May 19, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In the wake of the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, the Purdue men's and women's track and field teams received five All-Big Ten awards on Wednesday, including a pair of first team honors. Senior Nkeiru Ugwoaba and junior Bill Hardcastle accounted for the first team all-conference awards, winning their respective events at last weekend's Big Ten Outdoor Championship meet at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
Ugwoaba took home the Big Ten gold medal for the women's triple jump, taking the title in dramatic fashion with a Purdue outdoor record mark of 12.95 meters (42-06.00) on her final jump. She now owns both the Boilermakers' indoor and outdoor records in the event as well as both an indoor and outdoor conference titles over the last two seasons. Wednesday's honor is the third all-conference award Ugwoaba has earned at Purdue, taking home first-team honors indoors in 2009 and second-team honors at this year's indoor championships.
Hardcastle's First Team All-Big Ten award is the third of his career, winning the men's discus with a toss of 54.86 meters (180-00) last weekend. His season-best mark was more than two meters better than the rest of the field on Friday and follows his Big Ten titles in the discus and shot put in 2008, which led to conference athlete of the year, athlete of the championships and freshman of the year honors. He also placed seventh in the men's shot put this weekend, amassing 12 points for his team in the two events.
The other three all-conference awards were Second Team All-Big Ten honors, received by senior Eric Sparks, sophomore Leah Eber and freshman Geoff Davis, who all earned second place in their respective events. Sparks earned his fourth career all-conference award in the men's pole vault, clearing 5.30 meters (17-04.50) on Friday for a runner-up showing. Sparks has earned a pair of first team all-conference awards, winning Big Ten Outdoor titles in 2008 and 2009, and was a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree indoors in 2010.
Eber and Davis earned their first career All-Big Ten honors on Saturday, taking second place in the women's long jump and men's high jump, respectively. Eber leapt 6.16 meters (20-02.50) for her runner-up finish, while Davis cleared 2.12 meters (6-11.50) in his second-place effort.
The majority of the men's Big Ten awards went to Andrew Riley of Illinois and Derek Drouin of Indiana, as Riley was named the Track Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships, while Drouin was named the Field Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships. Penn State's Casimir Loxson won men's Freshman of the Year honors, and Minnesota's Steve Plasencia was named men's Big Ten Coach of the Year.
On the women's side, track honors were split between Angela Bizzari of Illinois and Fawn Dorr of Penn State as Bizzari was named Athlete of the Year and Dorr earned Athlete of the Championships. Indiana's Faith Sherrill was named both women's Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships, while Michigan's Erin Pendleton was named women's Freshman of the Year and Penn State's Beth Alford-Sullivan was named women's Coach of the Year.
All five Boilermakers are likely to advance to the inaugural NCAA Championship East Preliminary rounds next weekend, set to be hosted by North Carolina A&T University at Irwin Belk Track in Greensboro, N.C. The championship fields are set to be announced later this week.