April 19, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Three school records went down on Saturday at the Kentucky Relays. The Boilermakers broke program standards in the men’s 400m hurdles, men’s hammer throw and women’s 800m run, and added three other top fives in Purdue history.
“Today was the best track meet and day of competition in my tenure here at Purdue,” head coach Lonnie Greene said. “To have the type of performances we had across the board, and to have a group do as well as we did, that is when a program starts to move in the right direction. It was the best day of competition since I have been here, bar none. That is what we have been searching for and working toward since our staff arrived on campus. In track and field, that is what you look for, that consistency across the board from different individuals in different events. That’s when you move as a program in the right direction, and we are doing it at the right time.”
Andre Peart was back to his old self in the 400m hurdles after battling back pain for the last several weeks. The senior broke his own school record with a time of 50.54 seconds to outlast Cam Viney of Illinois at the line. Viney finished second with a time of 50.59 seconds. Peart’s time was a PR by 0.24 of a second and currently ranks fifth in the nation in division one.
“Andre has been battling some minor injuries, but now he’s pain-free and that allowed him to run well today,” said Greene. “I truly believe he can run sub-50 before it’s all said and done. He has one of the nation’s top times and was able to finish strong and hold off a very talented runner from Illinois. That means you’re doing it right.”
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi accomplished what seemed inevitable. The sophomore broke the school record in the hammer throw and in the process broke his own Nigerian national record. Enekwechi threw 68.41m (224-05) to break Chris Brown’s 13-year old Purdue record by two feet, two inches. Enekwechi’s mark, which was the best in the competition, ranks eighth in the nation. The Laurelton, N.Y., native also won the shot put with his second-best mark of the season. He threw 18.85m (61-10.25) to win by six and three-quarters inches.
“Chuk is being Chuk,” added Greene. “Kudos to Coach Keith McBride and the work he has put in with his group. They compete well when it counts. They are getting better towards the end of the year and that’s what matters. Having Chuk compete well late is important because he is getting ready to peak come championship season which is huge for our program.”
Kari Shoolbraid had a huge PR in the 800m run en route to a first place finish and school record. The senior ran a time of 2:04.66 to break teammate Vanessa McLeod’s program record from last year by 0.23 of a second. Shoolbraid’s mark ranks fourth in the country and tops in the Big Ten. BreAnna Smith also had a strong day in the 800m. She had a huge PR with a third-place time of 2:06.97, a time that ranks fourth in program history and 21st in the country. McLeod, who ran in just her second race of the year after returning from injury, ran a time of 2:17.33. Shoolbraid, McLeod and Smith have three of the top four times in program history.
“The women’s 800 has been solid all season long,” Greene said. “When you have two individuals that have gone under 2:07 and Kari Shoolbraid with the fourth-best time in the country, that bodes well as we prepare for the end of the season. I believe they both have another second better. This entire group speaks well to our work and that we are doing it the right way.”
Kevin Griffith had a great day in the men’s 800m run. The senior had a huge PR with the school’s fifth-best time ever, as he posted a third-place time of 1:48.64. Griffith ranks 17th in the country and third in the Big Ten.
“Kevin is starting to put it together,” Greene said of the senior. “He trusted himself today and the end result proves that. He was there at the 600m and 700m mark and was right there at the end. His performances will compete for the Big Ten Championship and that’s huge.”
Raheem Mostert ran in his first meet since the spring break trip, as he had been finishing up spring football practice. The junior sprinter won the 100m and 200m dashes with impressive times, especially considering his limited time on the track, and facing a headwind in the 200. Mostert won the 100m dash with a time of 10.38 seconds, though it was aided by a wind of 2.1 meters per second. His 200m time was into a wind of 1.4 meters per second, but Mostert was able to post a time of 21.07 seconds to win by 0.03 of a second.
“Once Raheem gets his legs back and has more time to work on the track, he is capable of running 10-flat or maybe even 9.99 seconds in the 100. In the right conditions in the 200, I truly believe he can run a low to mid 20. He also had a solid day in the 4x1 relay and, once we get the exchanges down, could have a 39- or 38-second team.”
The women’s 4x400m relay team chased the school record, but came up just short. The team of Taylor Morrison, Aarin Jones, Shoolbraid and Smith ran a first-place time of 3:36.90, which is just over a second and a half off the program standard. The team’s time is projected to be a regional qualifier and currently ranks 28th in the country. The team won by nearly three seconds in Saturday’s race.
Carmiesha Cox was back on the track after missing significant time with an injury. The freshman sprinter ran in the 200m dash and finished eighth with a time of 24.48 seconds into a headwind of 0.6 meters per second. The freshman’s time is just 0.38 of a second outside the program top five.
Another notable performance was turned in by Dani Bunch in the shot put. The senior won the event with a throw of 16.34m (53-7.50). Bunch won the event by two feet, once inch.
The Boilermakers head to the Drake Relays next weekend in Iowa. A preview will be available later in the week.