Feb. 22, 2014
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Boilermakers finished their final tune-up on Saturday with the Alex Wilson Invitational. Purdue did exactly what it wanted to, as it added five times in the programs’ top five lists, including Devynne Charlton who broke the school record in the 200m dash.
“It’s coming together at the right time,” head coach Lonnie Greene said. “The meet served the purpose we intended as a staff. I thought we needed one more competition to set ourselves up for the Big Ten Championships, and we did exactly that. We ran well and competed well and I think we are ready for Big Tens next week.”
Charlton had a huge day on the track. The freshman opened with the 60m hurdles prelims where she ran a time of 8.45 seconds. That mark tied her personal best and was good for third and advanced her to the finals. In the finals, the Nassau, Bahamas, native ran the best race of her career, as she took second place with a time of 8.35 seconds. That time is the third-fastest in Purdue history, and she is the first Boilermaker to break 8.40 seconds since Ranay Harvey ran an 8.26 seconds time in 2009. Charlton competed in the 200m dash following the hurdles and set the Purdue standard. She ran a second-place time of 24.45 seconds. It was just the second time in her career that she competed in the 200m dash, and she broke her PR by 0.60 of a second. Her time broke the school record by 0.05 of a second, which was held by Krissy Liphardt from 2001. Charlton is one of just two Boilermakers to even crack the program’s top five in the event since 2001, joining Elise Glass’ 2011 time of 24.83 seconds. Glass’ mark is now sixth. Charlton’s hurdles time ranks fourth in the conference and 35th in the country. Her 200m time is 16th in the Big Ten.
“It’s great to have a freshman running as well as Devynne did today,” added Greene. “I believe she can run faster and be in the 8.20s for the hurdles, which will set her up perfectly for outdoors. She also took the school record in the 200m. We didn’t plan on her running in it, but she told me she wanted to because she could break the school record, and she did.”
Kari Shoolbraid continued her stellar senior year with another PR in the 800m. Shoolbraid ran a time of 2:06.90 to break her prior best by exactly one second. That time was puts her alone in second place in Purdue history in the event, behind teammate Vanessa McLeod. Shoolbraid finished seventh in the event and now ranks 26th in the country and fourth in the Big Ten.
Aarin Jones also had a personal best day in the women’s running events, with her PR coming in the 400m. Jones took fifth in the event with a time of 54.67 seconds, which is also the third-fastest time in program history. It is the fastest time by a Purdue woman since 1998 when Kendra Jones ran the program’s second-fastest mark, 54.63. Condra set the program record a week before Kendra Jones with a time 0.02 of a second faster.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi inched closer to the Purdue shot put record with a PR in the event. The sophomore won the event with a mark of 19.24m (63-01.50). That beat his previous best by 2.75 inches and moved his second-place mark in program history within two feet, three and a half inches of the school record held by Nedzad Mulabegovic from 2005. Enekwechi’s mark is third in the Big Ten and 14th in the country. Coy Blair also had a solid day in the event with a third place finish and distance of 18.26m (59-11.00).
Tyler Askew just missed the Purdue top five in the long jump. He finished second in the event with a mark of 7.60m (24-11.25). That distance is the second best in the Big Ten this year and 23rd in the country.
Dani Bunch had a solid day in the shot put. She won the event with a mark of 16.49m (54-01.25). The men’s 4x400m relay team had its best performance of the season. The men finished in 3:11.10, which is the sixth-best time in the Big Ten this year.
“I think this week set us up well for Big Tens,” said Greene. “Last year at the same time, we ran okay, but had a little bit of a confidence issue. Now, our kids have bought in and are racing with more confidence. When you start to see performances like this right before the conference meet, that tells you there is more in the tank. The goal is now to do it the right way and do it on the track. We need to execute the same way in prelims so we can be in the finals on championship day. Then, we need to get it done and score. If we can do that, we will be in great shape.”
The Boilermakers now prepare for next week’s Big Ten Championships. The conference meet is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.