May 13, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Purdue's men's track and field team cracked the Big Ten scoreboard Saturday after picking up a win from David Rae in the steeplechase and a runner-up showing from Nolan Petties in the long jump.
The victory was Rae's first at a Big Ten Championship, and he is also the first conference steeplechase champion in the storied history of Purdue's men's track and field program. Rae won the title in 8:45.69, holding off Ohio State senior Brian Olinger, who completed the course in 8:46.93.
Rae's previous lifetime best of 8:48.44 was recorded at the 2004 Big Ten Championships, which were held at Purdue. Rae's best time this season prior to Saturday was a 8:56.85 posted at the Penn Relays.
Not only was Rae's time a personal record, it also erased the school's previous varsity record of 8:46.50, which was set by Robin Liddell way back on April 23, 1977.
Petties posted a lifetime best of 7.38 meters (24 feet, 2.50 inches) to place second in the long jump to Minnesota junior Derek Gearman (7.63; 25-00.00). The distance also qualified him for the NCAA Mideast regional championships. Petties' mark was a stark improvement over his previous best of 7.15 meters, which he recorded at the outdoor season opener at Arizona State.
On the track, the Boilermaker men qualified four individuals for Sunday's finals. Rickey Pinkney placed third in the 100-meter dash at 10.67; Keith Hopkins and Brian Kaluf qualified for the finals of the 110-meter hurdles after posting lifetime bests of 13.98 and 14.52; and Jh'Rome Tuggle claimed the seventh spot in the 200 with a time of 21.51.
With 18 points scored Saturday, the Purdue men are currently in seventh place.
There were several surprises on the Boilermaker women's side - both good and bad. The good news was that Purdue scored six individual athletes and moved into third place with 36.33 points. The shocker was Kara Patterson's second-place showing to Minnesota's Ruby Radocaj in the javelin.
The Gopher sophomore beat Patterson by more than eight feet, 169-09 (51.73) to 161-08 (49.28), preventing the Boilermaker from defending her crown. Lindsey Blaine was third was a top throw of 45.93 meters (150-08). Earlier this season, Patterson defeated Radocaj in the javelin at Georgia-based Spec Towns National Invitational.
Also scoring for Purdue in the field were Sheena James, who placed third in the shot put (14.92; 48-11.50) and Leah Kincaid, who was sixth in the long jump (5.84; 19-2). Kincaid was stellar on the track as well, qualifying herself for both the 100 and 400-meter hurdles with times of 13.86 and 1:02.30. Additionally, the sophomore pushed the 4x100-meter relay team to a sixth-place qualifying time of 46.46; she was joined on the relay by Lindsay Singleton, LaShauna Harris and Ina Jackson.
Singleton continued her amazing run in the heptathlon and finished fourth overall with 4,898 points. The junior finished fifth in the long jump (5.27m), sixth in the javelin (30.83m) and was third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:27.34.
Elsewhere on the track, Amber Ferner placed seventh in the steeplechase with a time of 10:33.55; Corrie Whisner qualified fourth for the finals of the 1500 (4:27.36) and Brooke Woodruff qualified sixth for the 800 (2:09.65).
The final day of competition at the Big Ten Championships begins Sunday at 11:40 a.m. with the women's triple jump. More information on the championships can be found at BigTen.com.