Sacramento, Calif. Indiana seniors Danielle Carruthers and Rachelle Boone closed their collegiate careers in fine fashion Saturday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hornet Stadium. Carruthers earned the ninth All-American honor of her career when she finished second in the 100m hurdles (12.89) for the second time in three seasons. Boone posted her third top five finish of the meet when she placed fourth in the 200m at 23.17.
On Friday night, Boone and Carruthers teamed with Rose Richmond and Ara Towns for a fifth place finish in the 4x100m relay in a school-record 43.57, and Boone also took third in the 100m. Combine these finishes with Ira Kharuns NCAA meet record throw in the javelin (202-10), and the Hoosiers have five top five individual national finishes for the first time in school history.
What more could we ask for, Indiana womens coach Randy Heisler said. We should finish among the top 10, but thats irrelevant. Every kid we brought here performed one way or another.
Indeed, Saturday nights meet was bittersweet for Carruthers, Boone, Kharun, Richmond and the Indiana coaching staff. Heisler points to this senior quartet, especially Carruthers and Boone, as the driving force behind the resurgence of Hoosier track and field.
I told Danielle that had she competed in another four-year period, she may never have lost a race, Heisler said. But she happens to be the same age as two of the other top hurdlers in the country (Illinois Perdita Felicien and LSUs Lolo Jones). Danielle has just been incredible for our program, she has done so much.
Although track and field is widely perceived as a team sport, Heisler says Boone has been the consummate team player.
Rachelle is a great example of a kid who walks in the door and works hard every day and believes in what the coaches and program are about, Heisler said. Early on, we used her in every event we could because of her talent, and she has evolved into one of the top 100m and 200m sprinters in the nation.
Heisler also credits assistant coach Ed Beathea, who works with IUs sprinters.
Ed has developed right along with these girls, Heisler said. He has them hungry and focused for every race.
Boone eagerly anticipated the 200m final.
I feel blessed just to have been in the 200, because I have never qualified for that final at the outdoor nationals, she said. I am very satisfied with how I did, because it has been a long week with a lot of races. I look at it all as a good learning experience.
Carruthers had the same methodical approach to her race.
I have had to make adjustments all season, because I still have not gotten to the point where I feel I can go all out the entire (100m hurdle) race, she said. Ive had better starts (to races than she had Saturday night). 12.89 is great, but I want to run a lot faster. Id like to go 12.7 next week (at the USA Track and Field Championships in Palo Alto, Calif.). And with the competition that will be there, Ill need to go that fast.
Ask Boone and Carruthers to summarize their respective illustrious college careers, and both immediately smile.
I came back from a huge injury (torn ACL as a freshman in 1999) to become a national caliber sprinter and hurdler, she said. Its been a struggle at times, Ive had to pick myself up a lot. But that has also made me a better person. I wouldnt take anything back.
Boone has one important piece of advice for current and future Hoosier athletes.
It has truly been a blessing. I am going to miss Indiana my teammates and coaches, Boone said. I would tell people to trust the program and work to stay healthy, and everything will work itself out.