Feb. 26, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's track and field team sits in third place with 31 team points after the first day of competition at the 2011 Big Ten Women's Indoor Championships, hosted by the Boilermakers at Lambert Fieldhouse on Saturday. Junior Leah Eber was crowned a Big Ten Champion, while four Boilermakers scored in the shot put to lead the way.
Eber became the fourth Boilermaker to win a Big Ten Indoor title in the last five years, winning the long jump in dramatic fashion with a career best mark of 6.27 meters (20-07.00). Eber was in second place going into her last jump, holding a top mark of just 5.97 meters (19-07.00), but overtook Minnesota's Todea-Kay Willis on the sixth and final attempt, breaking the Boilermakers' indoor record and the Lambert Fieldhouse record in the process. Freshman Nikki Nunn tacked on five more points in her first-career conference championship meet, taking fourth place with a leap of 5.85 meters (19-02.50).
Senior Stacey Wannemacher led a 16-point team effort in the shot put, taking third place with a top throw of 15.72 meters (51-07.00). Freshman Dani Bunch followed Wannemacher in fourth at 15.39 meters (50-06.00), while freshman Liberty Slinden and junior Terri Anderson finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Slinden set a new personal record with a toss of 15.00 meters (49-02.50), while Anderson threw 14.83 meters (48-08.00).
Boilermaker sophomores Kari Shoolbraid and Camille Buscomb advanced to the finals of tomorrow's track events as Shoolbraid earned a spot in the 800-meter run, while Buscomb moved on in the one-mile run. Shoolbraid posted the seventh-fastest qualifying time in the 800, finishing second in her heat with a time of 2:11.63, while Buscomb nabbed the ninth and final qualifying spot in the mile with her career-best time of 4:47.75. Freshman Ebony Woodard finished 0.08 seconds shy of the finals in the 400-meter dash, crossing the line in 56.20.
Indiana leads the team race after the first day with 46 points, followed by Minnesota in second with 29 points and the Boilermakers in third. Ohio State sits fourth overall with 25 points, but several athletes in tomorrow's track event finals.
Indiana's Faith Sherrill gave herself a great shot to repeat as the Big Ten Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, winning the shot put and setting a Big Ten Championship meet record with her throw of 17.73 meters (58-02.00). She led a 1-2 finish for the Hoosier in the event, leading teammate Monique Riddick who threw 16.27 meters (53-04.50).
Wisconsin's Dorcas Akinniyi defended her Big Ten pentathlon title, scoring 3,929 points on the day and besting the second-place competitor by more than 200 points. Minnesota's Samanatha Sonnenberg topped the pole vault with a clearance of 4.15 meters (13-07.25) as the Gophers picked up 16 points in the event. Emily MacLeod of Michigan State won an outstanding 3,000-meter race, edging out Iowa's Betsy Flood on the homestretch with a time of 9:22.83.
Michigan's distance medley relay squad of Danielle Tauro, Alisha Cole, Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith closed out the day with a dominant first-place finish and new Lambert Fieldhouse record, topping the competition in 11:17.34, the 15th fastest time in the nation.
Tomorrow's action begins at noon with the weight throw and triple jump, while action on the track begins at 1 p.m. with an unseeded section of the 5,000-meter run. Continue following the meet on Twitter and via live results at PurdueSports.com.