Feb. 2, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Purdue men’s and women’s track and field teams wrapped up the Meyo Invite on Satuday at the University of Notre Dame. The Boilermakers had strong performances in the 60m hurdles and the shot put, among others.
"When your kids perform at this level, a level that they never got to last year, that is a positive," head coach Lonnie Greene said. "We are still three and four weeks away from the Big Ten and NCAA Championships. That is positive. That is movement in the right direction. I told them that by week four we needed to see movement or else we might not have it. We have movement. I am seeing great things out of these kids and the rest of the conference is seeing it from us too."
Dani Bunch finished third in the shot put. Bunch opened well with a throw of 16.20m (53-01.75). She ended the event with a distance of 16.46m (54-00.00). That mark would place 15th in the nation, though Bunch already has the country’s 12th best throw with a distance of 16.70 (54-09.50). Felisha Johnson of Indiana State took first with a mark of 17.00m (55-06.25). In the men’s event, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi and Coy Blair took second and third, respectively. Enekwechi threw 17.51m (57-05.50) while Blair finished with 17.46m (57-03.50). The winning distance was 18.15m (59-06.75) by Zach Coniglio of Sacramento State.
Aarin Jones had a huge day in the 400m dash. The freshman ran a personal best time of 55.68 seconds to finish seventh overall. Jones’ time is just .17 seconds outside the top five in all-time Purdue history. Taylor Morrison also had a good performance in the same event. Morrison finished in 13th with a season best time of 56.36 seconds.
The 60m hurdles was a bright spot for the Boilermakers on the men’s and women’s sides. Ciana Tabb finished sixth overall in the finals after advancing through the prelims and semis. Tabb ran a time of 8.55 seconds which ties the second best time of her career. Her best came in the semifinals when she ran a time of 8.53. Brandon Winters flashed his wheels on the men’s side. Winters took second place overall with a time of 7.95 seconds. That time was just .04 second behind his semifinal time and .07 seconds behind his personal best.
Kevin Griffith took 10th in the 800m run. Griffith finished with a time of 1:51.42 which is a season best for him. That time is just .54 seconds behind his personal best time which he set at the Tyson Invitational last season. Eric Harris took fourth place in the 200m dash. Harris finished with a time of 21.68 seconds. The winning time in the event was 21.37 seconds by Timothy Faust of Ohio State.
Samantha Walkow ran her best indoor 3,000-meter race as a Boilermaker. Walkow finished 12th overall with a time of 9:38.67. Her previous best in a Purdue uniform was 9:59.61. Kelly McCurdy finished in 16th in the same event. McCurdy ran a time of 9:43.52. That bests her season-best time which was 10:01.19, though her personal best is just more than 10 seconds faster that her 16th place time.
The relay teams also ran really well on Saturday. The men's 4x400m relay team finished seventh overall with a time of 3:12.91. The team of Mario Cosey, Nicholas Parks, Andre' Peart, and Andrew Kendrick's time is almost two seconds better than the best relay time the Boilermakers had a year ago. On the women's side, the team of Morrison, Jones, Tabb, and Bre'Anna Smith ran a sixth place time of 3:45.87. That time is just behind Purdue's best from last season.
"Last year, we ran 3:14," said Greene. "Today we ran 3:12. I believe they have 3:10 to 3:08 in them. As a coach, seeing PRs after kids already put their names on a list of the school's best is awesome. These kids are beginning to believe in Purdue track and field and the goals we have set in place. Give us the time," Greene said as he fought back proud emotions for his teams. "Give us the time and we will be something special."
The Boilermakers return to action next weekend when the team travels to Geneva, Ohio to compete in the SPIRE NCAA Division 1 Indoor Invite. The meet will be held at the same location as the Big Ten Indoor Championships which will take place two weeks later.