May 12, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two school records fell on the second day of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Andre' Peart shattered a 28-year old record in the 400m hurdles and Dani Bunch demolished the school standard in the shot put en route to a Big Ten title in the event.
"The kids are competing well," head coach Lonnie Greene said. "They are competing with fire and passion and they believe they belong here. The kids are having fun out there and it shows in the way that they are performing. We have kids breaking school records which is exciting and it speaks of the hard work they have put in all year long."
Bunch had far and away the best complete performance of her career. The junior opened with a mark of 16.48m (54-01.00) which easily topped her season best of 16.33m (53-07.00). That mark was also farther than her Big Ten Championships winning throw from last year which was 16.46m (54-00.00). Bunch didn't settle with the mark. She launched her second attempt 16.59m (54-05.25) which put her in second place at the time. The defending Big Ten Champion missed the school record by half an inch with her next toss as she posted a mark of 16.98m (55-08.50). That gave her a lead of three quarters of an inch heading into the finals.
Bunch failed to improve her mark with her next two throws, but she saved her best for last. The Mahomet, Ill., native launched a Purdue record, Big Ten Championships record, 10th-best throw in the country, and winning mark of 17.13m (56-02.50). That mark broke the championships record by four inches and the Purdue record by five and a half inches. Bunch is the third consecutive repeat champion in the event. She also scored in the hammer throw on Friday with a fourth place finish.
"Dani is finally starting to get healthy," said Greene. "She is in a better position than she has been, and she was a gamer. She threw very well in warm-ups and we knew it would be a good day for her."
Peart had the highlight of his career on Saturday. The junior finished second in his heat of the 400m hurdle prelims and automatically qualified for the finals with a time of 50.78 seconds. That time was just 0.05 second behind the heat winning time run by Ethan Holmes of Iowa. Peart's time also shattered Dave Pomfret's school record from April 5, 1985, when he posted a time of 51.38 seconds. The time is a PR for Peart by 0.94 second in the event that he began running just this season. He will compete in the event finals which are scheduled for 2:28 p.m. ET on Sunday.
"Andre' has been running very well and very confidently," Greene added. "He has been healthy and is starting to put it together. I think he has even more in him for tomorrow."
Vanessa McLeod had a big day on the day as well. The freshman took the top spot in her heat of the 800m run with a time of 2:06.65. That time is faster than any other woman in Boilermaker history, though McLeod's PR and school-record time is 0.29 second faster. Her time was second fastest of the prelims. McLeod will compete for the Big Ten title in the event on Sunday at 2:03 p.m.
Katie Hoevet qualified for the finals in the 1,500m run after posting one of the top three times of a non-automatic qualifier. Hoevet finished the race in 4:28.83 which was fifth in her heat and 11th overall. She will compete in the finals on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Two other Boilermakers found themselves on the podium Saturday afternoon. Nikki Nunn leapt the second-best distance of her career to take the bronze medal in the long jump. Nunn finished with a distance of 6.11m (20-00.50), just three quarters of an inch shy of second place. Geoff Davis found himself on the podium for his efforts in the high jump. He and Indiana's Derek Drouin were the final two competitors in the competition for several bars until Davis finally bowed out with a mark of 2.21m (7-03). Davis earned the silver medal while Drouin won the event after clearing 2.24m (7-04.25).
Eric Harris had a standout day on the track in the sprints. The junior qualified for the finals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Harris posted a PR in the 200m dash as he finished in 20.97 seconds. That time won his heat and was the second fastest of the prelims. In the 100m dash, Harris also ran a PR. He finished with a time of 10.59 seconds which earned him a seventh place finish in the prelim and advanced him to the finals. Harris is scheduled to run the 100m dash finals at 1:55 p.m. and the 200m dash finals at 2:42 p.m. on Sunday.
Kevin Griffith advanced to the finals in the men's 800m dash. Griffith ran a season-best time of 1:50.06 which was the ninth-fastest time of the prelims. He is scheduled to compete in the finals at 2:08 p.m. on Sunday. Brandon Winters will compete in the 110m hurdles finals on Sunday after he advanced through the prelims on Saturday. Winters finished eighth with a time of 14.19 seconds.
The women are in an eighth place tie with Indiana after two days of conference action. Both teams have 21 points. The Boilermaker men are in sixth place with 20 points after the second day. They have already surpassed last season's conference championships points total with one day remaining.
"The kids believe that they belong here," Greene said. "At the beginning, they didn't think they did. Now, our team believes that it can compete with the rest of the league. We have underclassmen running like veterans and we have upperclassmen that are stepping up. It speaks to the work of the coaching staff. They have gotten the team to believe they can compete in this championship. I tip my cap to the entire staff and especially to Coach (Keith) McBride. He has done a yeoman's job and it shows with the results the throwers have put up all season.
"We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow," he added. "We have a lot of scoring options and we need to capitalize on our opportunities. We just need to keep doing what we have been going all season long and I believe we will be pleased with the results."
Sunday's action is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and will wrap up at 4 p.m.