2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Track & Field Championship Preview

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Purdue head coach Jack Warner takes his Purdue record-setting group to Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Purdue head coach Jack Warner takes his Purdue record-setting group to Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

May 29, 2008

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VIDEO: Ready for Regionals VIDEO: Patterson Among World's Elite

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  • WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's and women's track and field teams are set to take a school-record 25 athletes to the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas at John McDonnell Field on Friday and Saturday. The Boilermaker men feature 15 athletes qualified in 18 events, while the women have 10 athletes qualified in 17 events.

    Purdue has a pair of athletes that own or are tied for the top seed in their respective events in the region, while 13 others own spots in the top-10 of their respective events. The top-five finishers in each event receive an automatic bid to the 2008 NCAA Championships, to be held June 11-14, in Des Moines, Iowa, while the top-12 placers remain eligible for an at-large bid based upon their top mark of the season.

    Highlighting the women's efforts is junior Kara Patterson, who not only owns the region's top mark in the women's javelin, but also the best throw in the NCAA and USA standings in 2008. Patterson captured her second career Big Ten Championship a little over a week ago in Champaign, Ill., hurling a throw of 61.56 meters (202-00). She's just the second American woman to ever exceed the 200-foot mark, and the only American collegiate athlete to accomplish the feat. Patterson won both the 2005 and 2006 regional championships, and looks to win her third career regional title on Saturday.

    Senior Leah Kincaid has the region's second-best mark in the women's long jump, setting the Purdue outdoor record and capturing her first career Big Ten title at the conference championships this year with her jump of 6.45 meters (21-02.00). Kincaid also secured regional marks in the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles, becoming one of two triple qualifiers for the Boilermakers this season. She just missed the Purdue record in the dash, crossing the line in 11.67, and holds the region's 14th-fastest 100-hurdle time.

    Following Kincaid closely in the long jump standings is sophomore Christina Madison, who popped her career-best at Big Ten's as well, marking 6.25 meters (20-06.25). The jump is good for second all-time at Purdue and seventh in the region this year. Junior Ranay Harvey bolsters the Purdue efforts in the 100-hurdles, posting a season-best time of 13.55 and taking sixth at the Big Ten Championships in the race. She also has a regional qualifier in the 400-hurdles, posting a season-best of 1:00.79.

    Sophomore Stacey Wannemacher and senior Astin Steward shoulder the women's throws efforts as both are 2007 NCAA qualifiers. Wannemacher is the second of Purdue's triple qualifiers, while Steward earned automatic bids in the discus and hammer throw last season. While earning spots in the discus and hammer throw, Wannemacher's best chance to return to the national championships remains in the shot put, where she shares the nation's 25th-best mark at 15.85 meters (52-00.00). Steward ranks sixth in the region in the hammer throw and seventh in the discus with respective marks of 60.03 meters (196-11) and 52.57 meters (172-06).

    A trio of pole vaulters are set for the trip south, headlined by junior standout Mallory Peck. Peck won her second career Big Ten crown at the 2008 conference championships, clearing an outdoor career-best and tying the school record with a mark of 4.15 meters (13-07.25). Also looking to climb the rankings are regional qualifiers Tara Turnbull and Brianna Neumann. Turnbull has cleared a season best of 4.00 meters (13-01.50), while Neumann marked 3.95 meters (12-11.50) to tie for seventh at the Big Ten Championships.

    Rounding out the ladies field is Purdue's lone mid-distance qualifier, sophomore Ashlee Lengacher. Lengacher heads to her first career regional meet with a qualifying time of 2:09.77 in the 800-meter run. Lengacher placed in the race at both the indoors and outdoor championships.

    At the top of the men's heap is Boilermaker sophomore Eric Sparks, who shares the region's top jump in the men's pole vault. He matched the height to win his first career Big Ten Championship at this year's conference meet. Sparks's mark of 5.35 meters (17-06.50) is the best of his career, and is tied for the seventh-best jump in the nation this year. Fellow vaulters Ben Pax, Andrew Rademacher and Chris Thoman have all cleared the regional standard of 5.05 meters (16-06.75) and will look to go higher.

    Freshman Billy Hardcastle blew up at the Big Ten Championships, earning Big Ten Outdoor Field Athlete and Freshman of the Year honors after winning the shot put and the discus. He threw huge personal records in both events, marking 18.85 meters (61-10.25) in the shot put and 57.13 meters (187-05) in the discus. Both are the top throw in the nation by a freshman, and rank fifth and sixth in the region, respectively.

    Senior Tyler Miller was the Big Ten runner-up in the outdoor shot put and the bronze medalist in the indoor championships. He follows Hardcastle closely in sixth place in the region with a season-best mark of 18.69 meters (61-04.00). Sophomore Jonathan Pullum ranks just behind Hardcastle in the discus, ranking seventh in the region at 56.65 meters (185-10). Pullum was the 2008 USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region and Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, and the 2007 Big Ten discus champion and Outdoor Freshman of the Year. A 2008 NCAA Indoor All-American, Pullum ranks seventh in the region in the discus.

    Junior Ben Harpenau continues the throws parade on the men's side, owning the 10th best mark in the nation's deepest region in the hammer throw. Harpenau launched a throw of 64.23 meters (210-09) to record his season best, and took home the Big Ten Championship silver medal with a toss of 63.75 meters (209-02). Senior Jim Schwingendorf and sophomore Steve Carlson are both set to compete in the javelin, flaunting respective throws of 62.42 meters (204-09) and 61.79 meters (202-09).

    Sophomores Adetayo Adesanya and Lance Moe and junior Nolan Petties shore up the jumps area as the two second-years hit the high jump pit, while Petties will take his shot in the long and triple jumps. Adesanya has cleared a career-best 2.14 meters (7-00.25) this season, while Moe has hit the regional height of 2.10 meters (6-10.75) several times. Petties has career-bests of 7.59 meters (24-11.00) and 15.45 meters (50-08.25) in the long and triple jumps, taking the Big Ten bronze in the outdoor long jump.

    The only Boilermaker men to qualify for regionals on the track were freshman Josh Hembrough and senior Brian Kaluf. Hembrough was the Big Ten Champion in the 60- and 110-meter hurdles this season, posting some of the best times in school history in both races. His effort during the indoor season earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, while his outdoor championship preliminary race yielded his top time of 13.78. Kaluf boasts a career-best of 14.07 in the 110-hurdles this season, and also earned a regional bid in the 400-meter hurdles with his mark of 52.09.

    Action starts on Friday at 11 a.m. with the women's hammer throw. The men kick off competition at noon with the high jump and shot put. For more information on the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, visit www.hogwired.com.