March 29, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - Purdue track and field standouts Astin Steward and Ben Harpenau wasted little time in notching NCAA Regional qualifying marks for the 2008 outdoor season, both surpassing the standard in the hammer throw at the Arizona State Invitational on Friday night. Steward came up just short of her school record in the event, while Harpenau posted a new career best.
Steward eclipsed the regional standard and qualified for the finals with her second throw of the day, marking 58.69 meters (192-07). However, she blew past that toss in the finals, hurling the hammer 60.03 meters (196-11) to take home fourth place overall. Her mark is more than four meters better than her throw a year ago in Tempe, and is just 1.76 meters shy of her school record. Sophomore teammate Stacey Wannemacher was solid as well, placing eighth with a throw of 48.17 meters (158-00).
On the men's side, Harpenau smashed his previous career-best mark in the hammer throw on his second attempt, flinging it 61.00 meters (200-01) to move on to the finals. He nudged his personal record a little further in the finals, finishing with the bronze medal and a mark of 61.35 meters (201-03). He remains just over a meter out of the all-time top-five at Purdue, but improved his performance from last year's ASU Invitational by nearly five meters.
Senior Tyler Miller cracked his career best in the hammer throw as well, tossing it 55.22 meters (181-02), which is just less than three meters more than the mark he set a year ago. Rookie Billy Hardcastle was the next Boilermaker finisher, marking 52.58 meters (172-06, while junior Bryce Simon tossed the hammer 50.02 meters (164-01).
Competition resumes tomorrow at 10 a.m. (MST) with the women's discus throw. Running events kick off at 5:30 p.m. (MST) with the women's 100-meter hurdles, and will run through their conclusion on a rolling schedule.