 104 points to defeat second-place Minnesota by four after finishing second to the Gophers in 2011. The IU women took eighth with 48 points.

    Bayer took the win in the mile, after taking the 3,000-meter crown on Friday. He clocked a time of 4:04.64, out-kicking top-seeded Cory Leslie of Ohio State by .05 for the win. Ben Hubers took fourth in the race, clocking a time of 4:07.07. The Hoosier duo scored 15 points for IU. Bayer is Indiana's 27th Big Ten mile champ and the first since Sean Jefferson in 2005. He is the first Hoosier to win championships in two distance races at the same Big Ten meet since Bob Kennedy won the mile, 3,000 and 5,000 in 1992.

    Butler won the 200-meter title with a time of 20.92. He finished .51 faster than the second-place finisher. In the 60m final, Butler took second place in 6.67, tying his school record in the event. The Big Ten title is the second of his career, as he won the 60 in 2011. He is the first 200m champ for IU since David Neville won titles in 2004 and 2005, and he is the 17th Big Ten title winner at the distance in IU history. Butler scored 18 points for the Hoosiers.

    King won the high jump by clearing 2.22m (7-3.25), the clearance is the third best in IU history. With the win, he moves IU's winning streak to three in the event at the indoor championships, as Derek Drouin had won the last two. IU has won 28 Big Ten high jump crowns and King is the 12th individual to do so in an IU uniform.

    Riddick entered the shot put finals in third place, but took the lead on her first throw in the finals for the win. Her heave of 16.46m (54-1) is a season best and ranks 18th in Division I this season. The senior was the conference runner-up to teammate Faith Sherrill at the indoor meet a year ago and continues IU's streak in the event as Sherrill won the past two outdoor meets as well.

    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 a 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 moved her past Neuenswander in the IU record books as the IU indoor record holder in the pole vault. She took second at the Big Ten Championships and ranks 22nd on the national list.

    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). At Big Tens, she came in seeded third. Riddick entered the finals of the shot put in third place, but took the lead on her first throw in the finals for the win. Her heave of 16.46m (54-1) is a season best and ranks 18th in Division I this season. The senior was the conference runner-up to teammate Faith Sherrill at the indoor meet a year ago and continues IU's streak in the event as Sherrill won the past two outdoor meets as well.

    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."

    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 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 or via Facebook at




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