Indiana Track and Field is sending 37 athletes to the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla., on the campus of the University of North Florida this weekend, which is the largest regional qualifying group for Indiana in head coach Ron Helmer's tenure. The 37 athletes include 20 men and 17 women. The meet will begin on Thurs., May 24 and conclude on Sat., May 26.
The meet includes the top-48 qualifiers (24 relays) in the East region in each event, with 12 advancing to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa in each event. There are 15 Hoosiers who enter the meet with seed marks that rank among the top 12 in the meet. For complete coverage of the meet, follow along at Twitter.com/IUTrackXC.
LAST TIME OUT
Indiana track and field had a strong showing at the Big Ten Championships. The Hoosiers got individual titles out of Kind Butler in the 200 meters, Andy Bayer in the 1,500 meters, Zach Mayhew in the 10,000m and Derek Drouin in the high jump. The Indiana men finished third with 115 points, and were just half a point out of second. The IU women tied with Purdue for 10th with 40 points.
Drouin won his fifth Big Ten high jump title, clearing 2.31m (7-7) to tie the all-time Big Ten record and match the Olympic A standard. The title is IU's 29th in the high jump. Darius King cleared 2.17m (7-1.5) for second place.
Butler won the 200-meter title in 20.51 seconds, earning his first outdoor Big Ten crown. He is the first Big Ten outdoor champion in the event for IU since David Neville won in 2004, and the title is the 18th in school history at the distance.
Bayer won the fourth Big Ten title of his career and his first in the 1,500m, clocking a time of 3:41.21 to outkick Ohio State's Cory Leslie, much like he did in the mile indoors this year. Indiana now has 13 titles all-time at 1,500m, along with 27 in the mile.
Mayhew's time of 28:55.06 was good enough to make him the first Big Ten Champion in IU history in the 10,000m.
Butler also helped the men's 4x100m relay team that included Tyler Sult, Chris Vaughn and Nick Stoner to second place, clocking a time of 39.82. Butler took third in the 100 meters as well, clocking a time of 10.47 seconds.
Vaughn clocked a time of 45.48 seconds for second in the 400. Jordan Gray took second place in the women's 800 meters, clocking a time of 2:06.89. Monique Riddick took second in the women's shot put, recording a heave of 16.25m (53-3.75).
In the 3,000m steeplechase, Indiana's men took third, fourth, sixth and seventh. Andrew Poore clocked a time of 8:35.77 for third and De'Sean Turner was fourth in 8:36.39.
Vaughn anchored the Hoosiers to third in the men's 4x400m relay in 3:05.69. Stoner handed off to Butler, who handed to Sult to set up Vaughn's anchor.
Kelsey Duerksen took third in the women's 1,500 meters with a time of 4:19.19, which ranks fourth in IU history. Kelsie Ahbe took third in the women's pole vault, clearing 4.16m (13-7.75).
AIR CANADA FLIES AGAIN
A three-time NCAA Champion, fifth-time Big Ten Champion, three-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year, one-time National Field Athlete of the Year and now two-time Penn Relays champion, Derek Drouin has accomplished a lot in the high jump. This season has been even more impressive given the fact he couldn't walk this time last year.
Last March, Drouin suffered a fracture in his jumping foot and was forced to spend more than six months away from full training. The junior redshirted the 2012 indoor season after missing all but the first meet of the 2011 outdoor season. He is still regaining strength and confidence in his jumping foot, and he is rounding back into top shape.
An Olympic hopeful for his native Canada, Drouin ranks second in Division I this season in the high jump with a clearance of 2.31m (7-7). His goal was to get back to 100 percent by the time the championship season comes around, and he jumped lifetime outdoor best at the Big Ten Championships, putting the nation on notice that he is indeed back. Drouin's clearance tied the Big Ten Outdoor Record and the Olympic A standard, something he needed to do to go to London as a member of Team Canada. His all-time best 2.33m (7-7.75) and the Canadian All-Time record 2.35m (7-8.5) are the next bars in his sights.
BLOOMINGTON, IND. - STEEPLETOWN, USA?
Indiana boasts the best steeplechase program in the nation. With three Big Ten titles and six All-Americans between the women's and men's teams in the event during the past two seasons, IU has more than earned the right to call itself the premier steeplechase program in America. This weekend, Indiana has seven steeplers competing for their tickets to Des Moines.
The Hoosiers have five men entered in the event at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, including Andrew Poore, De' Sean Turner, Adrien Dannemiller and Andy Weatherford, who rank third, fourth, sixth and eighth in the region and were all finalists in the event at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Poore took the win in the steeple at Penn Relays, finishing in 8:43.52 to win by five seconds. Poore took the lead with three laps to go and steadily pulled away from second-place finisher Travis Mahoney of Temple. Poore is IU's first Penn Relays champion in the event since 1999, when current volunteer assistant coach and steeplechase coach Tom Chorny won. IU has now won four titles in the steeplechase, as Tom Deckard won back-to-back titles in 1937 and 1938. The four titles by Indiana are second to only Tennessee (6) and Abilene Christian (5).
At the Polytan Invitational, Breanne Ehrman got in on the fun, taking the women's steeple by more than 23 seconds. She clocked a time of 10:04.25, which ranks 11th in Division I this season and leads the Big Ten by seven seconds.
KING HOLDS COURT
Coming into the indoor season, Ron Helmer was forced to admit that he wouldn't have his customary near-automatic 10-point cushion at Big Tens and NCAAs with Derek Drouin entered into the high jump. The five-time Big Ten champ and three-time NCAA champ redshirted the indoor season as he comes back from a foot injury, suffered in March, 2011.
But Helmer was pleasantly surprised when sophomore Darius King, third at Big Tens a year ago, took the win at the Big Ten meet. The junior cleared 2.22m (7-3.25) on the first attempt at Big Tens to come from behind for the win over Purdue's Geoff Davis. King followed up his stellar Big Ten meet with an even more impressive NCAA meet.
In his first NCAA meet, King cleared 2.23m (7-3.75) to tie for runner-up honors. The Hoosier has cleared 2.21m (7-3) this outdoor season and is currently 13th on the Division I list. He took second at the Big Ten Championships, completing a 1-2 sweep for the Hoosiers with Drouin.
THE BUTLER DID IT
When Kind Butler arrived at Indiana in 2009-10, Indiana didn't have much in the way of sprinters, and he didn't appear to be any answer to the problem, transferring in from Kentucky State as a high jumper/long jumper with an injured knee. The injury forced Bulter to spend some time away from jumping, and when the IU coaches lined him up in the 60m and 200m, they realized quickly that he could be special.
Butler made an impact right away, earning All-America honors as the 400m carry on Indiana's distance medley relay and taking third at outdoor Big Tens in the 100m and 200m dashes. It was the 2011 season that saw Butler truly breakout. The then junior was the Big Ten 60m champion and earned All-America honors in the 200m indoors, and led IU's 4x100m relay to the first All-America finish in decades. Indiana now had a legitimate sprinter in the fold.
This season has been even better for Butler, as he took the indoor and outdoor 200m titles in the Big Ten and took fourth at NCAA indoors in the 200. Outdoors, he is among the nation's best in the 200 and has led IU to the regional in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Not bad for a Division II high jumper and long jumper.
A high school baseball player, Butler competed in track and field over the last three years of his prep career and advanced to the Indiana state meet for Lawrence Central. After one season at Kentucky State, Butler suffered a bad knee injury that his coaches told him he would never recover from. A tireless worker and eternal optimist, Butler set out to prove them wrong, after two years of tough rehab, Butler found an opportunity at Indiana, and has taken advantage of it, to say the least.
BAYER PUTS A SCARE INTO THE BIG TEN 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 has included an All-American finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, leading IU to a seventh-place finish, and NCAA Automatic qualifications in the 3,000 meters and the distance medley relay indoors. This outdoor season, Bayer will focus on the 1,500.
During the indoor season, Bayer showed that he is back to full strength, running sub-eight in the 3,000m twice and 3:58 in the mile. He had a historic Big Ten meet, scoring 26 points with wins in the mile and 3,000 before running an indoor lifetime best for third in the 5,000. Bayer earned Track Athlete of the Big Ten Championships laurels. Bayer was also named USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Track Athlete of the Year. He took fourth in the NCAA Mile and anchored IU to second in the DMR.
Nicknamed "Ted" by his teammates because he was one of four Andrews on the distance crew upon his arrival, the "Teddy" Bayer, moniker stuck.
Bayer has run times of 3:41.17 in the 1,500m and 13:33.25 in the 5,000m this season, showing off his range. Bayer outkicked Ohio State's Corey Leslie at Big Tens, much like he did in the mile final indoors, to take the conference title in the 1,500. The title is the third in 2012 for Bayer and the fourth of his career. Danny Stockberger, who will also run the 1,500 this weekend, took fourth in the Big Ten final, clocking a time of 3:42.98, which was just .11 out of third.
MAYHEW MAKES HISTORY Zach Mayhew took the Big Ten 10,000m title in Madison. His win is the first in school history in the 10K, and he broke the McClimon Complex record in the process.
Mayhew dropped Wisconsin's Elliot Krause with 300m to go, pulling away steadily to the victory. His time of 28:55.06 was more than four seconds ahead of Krause in second place, is the fourth fastest in IU history and ranks 10th among NCAA meet entries and second in the East region. The first Big Ten Champion in IU history in the 10,000m, Mayhew became the fifth member of IU's distance corps with a Big Ten crown, joining Andy Bayer, Ben Hubers, Andrew Poore and De'Sean Turner.
AHBE LOOKING TO MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW Kelsie Ahbe is in familiar territory. The past two years, the Uniontown, Ohio native has missed out on qualifying for NCAAs during the indoor season, only to make it to the NCAA finals during the outdoor slate. She appears to be in position to do the same this year. Heading into the preliminary round, she ranks 15th nationally and fifth in the region with a clearance of 4.25m (13-11.25). The junior was sixth at NCAAs in 2011.
FROM 7TH IN THE B1G TO 7TH IN THE NATION
Entering the Big Ten Championships, Chris Vaughn was seeded seventh in the conference in the 400, and the Hoosiers were hoping to get points from the redshirt junior. Boy, did Vaughn deliver. The junior shed a second off his seed time in the prelims and then another in the finals, taking second place. His time of 45.48 moved him from 92nd on the Div. I list to seventh. The Nolensville, Tenn., native is a published novelist and is working on book number two. Next year he has one more year of outdoor eligibility.
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.