May 31, 2014
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four Boilermakers punched their ticket to Eugene, Ore., and the NCAA Championships on Friday at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Three individuals also advanced to compete in Saturday semifinals for an opportunity to qualify to the national championships.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi started the day off well for Purdue. The sophomore competed in the hammer throw a day after coming up just short of a bid in the shot put. Enekwechi was in fifth place after the first three throws with a best distance of 65.91m (216-3). He was unable to improve on his final three attempts, but his mark held up to finish fifth and qualify as one of the top 12 and earn a spot in the NCAA Championships.
Raheem Mostert, the fastest man in the Big Ten indoors and out, began his day with the 100m dash semifinals after qualifying on Thursday with a heat-winning time of 10.47 seconds. Friday, the junior two-sport star had the best race of his career, as he posted a time of 10.15 seconds, an all-conditions personal best by 0.10 of a second, to take second in the heat and qualify for the NCAA Championships. Mostert’s time was the second-best overall in the semifinals behind only Florida State’s Dentarius Locke who ran a 10.03. Mostert’s time is 0.03 of a second better than the Purdue school record. However, it does not officially count because it was aided by a wind of 2.6 meters per second. Mostert’s time was the sixth-fastest overall at regionals, including the west qualifier.
BreAnna Smith was the third Boilermaker to make NCAA reservations. Smith, who has caught fire over the last several races, continued her dominance Friday. She competed in the second of three heats and needed to be among the top three finishers in the heat, or one of the next best three times to advance. Smith took out all doubt and nearly led gun to tape, including a strong kick down the last 100 meters, to win her heat with a time of 2:05.61. That time held on in her heat by 0.04 of a second. Her NCAA berth is the first of the senior’s career, though she has another opportunity on Saturday with the women’s 4x400m relay.
Jake Waterman had a huge day in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Not only did he qualify for the NCAA Championships, but the junior had a near six-second PR en route to breaking the Purdue school record with a time of 8:44.37 to take third in his heat and automatically qualify. Waterman hung in the front pack and the top three to five spots for the majority of the race, but he used the final two laps to cling on to the front pack and deliver a berth in the championships.
Brandon Winters advanced to Saturday’s finals in the 110m hurdles. He auto-qualified by taking third in the fourth heat with a time of 13.88 seconds. Winters’ time was the 13th-fastest overall and he has a shot to qualify for the national championships for the second-consecutive year. Ciana Tabb grabbed a spot in Saturday’s semifinals of the women’s 100m hurdles. She ran a time of 13.54 seconds, which was fourth in the fourth heat. She nabbed an at large bid, the fifth of six, and has a chance to make her first career NCAA Championships, though she will likely have to do it out of an outside lane.
Mostert was the third individual that advanced to a Saturday semifinal. After running in the 100m, he was back on the track an hour and a half later for the 200m. The junior indoor and outdoor Big Ten Champion in the event cruised to a second-place finish in his heat with a time of 20.65 seconds. That time was fifth overall in the prelims.
A handful of other Boilermakers competed Friday. Jessica Harter was able to clear 3.75m (12-3.50) on her first attempt, but could not clear another bar. She took 33rd. Andrew Kendrick was in the 400m semifinals and finished 23rd overall with a time of 47.35 seconds. Andre Peart was in the 400m hurdles semifinals and took 18th with a time of 51.58 seconds. Blair Doney competed in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and took 15th, missing finals by just less than four seconds. Hope Schmelzle was also in the steeplechase and finished 26th.
Purdue has another busy day to wrap up the NCAA East Prelims on Saturday. The Boilermakers schedule can be found below.
Noon: Caleb Fricke and Caleb Reiff – men’s discus trials/finals
4 p.m.: Dani Bunch – women’s shot put trials/finals
5 p.m.: Cierra Brown – women’s triple jump trials/finals
6 p.m.: Men’s 4x100m relay finals
7:05 p.m.: Brandon Winters - men’s 110m hurdles finals
7:20 p.m.: Ciana Tabb - women’s 100m hurdles finals
7:35 p.m.: Raheem Mostert - men’s 200m dash finals
9:25 p.m.: Men’s 4x400m relay finals
9:45 p.m.: Women’s 4x400m relay finals
A game day central page, including a live blog for information unavailable anywhere else, will be available on PurdueSports.com. A full recap and results will be posted concluding the day’s action.