BLOOMINGTON, IndThe indoor track and field season officially kicked off on Saturday as Indiana hosted its season opening meet, the Hoosier Open at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. The Cream and Crimson faired well winning a competition-high 11 events as well as seeing a Hoosier provisionally qualify for nationals, while several other student-athletes set personal best. No team scores were recorded on the day.
“The most important part of the meet is to come out healthy,” said Director of Track and Field Randy Heisler. “These kids have only been back from break a few days so the meet was a good way to see where we stand as the season starts.”
Senior Ryan Ketchum led the men with a dominating first-place finish in the shot put. His throw of 17.84 meters was more then three meters then the runner-up and teammate sophomore Greg Brown, who recorded a length of 15.12 meters. Ketchum’s toss also passes the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 17.75 meters. He also set a personal best with a throw of 18.72 in the weight throw, good for second place.
“Ryan has been training and doing very well,” said Heisler, who also serves as the throws coach. “We have upped his goals for everything. He has a lot of talent. His goal today was for him to throw father then he has ever thrown indoors and I believe that that throw was his second or third best throw in indoors.”
Senior sprinter Andre Grimes providing some excitement on the day, coming back to take first in the 400-meter dash. Grimes trailed until the final turn when he overtook Illinois’ Adrian Walker for the victory.
Junior David Stead set a new personal-high with a 4.85 first-place finish in the men’s pole vault, while sophomore Christina Barniak placed first in the 800-meters with a personal best time of 2-minutes and 19.35 seconds.Senior Ara Towns led the women with a first-place finish in the 60-meter dash, finishing with a time of 7.61 seconds, just three tenths faster then freshman teammate Zakiya Robinson (7.91).
Sophomore Lorian Price led a Hoosier contingent that dominated the women’s 200-meter dash, as IU owned the top four spots. Price earned the Hoosier victory with a time of 25.72 seconds, finishing ahead of teammates Towns (25.83), Robinson (26.24) and freshman Kyndal Carr (26.58).
Price also finished second in the 60-meter dash with a run of 8.81 seconds, just seven-tenths of a second behind teammate sophomore Courtney Johnson, who won the event with an 8.81.
Other winners on the day included freshman George Tembon in the triple jump (13.54 meters), sophomore Stacey Clausing in the 600-meter dash (1-minute and 36.39 seconds), Jean Schaffer in the high jump (1.63 meters), and the women’s 4x400-meter relay time (3: 54.89)
“The whole point of this meet is to see where we are after a few weeks off,” said Heisler. “If gives us some extra practice times due to NCAA rules. My objective is to get better every week and this will just show us where we are at today and where we want to be in several weeks when the Big Ten championship’s come.”
The Hoosiers return to action next Saturday, Jan. 15, as IU host the Indiana Classic. Start time is set for 11 a.m. at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. Admission is free to all during the indoor track and field season.