Destination Des Moines: NCAAs Await
June 6, 2011
The collegiate season comes to a close this weekend for Indiana track and field at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake Stadium, which plays host to the Drake Relays each year, is the site of the three day meet. The Hoosiers are taking a group of 13 competitors to the national meet with eleven qualified entries.
Representing IU this weekend are five women and eight men. Faith Sherrill enters the shot put as the third seed, and she'll be joined in competition by teammate Monique Riddick. In the pole vault, IU has third seed Vera Neuenswander and ninth seed Kelsie Ahbe, who are the first duo of female pole vaulters to qualify for the meet in IU history. Sarah Pease heads to NCAAs in the 3,000m steeplechase after taking fourth at the meet in 2010.
On the men's side, IU sends four distance runners and a 4x100m relay. The relay is made up of Tyler Sult, Kind Butler, Chris Vaughn and Devin Pipkin, which is a group that now owns four of the top five times in IU history in the event. IU has an impressive three entries in the 3,000m steeplechase, with De'Sean Turner, Andrew Poore and Andy Weatherford looking to build on a 1-2-4 finish at Big Tens. Ben Hubers and Poore are in the field for the 5,000 meters for the second-straight outdoor season and third third-straight NCAA meet including the 2011 indoor meet. Both will look to earn their first All-America certificate at the distance.
LAST TIME OUT
Tyler Sult, Kind Butler, Chris Vaughn and Devin Pipkin provided a lot of excitement for the home crowd, running their best time of the season to win their heat of the 4x100 in 39.68. The times is just .06 off the school record. With the win, they earned an automatic spot in the national meet.
Ben Hubers and Andrew Poore took fourth and fifth in their heat of the 5,000 meters to earn automatic bids to Des Moines. Hubers finished in 14:08.30 and Poore in 14:09.37 to advance to the NCAA Outdoor meet for the second straight year in the event.
Vera Neuenswander cleared 3.85m (12-7.5) and 4.00m (13-1.5) without any misses to tie for the lead. Kelsie Ahbe returns to the outdoor national meet for the second-straight year, having cleared 4.00m as well.
In the steeplechase, Sarah Pease took third in her heat to qualify, clocking a time of 10:09.14. In the first of three heats, Poore clocked a time of 8:51.32 for second and an auto spot. In the second heat, Andy Weatherford clocked a time of 8:46.62, which was fast enough to advance. The third heat went to De'Sean Turner in 8:39.40.
Faith Sherrill bettered the whole field in the shot put with a heave of 17.51m (57-5.5), which was a foot and seven inches better than her closest competitor. Monique Riddick took 12th for the final qualifying spot. Her throw of 16.24m (53-3.5) was a foot and six inches ahead of 13th place.
THE 9-SWANDER OF THE WORLD
She is headed back to the NCAA meet, looking to get back to the form that saw her take a runner-up finish in 2009. She'll be joined by sophomore Kelsie Ahbe at nationals, as the two Hoosiers are the first pair of IU women ever to qualify for NCAAs in the pole vault in the same season.
Neuenswander cleared 4.36m (14-3.5) at the Big Ten meet to tie the all-time Big Ten outdoor record, to break the conference meet record by a centimeter, and increase her own IU record by five centimeters. With the win, she completed a "bookend" career, winning as a true freshman and as a fifth-year senior.
Ahbe completed a 1-2 sweep in the pole vault at Big Tens, clearing 4.26m (13-11.75) for a runner-up finish. Ahbe advances to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second straight year.
INTRODUCING THE "SWEEPLECHASE"
Pease ran to victory in 10:15.05. She was less than three seconds off her season best time of 10:12.38, which puts her sixth in the East this season. Caitlin Engel stormed home to take third in 10:21.89 and Breanne Ehrman was fourth.
Turner clocked a time of 8:42.09 for his win. Andrew Poore was right behind as the duo went 1-2 in the event for the second-straight season. Poore finished in a time of 8:43.45, and Andy Weatherford took a fourth-place finish in 8:47.99.
Pease, Turner, Weatherford and Poore all advanced through the NCAA East Preliminary and will look to further IU's dominance in the event this season. Pease took third in her heat to qualify, clocking a time of 10:09.14. In the first of three heats, Poore clocked a time of 8:51.32 for second and an auto spot. In the second heat, Weatherford clocked a time of 8:46.62, which was fast enough to advance. The third heat went to Turner in 8:39.40.
THROWERS HAVE GOT A SHOT
Sherrill's throw is the eighth-best in the 117-year history of the meet. With her school record, she moves into second on the NCAA descending order list this season and leads the Big Ten by more than four feet. The school record is her fourth, completing a set that includes the indoor and outdoor shot put records, the indoor weight throw record and the outdoor hammer throw mark. She collected Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors for the performance.
Sherrill heads to Des Moines seeded third after dominating at the NCAA East Prelims and will be joined by teammate Monique Riddick, just as she was during the indoor season. Sherrill will look to improve on fourth-place indoors, and Riddick will look to finish in the points for the first time since arriving at IU.
FOUR BY ONE GETS IT DONE
At the NCAA East Preliminary Round, the Hoosiers showed they aren't just a flash in the pan. IU cruised to a win in the second of three heats, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA meet and once again showing the schools down south that they are for real.
Tyler Sult, Kind Butler, Chris Vaughn and Devin Pipkin have run in that order at every meet this season and they've recorded four of the top five times in IU history, including three trips under 40 seconds. The quartet's time at the regional of 39.68 is just .04 off the IU record. The group is IU's first 4x100 to qualify for NCAA's since 1992 and will look to be IU's first to score at nationals since 1972.
At the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Meet, the pair ran in the 5K, and both narrowly missed out on All-America honors. At the 2011 indoor meet, the pair ran the two fastest times in IU history, and they finished in the fastest times ever to not score at NCAAs. This season they'll do it again but hopefully with points and All-America certificates to show for it.
Hubers and Poore both earned auto qualifying spots with top five finishes at the meet. Hubers has a season best of 13:38.35, which ranks sixth in IU history. Poore has yet to really go after a race this season, but at the indoor national meet, Poore clocked an IU record of 13:37.03, and Hubers finished the same race in 13:40.73.
DROUIN, BAYER AMONG OUTDOOR REDSHIRTS
Drouin sustained a foot injury while competing in the high jump at the Big Ten/SEC Challenge. The injury will require surgery and will cause Drouin to sit out the 2011 outdoor season. While recovery and rehab will take time, Indiana's medical staff expects Drouin to make a complete recovery. Drouin will seek a medical hardship redshirt for this outdoor season and return to competition once his rehab is complete.
The junior from Corunna, Ontario, won his third NCAA title in the high jump, and his second-straight indoors on March 12, clearing a Canadian-record tying 7-7.75. His jump broke the all-time Big Ten record as well and earned him National Field Athlete of the Year honors. Drouin won his fourth Big Ten high jump crown as well, tying his own Big Ten meet record in the process, en route to Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year honors as well. Drouin's meet-best at NCAAs moved him into a tie for third indoors all-time in the collegiate ranks. Drouin was also named to the watch list for "The Bowerman," the top prize in collegiate track and field.
The Hoosiers will also be without middle distance specialists Joe Holahan and Ashley Baker, who both scored at the Big Ten Indoor meet in the 800m, pole vaulter Stefano Koufidis, and distance runner Arianne Raby as they will all redshirt outdoors.
FOLLOW IU WITH SOCIAL MEDIA!
Weekly Youtube videos, previews, recaps, photo galleries, results and much, much more will be available all season long. You can get updates on your mobile device or computer via Twitter by following Johnson at twitter.com/KJatIU or via Facebook at facebook.com/IUTrackXC.
Check back soon