Feb. 1, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Purdue track and field team wrapped up the first day of the Meyo Invitational on Friday and a number of Boilermakers moved up the all-time program list. Chukwuebuka Enekwechi made the biggest splash as he moved into fifth place all-time in Purdue lore in the weight throw.
"For the day, I thought the kids did very well," head coach Lonnie Greene said. "We had a number of personal bests as well as kids move up the top five lists in school history. When you have a day like that and you are making a splash on the national stage, it's a pretty good day. I am pretty excited about where we are going. I think we have some big things on tap for tomorrow and that's the goal. Always be better the next day."
Enekwechi struggled to start the men's weight throw as he fouled his first two attempts. The freshman regained his composure with the third throw and tossed a distance of 18.59m (61-00.00) which was enough to advance him to the finals. There, Enekwechi stepped it up. He threw 19.98m (65-06.50) with her first throw. After fouling his second attempt, Enekwechi threw the fifth-best mark in school history, 20.37m (66-10.00), which is currently the eighth-best in the nation and fourth in the Big Ten. He moved above Will Barr of Penn State. Enekwechi finished second in the event behind the new national leader, Brandon Pounds of Indiana State who threw 22.55m (73-11.75).
Dani Bunch had a pretty good day in the weight throw on the women's side. Bunch improved with every throw she took other than one. Bunch finished with a mark of 20.72m (67-11.75). That mark would be seventh in the nation, though she already holds the fifth-best distance. Felisha Johnson of Indiana State, the national leader, was the only competitor to finish ahead of Bunch as she beat her by three and a half inches. Bunch's mark was a meet record, though Johnson's new mark is the current meet record.
"Dani was great today," said Greene. "When you have an individual set a meet record and throw a top 10 throw nationally and not have it be a PR, you're in pretty good shape. I know she is going to keep working and keep getting better so when it counts the most, she'll have her best."
Ciana Tabb had a big day in the 60m hurdles. Tabb ran a time of 8.56 seconds in the prelims, her second-best, which put her into the semifinals. There, Tabb ran a personal best of 8.53 seconds to finish sixth in the semifinals. That time improves upon her fourth-best mark in school history. She is now just .06 seconds behind Krissy Liphardt's mark from 2001. Tabb will run in the finals on Saturday.
Brandon Winters and Andre' Peart had excellent prelims in the men's 60m hurdles. Winters was third in the prelim with a time of 7.99 seconds. Peart ran 8.17 seconds which also advanced him to the semifinals. In the semis, Winters finished second with a time of 7.91 seconds. That time is .03 off his personal best he set earlier this season. Peart also ran a personal best. He finished in 8.12 seconds. Byron Ferrell took the top spot in the pole vault. He tied his personal best after clearing 4.95m (16-03.00) on his first attempt.
Caleb Kerr had a strong performance in the men's 5,000-meter run. The freshman took fourth place overall with a time of 14:28.55. That time is currently 27th-best in the country, though that place is likely to change, and a personal best by nearly a minute. Aarin Jones ran a great race on the day. Jones finished third with a time of 1:13.88 in the rarely seen 500-meter. That time is considered a school-record, though records were only recently kept. Autumn Beachy also had a personal record in the 5k. She finished third in her flight. Haley Goers also ran a personal best time.
"I want to mention all of our outstanding performances today," said Greene afterwards. "From Aarin Jones, Ciana Tabb, Byron Ferrell, Autumn Beachy, Andre' Peart, Brandon Winters, Chuk Enekwechi, Dani Bunch, Caleb Kerr, Haley Goers, and everyone else that competed today, they were great. We need to keep getting better, but we are moving in the right direction."
Action picks up on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET inside the Loftus Sport Complex. Full coverage including a live, interactive blog will be available on PurdueSports.com on the track and field page.