S. Jefferson Runs Four-Min. Mile (02-06-04)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The first day of the Indiana Invitational was highlighted by sophomore Sean Jefferson's 4:00.83 mile, which ranks as the fastest time by a collegiate runner and the third-fastest by an American this year on Friday night inside Gladstein Feildhouse. In addition to Jefferson's outstanding performance, Hoosier athletes set nearly 20 season bests in their respective events.
Jefferson and fellow IU teammates Chris Redman, Chris Powers and Stephen Haas competed in an invitational mile on Friday night. Rob Myers, who was running unattached, won the race with a time of 4:00.17, the second-fastest by an American this season. In addition to provisionally qualifying him for the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track Meet, Jefferson's performance shaved two seconds off the collegiate best time, which was held by Florida's Shane Stroup (4:02.07). The time also ranks as the fourth-best in IU history, behind three former Olympians, Jim Spivey, Bob Kennedy and Terry Brahm. Another former Olympian, Mark Deady, ranks fifth.
Powers (4:07.32), Redman (4:07.90) and Haas (4:08.14) also moved into the top 20 in IU history in the mile. Sean's twin brother John, who is redshirting during this indoor season, is also in that group as he ran a 4:02.37 in 2002.
"That field ran a perfect race," IU head coach Randy Heisler said. "They did exactly what (head cross country and men's track distance coach) Robert Chapman asked them to do. Former IU athlete Chris Ekman got out to a fast start and they all ran fast behind him. They did exactly what you've got to do. In addition to Sean, that other group of guys (Powers, Redman and Haas) is right there with a chance to go to NCAAs."
Heisler was pleased with the overall performance from both the men's and women's teams.
"It was a very good day, when you look at what we're trying to accomplish. We want to qualify as many for nationals as possible and continue to move up the Big Ten standings in each event. I told the kids I would be happy if we came out of this meet with 20 to 25 season or lifetime PR (personal records), and it looks like we'll easily accomplish that after day one."
For the women's team, freshman Courtney Johnson PR'd for the second straight week by clocking an 8.50in the 60 meter hurdle semifinals. Fellow freshmen Darcelle McCutcheon (8.87 in the semifinals) and Lorian Price (8.91 in the prelims) also set personal bests. Johnson and McCutcheon will run in Saturday's finals.
Junior sprinter Karla Marshall turned in a personal best in the 60 meter dash semifinals with a time of 7.53, the second-fastest time by a collegiate athlete in the race. Sophomore Andrea Dalla Rosa had her best shot put of the season at 14.77m/48-5.50, a mark that was the best in Friday's shot put preliminary.
On the men's side, David Neville clocked a PR of 21.56 in the 200 meter dash and advance to tomorrow's finals. Neville also ran the second-fastest 400 meter time (48.83) to qualify for the final. Ryan Ketchum's heave of 17.60m/57-9.00 set a new personal record in the shot put. Bloomington native Wil Fleming PR'd in the weight throw with a toss of 18.18m/59-7.50.
The Indiana Invitational continues on Saturday with the final three events of the men's heptathlon, the men's high jump, and field event and track event finals. Heptathlon competiton begins at 8:30 a.m. and the regular portion of the meet begins at 11:15 a.m. with the women's 5,000 meters. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students grades K-12. IU students are admitted free with a student ID.
"We had 10 hours of competition today, and we couldn't have a meet like this without 40 volunteer officials," Heisler said. "They're going to come out and do it again tomorrow and we really appreciate them. Our staff has done a great job with this meet as well."
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