May 9, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Purdue men's and women's track and field teams made a few late additions to their NCAA Regional qualifiers list on Friday night as a trio of Boilermakers surpassed the regional standards and marked personal records at the Billy Hayes Invitational, hosted by Indiana University at Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex.
All three marks came on the men's side pushing the Boilermakers' team total to 28 regional qualifiers spread out among 24 individuals. Ten different members of the men's team have qualifying marks in one event, while the Boilermaker women have 14 individuals with three double-qualifiers and a triple qualifier.
Senior Stephen Bach posted his first career NCAA Regional qualifying mark, eclipsing the standard in the men's 800-meter run with a career-best time of 1:50.25. Rookie Ladd Mercer followed Bach in similar fashion, securing a bid to the regional meet in the men's 1,500-meter run with his career-best time of 3:47.48. Bach's time vaults him to sixth in the conference in the 800, while Mercer now sits 10th in the Big Ten in the 1,500, and also owns the third-fastest time in the event in Purdue's outdoor history.
Sophomore Chris Thoman locked up his second consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional Championships, clearing a career-best 5.20 meters (17-00.75) to take second overall in the men's pole vault. Freshman teammate Derek Cullison came up one height short of the regional standard, but posted a career-best performance, placing seventh overall with a mark of 4.90 meters (16-00.75). Thoman is now matched up with senior teammate Ben Pax and four other individuals for second in the conference in the event.
Sophomore Bill Hardcastle topped the men's shot put, exceeding the NCAA Regional standard with a toss of 17.33 meters (56-10.25), and returned to take fourth in the men's discus with a mark of 49.15 meters (161-03).
On the women's side, senior Ranay Harvey bettered her season best in the women's 100-meter hurdles, grabbing second place on the day with a finals time of 13.81. The Boilermakers' women's pole vaulters posted a trio of regional qualifiers led by junior Brianna Neumann, who took third and matched her season-best with a mark of 4.10 meters (13-05.25). Senior Mallory Peck was fourth overall, clearing 4.00 meters (13-01.50), and freshman Elizabeth Stover was sixth with the regional standard of 3.85 meters (12-07.50). Junior Stacey Wannemacher took third in the women's shot put, tossing a regional qualifying mark of 15.00 meters (49-02.50).
The Boilermakers head into the postseason next weekend as they head to Columbus, Ohio, for the 2009 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, hosted by Ohio State at Jesse Owens Track. Action will begin on Friday afternoon, running through the weekend and will be produced by the Big Ten Network to be aired on tape delay.