April 16, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's and women's track and field teams hosted their final home meet of the year on Saturday, sending off their senior class in grand fashion at the Fifth-Annual Dave Rankin Invitational at Rankin Track & Field. The Boilermaker seniors turned in a slew of outstanding marks in their final competition on their home track, including six event victories and several season and career bests.
Seniors Chris Thoman and Bill Hardcastle had two of the biggest days in the meet as Thoman won the men's pole vault with a new personal record and Hardcastle threw season bests in the discus and shot put, finishing first and second in the two events. Thoman led an impressive 1-2 Boilermaker effort in the men's pole vault, clearing 5.25 meters (17-02.75) to mark the second-best effort in the Big Ten this season and tie the No. 15 mark in NCAA Division I. Sophomore teammate Zack Saunders cleared a career record as well to finish second, vaulting 5.15 meters (16-10.75).
Hardcastle took no notice of Saturday's nasty weather, winning the discus with a throw of 52.96 meters (173-09) and taking second in the shot put with a toss of 18.14 meters (59-06.25). The discus mark is good for fourth in the Big Ten, while the shot put is third in the conference and 15th in the nation. Sophomore Jakob Engel followed Hardcastle's lead in the shot put, placing fourth and throwing a career-best mark of 17.21 meters (56-05.75).
The other senior victories for the Old Gold and Black came from Jacob Palmer and Chris Kirtz on the men's side and Emily Breslin and Stacey Wannemacher on the women's. Palmer topped the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.17, while Kirtz was the fastest man at the meet, taking the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.85 despite a headwind. Breslin cleared 1.73 meters (5-08.00) despite a wet surface in the high jump, and Wannemacher took first in the shot put with a toss of 15.04 meters (49-04.25). Wannemacher also took second in the women's discus, throwing a season-best mark of 48.21 meters (158-02).
The Boilermakers posted a 1-2-3 finish in the men's 110-meter hurdles paced by freshman Brandon Winter's career-best time of 14.21 seconds, good for fifth in the Big Ten this season. Senior Josh Hembrough
followed closely with a season-best mark of 14.25 seconds and junior Mike Willey
was third in 14.50. Sophomore Geoff Davis
needed just two jumps to take the men's high jump title, braving hard rain and harsh winds to clear 2.09 meters (6-10.25). Davis came into the competition at 2.09, clearing on his second attempt, but was unable to get much of a rhythm as the wind kept blowing the bar off the brackets before the approach.
Purdue junior Kara Conflenti ran just shy of her personal record in the women's 10,000-meter run, crossing the line first in 37:24.91, and freshman Dani Sullivan turned in a personal record in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing second in 11:16.81. Sophomore Scott Lasiter won the men's 1,500-meter run, running a time of 3:58.61, while Boilermaker junior Chris Anderson captured the men's javelin title, tossing it 54.64 meters (179-03) to top the field.
The Boilermakers will hope for better weather next weekend as they head to Columbus, Ohio for the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State University. The meet is scheduled to begin on Saturday and conclude Sunday afternoon.