March 8, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Three Boilermakers competed on the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday. Jakob Engel was the top performer as he earned an eighth-place finish and one point for the Purdue men.
“I thought we did pretty well today,” throws coach Keith McBride said. “Jakob went out and took care of business. He was very consistent all day and that is what we needed him to do. It’s a great way for him to go out and he picked up an All-America certificate. Dani (Bunch) had a decent day as well. We hoped she could have made the finals, but she earned herself Second Team All-America.”
Engel had a strong day in the shot put. The senior opened with a throw of 18.45m (60-06.50). That was good for third in the second flight after one throw. After his second throw came up just short of his first, Engel needed his biggest throw of the meet in order to qualify for finals. He stepped up and launched a throw of 18.68m (61-03.50). That was far enough to qualify him for finals in seventh place, just a half inch farther than eighth and four inches farther than ninth.
Engel launched his first throw of finals 18.48m (60-07.50), a strong throw, though not his best of the competition. His next throw would be his best of the day. Engel threw 18.96m (62-02.50) which is the second-best throw of his career. That held on for eighth place which earned him a point for Purdue and likely All-America status. Jordan Clarke of Arizona State won the National Championship with a throw of 20.50m (67-03.25).
"I was really pleased with Jakob," said head coach Lonnie Green. "He scored and that's always a good thing. He had his best overall day of the year and that's all you can ask for at the highest level. I am really, really happy for him."
Dani Bunch also competed in a throwing event for the Boilermakers. Bunch qualified for the weight throw after having the fifth-best throw in the country. The junior started the competition with a throw of 19.21m (63-00.25). Bunch was able to improve that her mark to 19.68m (64-06.75) with her second attempt. Her third attempt was better still as she threw 19.78m (64-10.75). That was not quite far enough to get her into the finals and she finished 13th overall.
"I was really please with Dani as well," said Greene. "She battled a bit of stiffness and still threw as well as she did. She should be able to come back even stronger outdoors and next season, but I am still really pleased with the way she competed today."
Vanessa McLeod was the final Boilermaker in competition on Friday. The freshman competed in the 800m semifinals. McLeod battled from lane eight and was unable to make her way through the pack. Every time she tried to make a move, she was blocked and unable to gain ground. McLeod finished with a time of 2:11.59. That was good for 14th in the nation, though she did not qualify for Saturday’s finals.
"I thought Vanessa competed well today," Greene added. "I think she got caught up a little bit in the magnitude of the environment, but this was a great learning experience for her. This was a great opportunity for her to learn and we will keep working from here. She is going to be great for us and already making it to the national championship level is a great start. She and Dani are going to be big for us next year."
Purdue has two more competitors for Saturday’s competition. Chukwuebuka Enekwechi will be first with the men’s weight throw. That competition is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT. Geoff Davis will also compete. He is scheduled to compete in the high jump at 3:30 p.m.
"Chuk and Geoff compete for us tomorrow," said Greene. "I am really excited to see how tomorrow goes because I think we are going to come away from it with a great day. Geoff and Chuk have a great opportunity and I really believe they will take advantage of it and do big things."