BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana womens track and field team fell just short of winning its first Big Ten Indoor Championship since 2000, finishing second in the conference meet on Sunday in Bloomington at Gladstein Fieldhouse. Michigan claimed title for the second time in as many seasons over the Hoosiers, scoring 129.5 points to IUs 115. Rachelle Boone (60 meters and 200 meters) and Chioma Ndubisi (400 meters) won individual titles for Indiana on the final day.
Our girls are not ashamed, they are just very hurt because they didnt win as a team, Hoosier head coach Randy Heisler said. When you look at them individually, I couldnt be more proud of them. We just had so many personal records. For the meet to be so far out of reach on paper and it come down to the last couple of events, I think that is a real credit to our girls. Michigan has a very good team, and I hope that is the last Big Ten title they win for a while. We are going to go outdoors, add some events that I think are in our favor and we will go at it again.
Sunday was highlighted by Indianas outstanding performances in the sprints events. In the 60m, it was a 1-2-3 finish for the Hoosiers. Rachelle Boone claimed the 60 meter title with a time of 7.26, Danielle Carruthers took runner-up honors in 7.34 and Ara Towns raced a personal-best in 7.39 to finish third. The trio supplied 24 points to Indianas effort. Boone set a meet-record on Saturday by running a 7.21 in the semifinals of the 60m. That time represented a personal best and is the second-fastest collegiate time this season.
As far as my individual races, I came out here and did what I wanted to do and what my coaches wanted me to do, Boone said. As far as the team results, they didnt come out like we hoped at all. I am just glad that everyone gave it all they could this weekend, and congratulations to Michigan.
Chioma Ndubisi turned in a career-best time of 55.08 to win the 400 meters for the Hoosiers. Ndubisi was seeded fourth entering the Big Ten Championships and ran the fourth-fastest qualifying time in Saturdays preliminary.
Last night I got on (Chioma Ndubisi) about yesterdays 400 because she went out kind of lethargic, Heisler said. Man, they fired the gun today, and she took off. I think she had a little fear that she wouldnt hold on until the end. She hung on, and I am really pleased with that.
Boone followed the victory in the 60m by claiming her second straight 200 meter crown, finishing in 23.61. Carruthers placed third in 24.42 and Towns took fourth in 24.47. Boone has now won four Big Ten indoor titles and eight conference titles overall (including outdoor).
I cant say enough about what Ed Beathea has done with our sprinters, Heisler said of the IU assistant coach. There is no better sprint coach in the country, and it is obvious. Not only did those kids just dominate the 100, 200 and Danielle in the hurdles, but you are also talking about national caliber qualifying. We knew this morning at breakfast that we were going to score those points. We just knew those kids would come through.
In the 60 meter hurdles, Carruthers was just edged by Illinois' Perdita Felicien for the title in a battle of the countrys two best hurdlers. Felicien ran an 8.02 and Carrurthers clocked a season-best 8.07 to score eight points for the Hoosiers.
I felt good about my time considering that I came to this meet and I was so tired, Carruthers said. After finishing yesterday, I was worried about how I was going to come out here today. I just felt really tired and really stiff. So, I just wanted to come out and give an honest effort, and I believe I did.
Freshman Jean Schaffer, participating in her first Big Ten Championship meet, cleared a season-best 1.73m/5-8.00 in the high jump, good for fourth-place. Kelley McKinney finished sixth in the weight throw with a toss of 17.62/57-9.75
In the 800m, a pair of sophomores scored for the Hoosiers. Mindy Peterson ran a 2:13.25 to place sixth and Larra Overton followed right on her heels in 2:13.25, taking seventh.
Indiana entered Saturdays competition just a half point behind the first-place Wolverines. The lead changed hands several times throughout the day, but Michigan took advantage after finishing second and third in the high jump and held on with strong performances in the 5,000 meters to seal the win.
We went into the team meeting last week, and I had said that if we gave our 100 percent and we won, that was great, Carruthers said. If we gave our 100 percent and got second, then there was nothing more we could ask of anybody. I think that everyone gave their 100 percent, it is just that things didnt fall the way we wanted them to. We have nothing to be ashamed of. It is just upsetting to know that you are a senior, and you wont have another chance to come out here at Indoor and win next year. I am very proud of every one and proud to be part of such a good team.
Indiana now turns its attention to the NCAA Indoor Meet, which is on March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark. IU will also compete in a pair of Last Chance qualifying meets this weekend in either South Bend, Ind. at Notre Dame or at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, this coming weekend, March 7-8.
Final Team Standings
1) Michigan 129.50 2) Indiana 115 3) Penn State 87
4) Ohio St 69
5) Wisconsin 68
6) Illinois 65
7) Minnesota 61.50
8) Purdue 50
9) Iowa 29.50
10) Michigan State 27.50