May 2, 2014
By Tom Schott
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Both Purdue tennis teams are NCAA Tournament-bound.
The men (15-7), ranked 40th in the country, earned their first postseason berth since 2002 and the sixth in program history. The Boilermakers, under fifth-year head coach Pawel Gajdzik, will face No. 16 Clemson (20-8) at noon May 9 in Lexington, Ky. Host Kentucky will take on Denver in the other first-round match at that site, with the winners to square off Saturday.
Purdue previously has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002. In their 2002 appearance while playing in South Bend, Ind., the Boilermakers opened with a 4-1 win over Ball State and then suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, the women (12-10), ranked 39th nationally, earned their third straight postseason berth and the seventh in program history. The Boilermakers, under seventh-year head coach Laura Glitz, will take on No. 20 Georgia Tech (13-9) at noon May 9 in Nashville, Tenn. Host Vanderbilt faces Murray State in the other first-round match at that site, with the winners to meet Saturday.
Purdue previously has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 1996, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013. A year ago, the Boilermakers beat No. 34 South Carolina 4-3 in the first round before falling to host and sixth-ranked Miami (Fla.) 4-0 in the second round.
Kan Selected, Honored
It has been quite a week for junior golfer Aurora Kan.
On Monday, Kan was selected as one of two individuals to play in the NCAA Central Regional Championships, which are scheduled for May 8 to 10 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. Then on Tuesday, Kan was named first team All-Big Ten on the heels of her 18th-place tie at the Big Ten Championships.
Kan has had a solid season, winning three tournaments with five top-10 showings and nine top-20 performances. She averages 74.2 strokes per round, including four rounds of par or better, and posted a career-best score of 68 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in February.
The Boilermakers now have had at least one first team all-conference honoree for 18 straight seasons.
Bunch Does It Again
Senior Dani Bunch has repeated as the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week.
Last weekend at the Drake Relays, Bunch set the Purdue shot put record with a mark of 17.6 meters (56-3.75) that won the event and is the best in the Big Ten this season. That effort ranks seventh in the country this year. Bunch also had a personal best in the hammer throw, finishing third at 58.36 meters (191-6). That marks ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 48th nationally.
Prior to last week, Bunch had never won an outdoor conference weekly award. She is the first Big Ten female athlete to win back-to-back conference field athlete of the week honors since Aja Evans of Illinois won three in a row in 2010.
Bunch is a seven-time winner of the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week Award over the course of her indoor career.
More Track and Field Stuff
After a successful showing at the Drake Relays, the men's track and field team achieved an all-time program best in-season national ranking at No. 29. The women's squad moved up 23 spots to No. 43, its best since 2009.
The Boilermakers broke seven school records at the Drake Relays. They currently have 13 marks that rank in the top 25 in the country this season. Twenty individuals on the current roster own school-best marks, indoors and outdoors.
Both teams are home this weekend for the Dave Rankin Invite at Lambert Track and Field. The hammer throw gets action under way at 3 this afternoon, with the rest of the events contested tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m.
Also tomorrow, Purdue will host a Community Mile, where entrants in three divisions - youth at 11 a.m., college students at 11:20 a.m. and adults at 11:40 a.m. - will run a mile around Rankin Track. The entry fee is $5 for adults and $2 for college students and youth and includes a participation prize, breakfast and drinks, and a ticket to the Rankin Invite.
Softball Wraps Up Regular Season at Home
The softball team (25-25-1, 12-8 B1G) wraps up the regular season with a three-game series against No. 12 Minnesota (36-8, 14-5) at the Boilermaker Softball Complex. The Boilermakers and Golden Gophers play today at 4 p.m., tomorrow at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
In the Big Ten standings, Minnesota is in third place, while Purdue is fifth. All 12 schools make the Big Ten Tournament, set for May 8 to 11 in Evanston, Ill., with the top four teams earning a first-round bye.
Purdue has won five of its seven Big Ten series and split a sixth.
Prior to Sunday's game - the last at the Boilermaker Softball Complex before the team moves into its new stadium in 2015 - Purdue will honor its seven seniors: Tori Chiodo, Danielle Fletcher, Lauren Grant, Maia Monchek, MaryBeth Pavlick, Lindsey Rains and Andie Varsho.
Boilermakers Closing in on Governors' Cup Title
With four sports still to meet - and four points to be awarded - Purdue is closing in on winning the Governor's Cup title, its head-to-head competition against intrastate rival Indiana.
The Boilermakers currently lead 9-7.
Two points will be awarded this weekend, as the baseball teams square off in a three-game series in Bloomington and the men's golf squads compete at the Big Ten Championships on the 7,152-yard, par-72 Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in southern Indiana.
The Purdue golf squad is ranked 43rd nationally and third among Big Ten teams behind Illinois (9th) and Iowa (35th). In head-to-head action, the Boilermakers are 12-8-3 against Big Ten competition, facing 10 of the 11 other schools (all but Nebraska).
Purdue and Indiana have not played one another in baseball since May 26, 2012, when the Boilermakers defeated the Hoosiers 6-5 in Columbus, Ohio, to win their first-ever Big Ten Tournament championship. Purdue is travelling to Bloomington for the first time since 2010.
The final two points of the Governor's Cup competition will be up for grabs from May 16 to 18 at the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which are being hosted by Purdue.
Purdue last won the Governor's Cup in 2006-07, when it was known as the Crimson & Gold Cup. The schools tied in 2007-08 and 2009-10.
Outfielder Andie Varsho has been named to the Academic All-District V team and now is eligible for Academic All-America honors. The organizational leadership and supervision major is a three-time Academic-All Big Ten and two-time academic all-district selection and was third team Academic All-America a year ago. Academic All-America teams will be announced on May 22 ... The men's basketball team will play host to N.C. State in next season's ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game is set for Dec. 2 ... The 2014 Boilermaker Coaches Caravan is under way, with the next stop Elkhart, Ind., on May 8, followed by Merrillville, Ind., on May 15 ... Congratulations to athletics turf crew chief Brian Bornino and his wife, Andrea, on the birth of their daughter, Briar Noelle, early this morning.