May 26, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Three more Boilermakers booked their trip to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships while another added a second event to his already-punched ticket. The Boilermakers have a total of six qualifiers in seven events which is the program’s best since 2011 when the team also sent six individuals.
“I was proud of how we competed,” head coach Lonnie Greene said. “We have some great young talent and also some of our older guys stepped up as well. I was very proud of all of competitors this weekend. I think we are making strides in the right direction as a program. We still have a long way to go, but this is a positive step and it shows that we belong.”
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi opened the day for Purdue with the hammer throw. The freshman opened with 62.47m (204-11). He followed that mark up with a toss of 63.06m (206-11). That mark held on for seventh overall and a berth in the NCAA Championships. His performance came just a day after finishing third with the third-best shot put throw in Purdue history and earning his trip to Eugene.
Next to qualify was the only Purdue woman to make the championships. Dani Bunch didn’t have her best day, but did enough to earn a spot in the women’s shot put with a sixth place finish. Bunch threw a best of 16.13m (52-11) with her fifth throw. She qualified for the finals in the event with a throw of 16.07m (52-08.75) on her second toss. That distance would have also finished sixth overall. Bunch earned a spot in the outdoor championships for the second-straight year.
The Boilermakers picked up a qualifier in the 110m hurdles. Brandon Winters had a career weekend as he ran a PR on Friday with his first race under 14 seconds and then followed it up with one of the best races in school history. The junior ran a time of 13.69 seconds to finish third in the first heat of the race and earned an automatic bid to the championships. Winters was just .01 second behind second place in the heat and ended up eighth overall in the event. His time was also the fourth fastest in Purdue history and the second fastest mark to not be wind-aided. Winters is the first 110m hurdler to qualify for the championships since 2009 when Josh Hembrough did so. Winters and Andre’ Peart, who qualified in the 400m hurdles on Friday, are the first two track athletes to qualify for the championships since the same year with Hembrough.
“Brandon simply refused to lose today,” said Greene. “He ran a great race out there. Any time that you can be in the top five in program history, you know you are doing something right. Brandon turned some heads today and people aren’t going to take him lightly anymore. I was really pleased with the way Brandon competed, not just today, but all weekend.”
Geoff Davis booked his third trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships with his performance in the high jump. Davis missed just one attempt on the day as he passed at 2.00m (6-06.75), cleared 2.05m (6-08.75) and 2.10m (6-10.75) on his first attempt, and needed just two attempts to clear 2.14m (7-00.25) before clearing 2.17m (7-01.50) on his first try. That performance tied him for third before the competition was halted due to the advancing qualifiers already being decided. Davis earns a trip to the championships after narrowly missing last season. He also qualified as a freshman and sophomore.
“I thought Geoff was very courageous today,” Greene added. “He was competing at about 75% from a health standpoint, but he got it done. Now we need him to rest up and get healthy because I think he can do big things for us at the NCAA Championships. I am very happy and blessed to have him in the program and with a chance to end his career at the national championships.”
Here is how the rest of the Boilermakers did on Saturday.
Matthew McClintock – 5,000m
McClintock just missed his PR as he finished with a time of 14:07.59. That time was the 13th fastest in the event. McClintock finished ninth in his heat and based on that finish alone, was eliminated from qualifying contention due to the rules. The top five qualifiers from each heat plus the next two best times advance. McClintock’s time would have finished fifth in the second heat and earned a bid.
Men’s 4x400m Relay
Mario Cosey, Nicholas Parks, Andre’ Peart, and Andrew Kendrick made up the team for the Boilermakers. The team finished with a time of 3:12.17 which was seventh in its heat and 22nd overall. The relay team did not advance.
Cierra Brown – Triple Jump
Brown jumped a best of 12.19m (40-00). That put her in 30th place overall. She entered the event as the No. 32 seed and was just one foot, five and three quarter inches shy of qualifying for the championships.
“We are starting to do things the right way,” said Greene. “We are taking steps by qualifying individuals to the championships, but this coaching staff came here to make this team a contender in the Big Ten and at a national level. We are going to work hard all off-season and all fall so that we can contend in the conference in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. That is why we came here. We are blessed to have an opportunity to bring in some very talented individuals to be a part of this program next year and we think that will continue to help us work towards our goals. We are going to do great things at Purdue University.”
The Boilermakers will have a week off before Enekwechi, Winters, Bunch, Peart, Davis, and Coy Blair travel to the NCAA Championships. That event is scheduled to begin on June 5th.