WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's and women's track and field teams are ready to get their season underway this weekend, hosting the Purdue Invitational at Lambert Fieldhouse on Saturday. Set to begin at 11 a.m., the Boilermakers will host DePaul University, St. Ambrose University and St. Joseph's College in the unscored season opener.
"Both our men's and women's teams have put in a lot of hard work over the summer and fall," said Boilermaker head coach Jack Warner. "We have several athletes ready to get things underway and begin competing. Everyone's hoping for big things this season."
Several of the Boilermakers' returning standouts on both the men's and women's sides will be held out of their opening competition, while others will get things going right away. On the men's side, seniors Shane Crawford and Josh Hembrough and sophomore Geoff Davis will wait until next weekend to get things going, while senior Stacey Wannemacher will sit out at least another week recovering from a minor injury.
Senior captains Bill Hardcastle and Jacob Palmer, along with classmate Chris Kirtz will look to get things going right away for the Purdue men. Hardcastle will look to build of his career best marks in the shot put and weight throw from last season, tossing an indoor best 18.07 meters (59-03.50) in the shot put and 17.92 meters (58-09.50) in the weight throw. Palmer had a breakout 2010 campaign and hopes to pick up where he left off. He posted top times in the 600- and 800-meter runs last season, clocking a 1:20.43 mark in the 600 and a time of 1:50.97 in the 800. Kirtz was solid in his first campaign with the Boilermakers, leaping a career-best 7.32 meters (24-00.25) in the long jump and posting a top time of 6.98 in the 60-meter dash. All three individuals were big scorers at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships as Hardcastle was third in the shot put, Palmer was fourth in the 800 and Kirtz was second in the long jump.
On the women's side, senior Emily Breslin and juniors Terri Anderson and Leah Eber will get things going for the Old Gold and Black. Breslin soared to new heights in the high jump during the 2010 outdoor season, tying for the fifth-best mark in school history at 1.81 meters (5-11.25), and hopes to transfer that success indoors in 2011. Anderson has shown continual improvement in the shot put over the last two seasons and looks to keep pace with Wannemacher in 2011, as the two hope to continue assaulting the Purdue record books. Anderson secured fourth place with an indoor career-best throw in the shot put at last year's conference meet, marking 15.52 meters (50-11.00), good for third all-time at Purdue. Eber matched the Boilermakers' indoor record in the long jump last year, bouncing 6.23 meters (20-05.25) to tie the mark set by Leah Kincaid in 2008. She hopes to take the mark for herself this season and add a few other accomplishments in the 60-meter dash and triple jump.
"We really have some strong upper classmen this year," continued Warner. "They'll go out and set a great example for some of the freshmen and sophomores this season and take our team to new levels. This group has a chance to do some special things."
Saturday's action will start at 11 a.m. with the men's weight throw, women's pole vault and women's long jump. Doors to Lambert Fieldhouse will open at 10 a.m. and tickets will be $5 for adults, $2 for students and free for Purdue students with a Boilermaker VIP Card. Heat sheets will be available for sale at the door, while live results of Saturday's competition will be available at PurdueSports.com throughout the day, courtesy of Delta Timing Group.