Jan. 18, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue track and field teams open the home season on Saturday with the 18thannual Gene Edmonds Cup. The Boilermakers have won each of the 17 previous challenges in the dual against Indiana State.
"We have been working hard and trying to correct some problems in practice," assistant coach Norbert Elliott said. "We worked on five or six points that we picked up from the Indiana meet a week ago and I was pleased to see the athletes pick those up in practice this week."
Every year since 1996, the Purdue and Indiana State track and field teams have gotten together in Lambert Fieldhouse to battle for the coveted Gene Edmonds Cup. The meet will be scored by awarding scores to the top two finishers from each team. Five points will be given to the individual who finishes first, three for second, two for third, and one for the fourth place finisher. In relays, only the top finishing team from Purdue and Indiana State will be awarded points, five for first and three for second.
Purdue is among the nation's best in the throws groups, both for men and women. The Boilermakers are the only team in the country to have three men in the top 25 in the shot put to date while Dani Bunch on the women's side is ranked 11th nationally. Jakob Engel leads the way for men's throwers with the seventh best throw in the nation, a mark of 18.16m (59-07.00). Coy Blair and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi both have throws just under 58 feet. In the weight throw, the group has made a national splash as well. Enekwechi has the 10th best throw in the country with a mark of 19.39m (63-07.50). Bunch has the 20th best mark with a distance of 19.46m (63-10.25).
The Sycamores look the make the shot put and weight throw one of the more exciting events during the day as they, too, boast some of the nation's best throwers.
On the women's side for Indiana State, Felisha Johnson leads the nation in the shot put. The senior threw 17.47m (57-03.75) in the team's season opening meet on Dec. 7. That mark is four and a quarter inches further than the second best distance. Johnson also has the nation's best weight throw mark by a landslide. Johnson threw 22.94m (75-03.25) in that same meet to lead the second place mark by more than four and a half feet. Johnson is a National Champion in the weight throw.
Brandon Pounds will anchor the men's throwers for the Sycamores. The senior has not competed yet this season, but he was a national qualifier last year and will provide a challenge for the Boilermakers.
The 60m dash looks to be extremely competitive as well on both the men's and women's sides. Eric Harris and Mario Cosey lead the way for the Boilermakers. Harris won the event a week ago at the Purdue/Indiana Dual with a time of 6.93. Cosey ran a 7.02 second time. The Sycamores Greggmar Swift has the nation's 43rd best time so far this year. He ran a time of 6.81 seconds in the December meet. For the women, Twyla Winfrey won the event last weekend for the Boilermakers with a time of 7.78 seconds. She, Ciana Tabb, Georgia Williams, and other Boilermakers will be pushed by Katie Wise of Indiana State. The Sycamore freshman has the nation's 28th fastest time of 7.46 seconds.
Aarin Jones looks to build on the impressive start to her Boilermaker career. The freshman won the 400m dash a week ago. Another impact freshman for Purdue is Vanessa McLeod. The 600m runner finished second in the event a week ago with a mark of 1:33.37. She will run alongside four other Boilermakers in the race as well as competitors from Indiana State, Robert Morris, and Huntington.
Shelby Higginbottom will prove a tough test for the women's 800m runners. The Sycamore junior is 41st in the nation with a time of 2:14.58. Megan Plenus finished third in the event last week for Purdue. She ran a time of 2:15.43 and looks to lead the Boilermakers.
Matthew McClintock and Caleb Kerr look to pace the men's 3000m run. McClintock has the nation's 24th best time of 8:19.41 after finishing third in the event last week. Kerr is 50th in the country with a mark of 8:224.95. The Boilermaker freshmen will be pushed by Dustin Betz of Indiana State. The senior currently has the 45th fastest time in the nation.
The Boilermakers won last year's meet over Indiana State, 168-155. The Purdue women outscored the Sycamores 89-73 while the Indiana State men came out on top of the Boilermaker men for the first time in history, 82-79.
There will also be a "Fastest Kid in Greater Lafayette" race during the meet. Anybody eighth grade or younger is welcome to participate. Participants will need to fill out a release form, attached above, before competing.
Saturday's meet will begin at 10 a.m. ET and begin with the throwing events. The final event is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. Live results will be available at PurdueSports.com. You can also follow the team and select results on Twitter @PurdueTrackXC. There will also be a live blog for fans to add their input or questions on PurdueSports.com.