March 23, 2013
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Nikki Nunn tied the NCAA's best mark in the long jump this season on the final day of the SEC-Big Ten Challenge. Nunn leapt 6.32m (20-9) which is also the third-best mark in Purdue outdoor history.
"Nikki is just dialed in," jumps coach Berry Shumpert said. "She has been battling all along and now she is starting to believe and put it all together. She is learning and getting some quality reps and that's making all the difference. It all started around the Virginia Tech meet in the indoor season. She started to realize what she is capable of. She is putting in the work and starting to see the results. We have always known she has it in her and she probably even has a bit more, to be honest, so it will be fun to watch the rest of the year."
Nunn had the most consistent and best competition day of her career. She opened with 6.01m (19-08.50). She then stepped up on her second attempt and leapt a then-career best 6.23m (20-05.25). Her third attempt went even farther as she posted a mark of 6.24m (20-05.75). On her final attempt, Nunn leapt her national leading and winning mark. That mark is also a meet and facility record, both of which were held by former Boilermaker Leah Eber.
"Nikki has been coming along quite well," head coach Lonnie Greene said. "She had a great series today. You couldn't ask for a more consistent series from her. Any time you have someone enter a top-five list in program history, it's exciting. When that mark leads the country, it speaks volumes to the work she and Coach Shumpert have put in. A performance like that could possibly get you in the national championship meet. I am very proud of the way she competed."
Andrew Kendrick set an outdoor personal record in the 400m dash. Kendrick won the event by 0.62 second with a time of 47.84 seconds. That broke his previous best, set earlier this season, by 0.46 second. Mario Cosey ran his second-fastest official 200m time of his career. Cosey posted a mark of 21.51 seconds to finish third in the event. That time is just 0.1 second off his career best.
Andre' Peart set a personal best and won the 400m hurdles. Peart finished with a mark of 52.82 seconds which is the 25th-fastest time in the country this season. Brandon Winters also had a solid afternoon. The junior finished third in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.22 seconds which broke the previous meet record by .09 second.
The men's 4x400m relay team took second place overall in the event. The team ran a time of 3:12.70 which is faster than any time that Purdue relays ran a year ago. It is also nearly five seconds faster than Purdue relays opened with last season.
Coy Blair picked up a first place finish in the shot put. The freshman set a new outdoor best with a throw of 18.21m (59-9). That mark is currently eighth-best in the country and second in the Big Ten behind only teammate Jakob Engel who threw 18.69m (61-4) last weekend.
On the women's side, Megan Plenus had a personal best as she won the 800m race. Plenus took first with a time of 2:11.97. Bre'Anna Smith was just behind her as she finished runner-up. Smith finished with a time of 2:12.57. Ciana Tabb also had a personal best on the day. She finished second in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.74 seconds. That time beat her career best by .01 second which she set last year at the Big Ten Championships. Her time is currently the 24th-best mark in the country. Ivana Vukomanovic tied her outdoor best in the high jump. She won the event after clearing 1.65m (5-5).
"At the end of the day, we did a very solid job and I was pleased," said Greene. "It's a work in progress right now, but we will get there. We had a number of PRs including Andre' Peart in the 400m hurdles and Ciana Tabb who ran a lifetime best in the 100m hurdles. I believe that these are indicators of what is to come for our program and that makes me excited. We haven't been able to practice outside as a team much because of the weather so we got some work in this weekend and we will get better as the year goes on."
The SEC won the challenge on both the men's and women's sides. The men's score was 287-264 while the women's final tally was 360-217.
Purdue will be back in action as it hosts the Mike Poehlein Invitational next weekend. The two day meet will take place at the Rankin Track and Field on Friday and Saturday.