Feb. 24, 2009
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The Hoosiers split up for Big Ten action this weekend, with the men's Big Ten Championships taking place at Penn State and the women's meet taking place in Bloomington. Indiana looks to improve on ninth-place finishes at both meets in 2008. The men scored 35 points in 2008 and the women took 33.5.
IU is also competing for two points in the Crimson and Gold Cup, the battle between the Indiana and Purdue athletic departments. Coach Ron Helmer is responsible for six points in the Cup and is 2-for-2 thus far, having beaten Purdue in both men's and women's cross country. The Hoosiers finished behind Purdue at both meets last season.
Indiana looks to win its first indoor Big Ten title since 2000, when the women took the team crown with 150 points. The men last took the title in 1992 with 104 points.
LAST TIME OUT
Indiana posted perhaps its best day of the season to date on day two of the Tyson Invitational. The Hoosiers took three Tyson crowns, an automatic NCAA qualification and two brand new provisional marks. IU also took eight top-three finishes and nine top-five marks. Seniors Jeff Coover and Wendi Robinson and sophomore Cole Hardacre joined freshman Ben Stephen as Tyson Invitational champions. Junior Vera Neuenswander posted the first NCAA automatic mark for the Hoosiers this season.
Coming off of back to back Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors, Coover didn't let down at all, taking the Tyson Invitational crown in the championship pole vault section. Coover cleared 5.35m (17-6.5) for a six-inch victory over many of the country's best athletes.
Robinson posted her third NCAA provisional mark of the season, winning the 5,000m championship section. Her time of 16:37.55 was four seconds better than her competition and makes her the first Big Ten runner to post a provisional mark in the event. The time is one of the ten best in Division I this season.
Hardacre took the collegiate crown in the 3,000m, finishing less than a half second behind unattached runner Kevin Williams. He shed more than five seconds off of his previous best in the event with a time of 8:13.31.
Stephen posted the second-best throw of his career to win the collegiate title in the shot put. His mark of 18.04m (59-2.25) was more than four feet better than his closest competitor and was 29 centimeters better than the provisional NCAA standard.
Neuenswander, the IU record holder in the pole vault, took the Indiana record book to the next level on Saturday. Her clearance of 4.20m (13-9.25) matches the NCAA automatic qualifying standard. In the distance medley relay, the Hoosier men posted a provisional qualification with the country's eighth-best time this season, the Big Ten's best time of the season and the fourth-best time in IU history.
COOVER GARNERS WEEKLY BIG TEN ACCOLADE TWO WEEKS IN A ROW
The Big Ten Conference announced on Feb. 9 that Indiana's Jeff 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 took a big step toward the NCAA Indoor Championships, as the La Jolla, Calif., native improved his career best in the pole vault by five inches at the Indiana Relays, clearing 5.37m (17-7.25), which is 6.5 inches better than the NCAA provisional standard. The clearance puts the senior third on the Division I list and is the best in the Big Ten. He finished 3.75 inches better than the second-place finishers, the Schipper brothers from Notre Dame. His mark moves him into a tie for fourth in the IU record books, matching a 1991 clearance by former IU great Jimm Stack.
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.
MCLEOD OVERTAKES IU LEGEND IN THE 5,000M RUN
Senior Timothy McLeod was the collegiate champ in the invitational section of the 5,000m finishing behind four professionals at the Indiana Relays. His time of 14:09.67 is a provisional qualifying time and moves him into seventh in the IU record books. The Tuscon, Ariz., native surpassed one of Indiana's all-time greats in Bob Kennedy. McLeod was just the second athlete in Division I to post a provisional mark in the event in 2009 and his time is the fifth best by a Big Ten runner this season.
HIGH JUMPERS RAISE THE BAR
Junior Ashley Rhoades posted the first provisional qualification of her career to win the women's high jump at the Indiana Invite. Rhoades' clearance of 1.79m (5-10.5) is a career best and the second best in IU history. The jump is also the 22nd best in Division I and the best in the Big Ten on the 2009 season. Rhoades is now just two centimeters shy of the IU record. This win comes on the heels of a win at the Indiana Open.
Freshman Derek Drouin added three-quarters of an inch to his provisional qualification in the high jump at the Tyson Invite. His clearance of 2.18m (7-1.75) moves him into fourth-place in the IU record books. He is now tied with former IU standout Dennis Adama on the all-time list. He moves into the top-12 nationally with his tie for second among collegiate jumpers. He holds the Big Ten's third-best mark.
TURNER `THE BURNER' JOINS IU ELITE IN THE 800M
Sophomore De'Sean Turner moved into fifth in the IU record books, cutting just over two seconds off of his previous career best in the 800m with his time of 1:50.08 at the Meyo Invitational. Turner moved into elite company, as he bypassed IU legend Mark Deady on the all-time list and sits just .01 seconds behind another former IU great, Ryan Huber. His time is No. 32 on the Division I list and is the sixth best in the Big Ten this season.
Turner posted his second provisional qualification of the season as a member of the distance medley relay team. The team took second at the Tyson Invite, and their time of 9:42.72 is the eighth best in Division I and the best in the Big Ten.
STEPHEN STEPS UPS HIS GAME, STEPS INTO IU RECORDS
Sophomore Ben Stephen drew huge cheers with his career-best toss of 18.18m (59-7.75) at the Indiana Open. The shot put was the last event to finish up, and Stephen made sure to end the meet with a bang.
His toss was 1.19 meters better than Steve Hnat's second-place throw. He bettered the provisional standard by 43 centimeters. His mark is the eighth best in Hoosier history and stands as the 18th best in Division I this year. Stephen has the third-best heave in the Big Ten this season. Stephen also had a career-best heave of 17.14m (56-2.75) in the weight throw. His mark in the weight throw is the seventh best ever at IU.
Stephen continued his breakout season by winning a collegiate championship at the Tyson Invitational. Stephen posted the second-best throw of his career to win the title in the shot put. His mark of 18.04m (59-2.25) was more than four feet better than his closest competitor and was 29 centimeters better than the provisional NCAA standard. Keith Lloyd of Nebraska took second with a heave of 16.78m.
BECKWITH WRITES HER NAME THROUGHOUT IU RECORD BOOKS
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 eighth best in Division I and the third best in the Big Ten.
Beckwith posted the Big Ten's eighth best time this season in the 400 meter dash at the Gladstein Invitational. Her time of 55.38 is the ninth fastest in IU history.
As if she hadn't done enough, Beckwith broke the IU record in the 600m run and took down the Gladstein Fieldhouse record for good measure at the Gladstein Invitational. Her time of 1:29.16 is the second-fastest in the Big Ten. She passed former IU standout Hilary Breuning on IU's all-time list and became the first Hoosier to break the 1:30.00 barrier during the indoor season.
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.
HOWARD IS BIG TEN'S BEST OF THE WEEK
The Big Ten Conference announced the Big Ten track and field athletes of the week for the week of Jan. 3-10, and Indiana's Tiffany Howard was selected as the field honoree. Howard posted an NCAA provisional qualification in the shot put to win the event at the Indiana Open.
Indiana track and field director and head coach Ron Helmer said that the award could be a sign of things to come for Howard and the rest of the IU throwers under the direction of assistant coach Jermaine Jones.
"Tiffany has worked very hard in preparation for her senior year," Helmer said. "It is very exciting to see her hard work start to pay off with a great early season personal record. Both Tiffany and Coach Jones should be very excited about her potential for success this year."
Howard improved her indoor best by 1.5 meters (previous best was 14.33m) in her winning effort. Her heave of 15.83m (51-11.25) was 76 centimeters better than Faith Sherrill who came in second while competing unattached. She bettered the NCAA provisional standard by 63 centimeters. The mark is the fourth best in the IU record books and the 14th-best in Division I this season. Her mark is more than 10 inches better than her closest Big Ten competitor this season.
FORECAST CALLS FOR WENDI CONDITIONS AT NCAAS
Senior Wendi Robinson led the way for the Hoosiers on day one at the Indiana Relays, winning the invitational section of the 3,000m run with a provisional qualifying time.
Robinson finished in 9:28.48 to win the 3,000m run. Her time was more than two seconds faster than the second-place finisher and nearly six seconds faster than the NCAA provisional qualifying standard. Her time is the fourth fastest in the Big Ten.
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.
Robinson posted her third provisional mark of the season with a time of 16:37.55 in the 5,000-meters. She was the first Big Ten runner to qualify in the event and was four seconds ahead of her next closest competitor on her way to the Tyson Invite title. Her time is the fourth-fastest in the Big Ten this season.
VERA IS ALL-TIME BEST AT IU
In the pole vault, junior Vera Neuenswander took fourth place at the Tyson Invite. Neuenswander broke her own IU record with a clearance of 4.20m (13-9.25). The mark is the 7th-best in Division I and is the second-best in the conference this season. She matched the automatic qualifying standard, ensuring her spot in the national meet. Neuenswander improved her IU record by five centimeters.
Freshman Olumide Olamigoke got past the seven-meter barrier in the men's long jump, leaping 7.11m (23-4) for the collegiate title at the Indiana Relays. He finished behind only unattached John Berry. In his young career Olamigoke has already moved into striking distance of the impressive marks in the IU record books. His career best is less than two feet from entering Indiana's all-time top-ten. He is also just 39 centimeters shy of the NCAA provisional mark.
In the triple jump, Olamigoke has the Big Ten's second-best mark this season, behind only senior Clarence Smith of Penn State. He also holds the conference's fifth-best mark in the long jump.
HARDACRE TAKES TYSON CROWN
Hardacre took the collegiate crown in the 3,000m at the Tyson Invitational, finishing less than a half second behind unattached runner Kevin Williams. He shed more than five seconds off of his previous best in the event with a time of 8:13.31.
RELAY TEAMS BREAKING INTO STRIDE
For the second straight year, the Hoosiers have provisionally qualified in the women's distance medley relay. Molly Beckwith, Ann-Marie Clarke, Audrey Smoot and Wendi Robinson posted a mark of 11:23.91 at the Meyo Invite. The time is the second best in IU history and ranks as the third best in the Big Ten this season.
Not to be outdone by their female counterparts, the Hoosier men posted a provisional qualification with the country's eighth-best time this season in the distance medley relay. Sophomores De'Sean Turner and Ben Hubers and seniors John Gunnell and Evan Bardach posted the Big Ten's best time of the season and the fourth-best time in IU history. Finishing in 9:42.72, the Indiana team was less than a half second behind the winning team from Oklahoma. For Turner, this is his second qualification in as many weekends.
In the 4x800m relay, a quartet of sophomores dominated for the Hoosiers at the Indiana Relays. Daniel Stockberger, Ben Hubers, Andy Weatherford and De'Sean Turner won the relay by nearly eight seconds. Their time of 7:35.48 is the fifth fastest in IU history. The team defeated a talented field that included solid teams from Rend Lake College and Michigan.
The Indiana team won the distance medley relay at the Indiana Relays. Freshmen Breanne Ehrman, Jordan Gray and Chelsea Blanchard and senior Courtney Freiberger finished in 11:54.77 for an eleven second victory. The group finished 100 meters ahead of the Xavier team that took second place.
MORE EVENT WINNERS FOR IU
Others winning events at the Indiana Open were senior Wil Glover in the 60m dash (6.80), sophomore De'Sean Turner in the 800m run (1:53.75), sophomore Cole Hardacre in the mile run (4:13.17), and freshman Olumide Olamigoke in the triple jump (14.46m (47-5.25)). Glover's time is the fourth best in the Big Ten this season.
Others winning events for IU at the Indiana Invite were sophomore De'Sean Turner in the 800m (1:53.07), sophomore Ben Stephen in the shot put (17.48m (57-4.25)) and a 4x800m relay team of sophomores Andrew Poore, Andrew Weatherford and Turner and senior Evan Bardach (7:43.30). Turner's 800m run was the fifth fastest in the conference in 2009.
Also winning events on the day for IU were sophomore Ashley Baker in the open section of the 400m dash (57.98), sophomore Andy Weatherford in the 800m run invitational (1:53.21), senior Tim McLeod in the 3,000m run (8:10.49), Weatherford and fellow sophomores De'Sean Turner and Jacob Laird and senior Evan Bardach in the 4x800m relay (7:43.10), junior Jared Nuxoll in the high jump (2.05m (6-8.75)), Ben Stephen in the shot put (17.62m), and senior Tiffany Howard in the shot put (15.10m (49-6.5).
Also winning at the Indiana Relays were junior Jenny Kulow in the open section of the 5,000m run (18:11.47) and senior Sarah Pease in the invitational section of the 5,000m (16:58.23).
HOOSIERS HILLS REVISITED
At the Hoosier Hills, junior Sarah Pease and freshman Breanne Ehrman got things started with big improvements on their personal bests in the mile. The Hoosier duo took first and second place, with Ehrman just .11 seconds behind Pease. Pease shed nearly three seconds and Ehrman improved her time by nearly five ticks. The two IU runners were six seconds ahead of the third-place runner.
Indiana also won the women's 4x400m and distance medley relays. The distance medley relay team won by more than five seconds, and the 4x400m relay team won by nearly a full second.
In the pole vault, Laura Williams won by 15 centimeters, clearing 3.65m. Also recording significant marks for Indiana were freshman Derek Messmer and senior Kyle Lechlitner who both cleared the winning height in the pole vault, each increasing the their career best to 4.90m. In the weight throw, Paul Fearnow moved his career best above the 19-meter threshold with his heave of 19.01m. The throw is the third best in school history. His mark was good for second place.