Jan. 12, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - It was the closest finish in Purdue/IU Dual history on the women's side and though the Boilermakers came up just short, they competed to the end and made their presence known. The Indiana women won 69-67 while the Hoosier men topped Purdue 80-52.
"It was a battle to the end," head coach Lonnie Greene said after the meet. "At the end of the day, I was very please. This team got blown out in the same meet last year. That wasn't the case today. The intensity was high like I expected and we competed really well. This is something we can build off and I am excited for the future of this program."
The 69-67 score comes just one year after the Hoosier women won 97-39, a total of 56 points closer in just one season. That tough competitiveness is not a fluke, either.
"This meet confirms everything we thought," said Greene. "The improvement we got out of our upperclassmen is outstanding and I am just as proud of our freshmen. For Aarin Jones to break a meet record in her first collegiate race and for Vanessa McLeod to race as tough as she did to the finish, I am very pleased."
Jones won the women's 400m dash with a time of 56.28 seconds. That time bested the meet record set by Purdue's Taylor Morrison last year by 0.02 second. McLeod finished second in the 600m run. The freshman from Ontario posted a time of 1:33.37 which left her just 0.26 second behind the winner, Samantha Gwin of Indiana.
On the men's side, though the Boilermakers came up short, they also made solid improvement from 2012. Last year Purdue was defeated 88-46, compared to this year's 80-52 loss, 14 points closer. The team's efforts were aided by a deep throws squad as well as tough group of upperclassmen who set a number of personal records as well as meet records.
"Most of our scoring at the Big Ten and national level is going to come from our throwers," added Greene. "They are one of the toughest throws groups in country and I fully expect to see a number of them qualify for the NCAA Championships. We just need to make sure they stay healthy and if they do, they will be a fun group to watch. I am very pleased with how they competed."
The men's throwers took the top four spots in the weight throw and the shot put. Jakob Engel shattered the meet record in the shot put. The senior threw a distance of 18.16m (59-07.00) on his fifth throw. That distance cleared Purdue's Bill Hardcastle's mark of 17.95m (58-10.75) by 8.25 inches from 2011. Engel's throw also puts him in seventh in the nation this season. Coy Blair also impressed with his first career throw as a Boilermaker. The freshman threw 17.60m (57-09.00) on his first attempt. The youngster had a little trouble keeping his throws fair from that point on as only one more counted, but the rookie made a bit of noise with his second place finish.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi also made a splash in his first official meet for Purdue. The redshirt freshman threw 17.52m (57-05.75) on his first throw which held up for third place and one point for the Boilermakers. Jordan Roos, fresh off his first season on the Purdue football team, claimed the fourth place spot in the event with a throw of 16.15m (53-00.00).
Enekwechi just missed the meet record with his first place performance in the weight throw. The redshirt freshman threw a distance of 19.39m (63-07.50) on his first attempt which was just 1.75 inches off the record of 19.44m (63-09.25) set by Patrick Onye of Indiana in 2010. Blair picked up three points for the Old Gold and Black with a throw of 18.16m (59-07.00). Engel finished third with a distance of 17.32m (56-10.00) while Eric Dean placed fourth with a mark of 16.91m (55-05.75).
Dani Bunch, the two-time defending Big Ten Indoor Champion in the weight throw and conferene runner-up in the indoor shot put a year ago, picked up 10 points of her own in the two events. Bunch threw a distance of 16.39m (53-09.25) in the shot put to win by almost eight feet. That distance puts her in 10th in the nation for this season's best. Bunch tied the meet record in the weight throw, a record she set a year ago, by throwing 19.46m (63-10.25). That distance gave her the first place finish by five feet, seven and a quarter inches.
Geoff Davis came up huge in the high jump. Last year's conference runner-up started his senior season by clearing 2.20m (7-02.50). Davis was able to clear the bar on his second attempt at that height. The senior's jump puts him in a fifth place tie in the nation for highest jump.
The Boilermakers had several other outstanding performances including one by Brandon Winters. Winters broke the meet record in the 60m high hurdles with a time of 8.00 seconds to give him the first place finish. Eric Harris had a great Purdue debut as he won two races. The transfer won the 200m dash after running a time of 21.62 seconds. Harris also took the top spot in the 60m dash with a time of 6.93 seconds.
"Overall I am very pleased with the way we competed," Greene stated proudly. "We still have some of our top kids to add to the lineup. When we can put our best team out there, we are going to have something that I am very excited about. We put ourselves in position to not only compete, but even win today on the women's side and that is all you can ask for."
The Boilermakers will open their home schedule on Saturday, Jan. 19th at the annual Gene Edmonds Cup. The event will take place inside Lambert Fieldhouse on Purdue's campus.