Hoosiers Head West Looking for Gold at NCAAs
June 5, 2010
The Hoosiers head to Track Town, USA this weekend for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. Nine Hoosier student-athletes will compete over the course of the four-day meet, which begins on Wednesday, June 9 and concludes on Saturday, June 12.
Eight of the nine Hoosiers headed to Oregon have already earned All-America honors in their IU careers. Kelsie Ahbe heads to her first NCAA Championship meet, but she continues a string of four consecutive NCAA Outdoor meets where IU has had a competitor in the women's pole vault. Derek Drouin looks to add another NCAA crown to his mantle after winning the NCAA Indoor title in March. Hoosiers Molly Beckwith (800m), Faith Sherrill (shot put) and Jeff Coover (pole vault) have all qualified for the outdoor championships in events they earned All-America honors in during the indoor campaign.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships is a scored meet that uses the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system. The top-eight finishers and the top-eight Americans in each event are awarded All-America honors. Live video of the meet will be available at NCAA.com and Sunday's races will be aired live on CBS starting at 1 p.m. ET.
LAST TIME OUT
De'Sean Turner started the day off right for the Hoosiers, winning his heat of the 3,000m steeplechase in 8:47.22 to punch his ticket to Eugene. Pease followed Turner's lead, winning her heat of the steeplechase in 10:13.09.
Drouin cleared three bars without a miss to advance in the high jump. He was one of three jumpers without a miss on the day. The final height proved to be 2.16m (7-1), whittling the field down to 12 advancers.
Beckwith ran the second fastest time of the meet to win her heat of the 800m. She finished in 2:03.02 despite running in the slowest of three heats.
Ahbe cleared 4.00m (13-1.5) on her first attempt to earn her first NCAA Championship berth. Ahbe was one of only four athletes to clear the height in one attempt.
Sherrill posted a heave of 17.21m (56-5.25), which was the second-best throw in the competition and is number two on the Div. I list this season.
Coover posted a business-like performance in the pole vault. He cleared three bars, all on first attempts. His clearance of 5.25m (17-2.75) proved to be good enough for a top-12 finish and advancement to the NCAA Championships.
SIMPLY THE BEST... AROUND
Indiana track and field director and head coach Ron Helmer said the two award recipients consistently competed at an elite level this season.
"Molly and Derek have really taken a step forward this year, showing where hard work can take you," Helmer said. "The hope is that that success can be contagious throughout the team."
She won the Big Ten title in the 800m by more than 2.5 seconds. Beckwith won her quarterfinal heat at the NCAA East Prelims with the second-fastest seed time between the two regional sites. She finished in 2:03.02.
THE AIR UP THERE
Drouin won his third career Big Ten high jump crown, and his second straight outdoor title at the Big Ten Championships. Drouin cleared 2.21m (7-3) to win by 3.5 inches.
Drouin also posted a win at the Penn Relays. He has a season best of 2.23m (7-3.75) from the Billy Hayes Invitational. He advanced through the NCAA East Preliminary Round without missing on any of his three jumps.
Ben Hubers took seventh in the event with a time of 14:09.00 at Big Tens, but he enters the regional riding his 5k from the Stanford Invitational. He finished in 13:56.21, which is the eighth-fastest time in school history, surpassing Sean Jefferson. Hubers was sixth in his heat of the 5,000m at the East prelims and advanced based on his time.
KEEPING WITH TRADITION
Coover won the pole vault with a clearance of 5.35m (17-6.5) at the Alabama Relays. He was a foot and nearly six inches better than his closest competitor. His clearance is just a centimeter off his outdoor career best. Coover had zero misses at the NCAA East Preliminaries, earning his way to the NCAA Championships.
Ahbe joined the four-meter club for second in the college section of the pole vault at the Penn Relays. Ahbe was one of only two vaulters to clear 4.06m (13-3.75) on the day and finished second after tie breakers. Ahbe is one of just three Hoosiers ever to clear four meters and the third to clear 13 feet. Her jump is the third highest in IU lore. The clearance is 2.25 inches better than the previous meet record for the college section. Ahbe cleared 4.00m on her first attempt to stamp her ticket to NCAAs.
HAVE FAITH IN THE HOOSIERS
Sherrill bettered defending champion and former record holder Aja Evans by 10.25 inches. Sherrill is the second Hoosier ever to put the shot more than 17 meters, joining IU legend Katrin Koch. Sherrill's title is the first by a Hoosier woman in the shot put since 2001, when Jennifer Brown took the gold medal. Sherrill joins defending national champion Mariam Kevkhishvilli of Florida as the only two throwers in the country to better the 17-meter mark this season and is seeded second in the region behind Kevkhishvilli.
Sherrill has the nation's second-best throw on the season, a 17.21m (56-5.25) bomb she let go of at the NCAA East Prelims. The heave moved her within a foot and an inch of Katrin Koch's IU record.
Sherrill followed up a second-place Penn Relays performance in the shot put by crushing the school record in the hammer throw. At the Billy Hayes Invitational, Sherrill broke the IU record in the hammer throw with a huge improvement on her career mark.
BIG TEN'S BEST FIELD ATHLETES
Eight Hoosiers earned All-Big Ten accolades, with Molly Beckwith, Faith Sherrill, Derek Drouin, Andrew Poore and De'Sean Turner claiming first team honors and Kelsie Ahbe, Sarah Pease and Ashley Rhoades being named to the second team.
"We had several student-athletes really step up and perform well at the Big Ten meet," said Indiana director and head coach Ron Helmer. "Any time you can get eight people performing at an All-Big Ten level, good things are going to happen. It was nice to have five of our kids win Big Ten titles in front of a home crowd."
Not to be outdone by the women, the men have made their mark in the steeple this season as well. At the ISU Quadrangular, De'Sean Turner clocked a time of 8:48.28 for the win, breaking a 30-year old ISU track record in the process. Turner then teamed up with Andrew Poore to provide one of the most exciting moments for IU at the Big Ten Championships. Turner and Poore finished 1-2 in the steeplechase, bringing home 18 points for the IU cause. Turner's time of 8:43.72 is the fifth-fastest in IU history and ranks among the nation's top-12 this season. Turner enters the NCAA Championships after winning his heat of the steeplechase at the NCAA East Prelims.
NINE A.O.W.'S FOR IU THIS SEASON
Indiana director and head coach Ron Helmer said that Sherrill was one of many Hoosiers that took a step forward in the team's final tune up before the Big Ten Championships.
"It is always important to be at your best heading into the championship schedule," Helmer said. "Faith had a big breakthrough this weekend and was a part of a good overall performance from our team, leading into the Big Ten Championships."
Sherrill broke the IU record in the hammer throw with a huge improvement on her career mark. Her heave of 58.46m (191-9) was 13 feet and five inches better than her previous mark and 13 feet and four inches better than the previous IU record. The mark was the best in the Big Ten this season. Sherrill also took first in the discus with a heave of 46.50m (152-7). The award was the ninth earned by a Hoosier this season and is the second of Sherrill's career.
BIG TEN HONORS TWO MORE
Drouin cleared 2.22m (7-3.25) for the Penn Relay crown. He was 2.25 inches better than the rest of the field and matched his season mark. Drouin was able to clear bars on his first attempts despite a raucous and distracting crowd. Drouin is the second IU high jumper to win the Penn crown, joining Cal Boyd, who won in 1954 with a clearance of 6-7.
Pease won the 3,000m steeplechase championship with a time of 10:16.51. She was nearly two seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Pease's Penn Relays title is the first by a Hoosier since 2006. Pease's time is the sixth fastest in Penn Relays history. She was the first Hoosier to win the event at the Penn Relays and just the second Big Ten athlete to win the steeplechase at the meet.
BIG TEN HONORS THREE HOOSIERS
Bayer led a talented crop of Hoosier runners at the Stanford Invitational, placing third in the 5,000-meter run and crossing the finish line in 13:45.75. His effort is the fifth-best in IU history, behind only legends Bob Kennedy, Jim Spivey, Terry Brahm and Stephen Haas.
Coover kicked off the 2010 outdoor season by claiming top honors in the pole vault competition on the final day at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The La Jolla, Calif., native cleared 5.35m (17-6.5) to better the field by a foot and nearly six inches for the individual title. His clearance was just a centimeter off his outdoor career best.
The selection marked the first Big Ten Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week award for Coover since he collected his first weekly honor as a junior in April 2008. Coover has won four indoor weekly honors from the conference, including two in 2010, and his six career weekly honors are matched only by Kennedy in IU history. Kennedy garnered three honors in cross country and three during the indoor season.
Engel claimed top honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Alabama Relays on Saturday. The product of Indiana was the first to cross the line in a time of 10:46.67. The mark was the sixth-fastest in IU history. Engel closed out the weekend by contributing to Indiana's runner-up finish in the 4x1,500-meter relay with a time of 19:16.70. This is the first Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week award for Engel's career.
BIG TEN HONORS THREE... AGAIN
Bayer collected his second Big Ten Athlete of the Week award in 2010 after posting a winning time of 3:41.87 in the 1,500-meter open. The Leo, Ind., native bested the field by more than two seconds and owns the fifth-best time in Division I this season, and the 10th best time in school history in the event. After his victory in the 1500m, Bayer crossed the line first again in the 800-meter run at 1:50.70. Bayer came around the final turn in third-place and made a pass in the last 10 meters to win by 0.24 seconds. Overall, Bayer's two wins scored 10 points for the Hoosiers' cause.
Drouin posted 13 points for the Hoosiers, winning the high jump and 110m hurdles, while taking second in the javelin at the Border Battle. Drouin's clearance of 2.20m (7-2.5) was just two centimeters off his season high and bested the next closest competitor by a full inch. Drouin's clearance was 1.5 inches better than the closest jumper in Big Ten this season and also ranked sixth in the nation. Drouin also won the 110m hurdles in 14.45. It was a career best for Drouin and a .35 improvement on his career mark. The time was the fifth-best in the Big Ten this season. In the javelin, Drouin's heave of 51.29m (168-3) was just five inches shy from the winning toss.
Pease led the 3,000-meter steeplechase from the start and won in a school-record time of 10:05.67. The Indiana native finished nearly 40 seconds ahead of the field and owned the Big Ten's best time this season by the same margin. Her time also ranked fifth in Division I and seventh in the world this season, eclipsing her own school record by 0.35 seconds, which she set at the NCAA Championships last year. This was the first Big Ten Athlete of the Week award for the Hoosier junior.
BACK IN CRIMSON
Faith Sherrill redshirted during indoor and outdoor last season after a breakout campaign in 2008. Sherill picked up where she left off, as she advanced to the NCAA Regional in 2008.
Indiana's distance corps on the men's side took a hit in 2009, as six of the IU runners redshirted at least one season. Highlighting that group were redshirt freshmen Andy Bayer, Zach Mayhew and Nate Morrow and redshirt sophomores Andy Weatherford, Ben Hubers and Cole Hardacre. Bayer redshirted the indoor campaign and the three sophomores redshirted outdoors. The group helped lead Indiana to a successful cross country season that saw them enter the national rankings.
After an indoor campaign where he earned All-America honors and a Big Ten pole vault crown, Jeff Coover sat out the outdoor season to train. Coover finished fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2009.
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