Feb. 20, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's and women's track and field teams posted a banner day at the Boilermaker Invitational, posting several NCAA qualifying marks, including senior Brianna Neumann's outstanding effort in the women's pole vault. Neumann tied the school and fieldhouse record on Saturday, clearing the NCAA automatic standard of 4.25 meters (13-11.25).
Neumann cleared her fifth personal record of the season in her record-tying height on Saturday, needing all three jumps to match the national standard. The jump ties Ebbie Metzinger's Purdue indoor record from Feb. 2, 2002, and NCAA Division I national leader Kylie Hutson's Lambert Fieldhouse record from Jan. 23 of this season's Gene Edmonds Cup. Neumann is the 12th athlete to clear the NCAA automatic standard this season, joining Hutson and Big Ten leader Alicia Rue of Minnesota as confirmed qualifiers for the NCAA Indoor Championships, scheduled for Mar. 12-13 at the University of Arkansas.
Senior classmate Eric Sparks led a group of three NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the men's pole vault, clearing an indoor career best 5.35 meters (17-06.50) to improve his Big Ten and NCAA standing and vastly improve his chances of qualifying for the national indoor championships. Sparks now ranks second in the Big Ten this season, and matched the No. 12 mark in the country with just two meets left before the national meet. Junior Chris Thoman and freshman Mitch Erickson both cleared the NCAA provisional standard of 5.20 meters (17-00.75) on the day, setting an indoor career best for Thoman and a career-best mark for Erickson, as well as tying them for fifth in the conference this season.
Junior Bill Hardcastle added his name to the Boilermakers' NCAA qualifier list as well on Saturday, tossing a season-best and indoor personal record 18.00 meters (59-00.75) to win the men's shot put, and improve to sixth in the Big Ten this season. Other top marks in the men's throws came from junior Connor McCulley, sophomore Ben Schnepp and freshman Jakob Engel who scored personal records on the day. McCulley hurled a career- and team-best mark of 18.02 meters (59-01.50) in the weight throw, Schnepp launched a weight-throw mark of 17.42 meters (57-02.00) and Engel posted a career-best toss of 16.66 meters (54-08.00).
Junior Stacey Wannemacher
was unable to exceed her season bests in the women's weight throw and shot put, but still surpassed the NCAA provisional standards in both events. She was second overall and the top collegiate finisher in both events as well, tossing 18.81 meters (61-08.50) in the weight throw and 15.76 meters (51-08.50) in the shot put.
Junior Chris Kirtz bounced a career best 7.32 meters (24-00.50) to win the men's long jump, moving up a spot to fourth on the Big Ten leaderboard this season, and inching closer to the NCAA provisional standard of 7.50 meters (24-07.25). Sophomore Mike Willey was very impressive on the day, clocking personal records in the 200-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles. His time of 21.79 topped the 200-meter dash field and, after conversion, is good for fifth fastest in the Big Ten. He improved his career best in the hurdles by a full tenth of a second, finishing in 8.12 seconds for third place. Junior teammate Josh Hembrough was the top collegiate finisher in the men's 60-meter hurdles, running a time of 7.97 seconds in the finals.
The Boilermakers saw personal records in both the men's and women's mile runs as Ladd Mercer edged out his season and collegiate best with a time of 4:11.11 to win the men's race, while Phillips was second in the women's contest with a career-best time of 4:54.48. Senior Nan Hammel and sophomore Elise Glass also turned in personal records as Hammel crossed the line in 1:33.87 to win the 600-meter run, while Glass finished the 400-meter dash in 57.44.
The Purdue squads split next weekend for the Big Ten Indoor Championships as the women travel to Penn State University, while the men head to the University of Minnesota. A preview for both events will be available this week at PurdueSports.com.