Feb. 3, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Big Ten Conference announced its weekly track and field awards and a pair of familiar names appeared for the field honor. Dani Bunch and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi picked up the honors for the fifth and fourth times, respectively.
Bunch tied the all-time Big Ten track and field record by winning her fourth award in as many weeks. That is the most ever by a field athlete and ties former Ohio State sprinter Christina Manning for any type of weekly Big Ten track and field honor. Bunch now has five this year, and six for her career, both one shy of Manning’s Big Ten records.
Bunch picked up the honor after setting the school and Findlay fieldhouse record in the shot put, en route to a top finish. The senior threw 17.19m (56-04.75) on her first attempt, a mark that would hold up as the best in the competition. It was a good thing, too, because Bunch slipped on her second attempt and eventually passed on her final three throws. Her throw is the third best in NCAA Division I this season.
Bunch rallied for the weight throw, despite tweaking her ankle. She threw 21.98m (72-01.25) on her fifth attempt to win the competition. That mark, though not her best, is better than any other collegian this year. Bunch has won all 10 events she has competed in this season and, subsequently, a Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honor after each meet. Bunch has collected five of the six Big Ten field awards this season, with the Boilermakers having an off-week for the lone miss.
Enekwechi won his fourth award of the season, and his career, which is the most ever by a Purdue male track and field student-athlete. The Big Ten record for most in a season is five by Ohio State’s Dan Taylor in 2004. Taylor also has the conference record for most in a career with eighth. Since weekly awards were divided into track athlete of the week and field athlete of the week in 2008, Derek Drouin of Indiana, Luke Pinkelman of Nebraska and Purdue’s Jon Pullam, all field athletes, had previously held the record with three weekly awards in the same year.
Enekwechi won the award with a career day in the weight throw. The sophomore went up against seven time US Weight Throw Champion and former Division II National Champion A.G. Kruger and won. Enekwechi’s top mark was 23.62m (77-06.00), a new world best for this year. The mark is the second-best collegiate mark since February of 2010 and is a Purdue record. Enekwechi’s series also included throws of 23.31m, 22.87m, 22.78m and 22.64m. His top mark is two centimeters, about one inch, shy of the NCAA all-time top 10, not including duplicate throwers. The Laurelton, N.Y., native’s throw is eighth all-time among division I throwers and is the third best by an American in NCAA Division I.
All three throws can be found below.
Bunch’s streak will end this weekend, as the throwers will not travel with the rest of the team to the Meyo Invite, hosted by Notre Dame. That meet is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.