Nine Hoosiers Punch Tickets to Texas for NCAAs
March 10, 2009
The Hoosiers are ready for the NCAA Indoor Championships. With nine athletes qualifying, the Hoosiers will be represented in six events. Senior Molly Beckwith will run the 800-meters, holding the ninth seed heading into the national meet. Senior Jeff Coover holds the sixth seed in the pole vault. Junior Vera Neuenswander will be the 12th seed in the women's pole vault. Freshman Derek Drouin has cleared 2.18m, which makes him the 15th seed. Senior Wendi Robinson will be the 14th seed in the 5,000m. In the men's distance medley relay, sophomores De'Sean Turner and Ben Hubers and seniors John Gunnell and Evan Bardach will run as the 14th seed, after getting their automatic entry last weekend at the Alex Wilson Invitational. Beckwith and Robinson are returning to the indoor championships for the second straight year, and Neuenswander made it to the indoor meet in 2007.
The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station. The meet opens at 10 am on Friday, starting with combined events. At 4 pm, the meet gets going with field events and track events starting at that time. On Saturday, combined events start at noon and other events start at 3:30 pm.
LAST TIME OUT
The DMR team recorded a time of 9:31.81, which is the second fastest in school history. The time is less than a second behind only a team that included national champion Sean Jefferson and Olympic Gold medalist David Neville in 2004. The automatic qualifying standard is 9:34.00, more than two seconds slower than the IU time.
Junior Ashley Rhoades took second in the high jump, and senior Wil Glover took second in the 60-meters. Rhoades cleared 1.76m (5-9.25) to tie for first. The Columbia City, Ind., product took second after tie-breakers. Glover recorded a time of 6.84 and finished just .01 seconds out of first.
COOVER GETS BIG CLEARANCE, BIG TEN TITLE
The Big Ten Conference announced on Feb. 9 that Coover was the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week for the week of Feb. 1-7. Coover won the pole vault at the Meyo Invitational with the Big Ten's second-best jump this season, topped only by his own season best. This was the second consecutive award for Coover, as he received the honor for his career-best mark at the Indiana Relays the week prior.
Indiana track and field director and head coach Ron Helmer said that winning the award two weeks in a row is quite a feat, showing a consistency that is rare in the pole vault.
"It is a great honor for Jeff to be named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week for a second time this season," said Helmer. "Consistency is the key to success and consistent performance at a high level creates champions. Our vault program is outstanding and both Jeff and Coach Wiseman should take great pride in this accomplishment."
Coover didn't stop with two good weeks. He won the championship section of the pole vault at the Tyson Invite. He finished 15 centimeters better than his closest competitor.
Beckwith took home three Big Ten medals on day two at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, leading the Hoosiers to a fourth-place finish, the best for IU since 2003. Beckwith took second in the 400-meters and the 600-meters and led the 4x400m relay team to third.
Beckwith saw eerily similar results in the 400m and 600m finals. She finished second in both events to runners from the opposite heat of the two heat finals. Beckwith recorded career bests in both events, finishing in 54.67 in the 400, less than a second out of first.
In the 600m final, she was .18 seconds out of first with her IU record time of 1:27.96. She improved more than a full second on the IU record she set earlier this season. In the relay, Beckwith ran the fastest leg, leading the Hoosiers to the fourth-fastest time in IU lore. Just 1.5 seconds slower than the provisional qualifying mark, their time of 3:41.50 was more than a second faster than the quartet's season best.
Senior Molly Beckwith improved her provisional mark and school record in the 800m run at the Meyo Invitational. Her time of 2:05.55 is the ninth best in Division I and the third best in the Big Ten.
Beckwith is also provisionally qualified as a member of the distance medley relay team. Their time at the Meyo Invite is the second best in IU history, slower than only the relay team that she helped to the record in 2008.
Drouin took second in the high jump at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Drouin's second place finish was good for eight team points. The Corunna, Ontario native matched his career best mark with a clearance of 2.18m (7-1.75). He was just three centimeters out of first place.
Robinson improved her provisional qualification in the 3,000-meters at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, finishing in 9:26.69 to shed nearly two seconds off of her mark this season and her career best. Her time is the fifth best in IU history. The mark was good for fourth-place in the impressive field of Big Ten runners. She earned five team points.
Robinson provisionally qualified as a member of the distance medley relay team as well at the Meyo Invite. The group recorded the second fastest time in school history, slower than only the school record setting group that Robinson led last season.
Neuenswander tied for third at the Big Ten meet, clearing 3.97m (13-0.25). The finish earned 5.5 team points for the Hoosiers.
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