June 3, 2008
Big Ten Network ~ Free Purdue Boilermakers Video
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's and women's track and field teams received 11 bids to the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, to be hosted Wednesday through Saturday, June 11-14, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Eight Boilermakers earned automatic qualifying bids by placing in the top-five at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, while the remaining three received at-large bids based on their top mark of the season.
This is the Boilermakers' largest group of NCAA qualifiers since the 2003 season, when
Purdue sent 12 to the national championships. However, the group in 2003 included the men's 4x100-meter relay, while this year's squad is comprised of 11 individual competitors.
Junior Kara Patterson headlines the Purdue women's efforts as she attempts to become the Boilermakers' second straight national champion in the javelin throw, and the third in the past six years. Patterson boasts the top throw in the nation this season, marking 61.56 meters (202-00) to win her second career Big Ten Championship. She is just the second woman in U.S. history to surpass the 200-foot mark and one-of-two American women to eclipse the "A" standard for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Despite a lackluster performance last weekend, Patterson still managed to pick up an automatic bid and her third career NCAA Mideast Regional title. She looks to bounce back in Des Moines and vie for the NCAA crown.
Senior Leah Kincaid finds herself in a similar boat as Patterson, posting the nation's ninth-best mark in the long jump, but squeaking into the NCAA Championships with an at-large bid. She improved her school-record mark to 6.45 meters (21-02.00) this season to win her first career Big Ten Championship and boast the No. 9 mark in the country heading to Des Moines.
The Boilermakers' field a tag-team effort in the women's pole vault as sophomore Brianna Neumann
and junior Mallory Peck
both scored automatic bids at the regional meet. Neumann exploded on to the national scene, placing second overall and setting a new Purdue outdoor record with a vault of 4.16 meters (13-07.75). The vault exceeded her previous career best by 0.16 meters (6.25"), and ties her for the No. 12 height in the country heading into the championships. Neumann edged out the previous school record, shared by Peck and former Boilermaker Ebbie Metzinger
at 4.15 meters (13-07.25). Peck cleared the height this season to win her second career Big Ten title, as she set a new conference championship record with the mark. Peck is a two-time NCAA Indoor All-American; clearing a career-best 4.20 meters (13-09.25) to take sixth at the 2008 national indoor meet.
Senior Astin Steward and sophomore Stacey Wannemacher both locked up their second straight trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as Steward launched a season-best toss in the women's discus to take second place and an automatic bid, while Wannemacher set the Boilermakers' outdoor women's shot put record and nabbed seventh place and an at-large bid. Steward nearly matched her career-best at the regional championships, hurling the discus 53.65 meters (176-00) on her next-to-last throw, which ties her for 13th in the country heading to nationals. Wannemacher now holds both the Boilermakers' indoor and outdoor records in the shot put after marking 16.22 meters (53-02.75) last weekend. The throw was 0.37 meters (1-02.50) better than her previous best and moved her up to 19th in the nation.
The Purdue men have six athletes heading to the national championships, led by sophomore Eric Sparks and freshman Josh Hembrough. Sparks enters the national meet sharing the country's seventh-best mark in the pole vault, clearing a career-best 5.41 meters (17-09.00) to take second at the regional championships. Hembrough sits ninth in the national standings in the 110-meter hurdles, blazing a career-best 13.58 in the Mideast Regional finals to earn third place and an automatic qualifier. His wind-aided time is second-best in Purdue's history, just 0.04 shy of the all-time mark held by Rod Woodson.
The Boilermakers have a two-headed monster in the men's shot put as freshman Billy Hardcastle and senior Tyler Miller both earned nods to the national meet. Hardcastle snagged an automatic bid with a fifth-place showing at regionals, while Miller earned an at-large bid with his season-best throw of 18.69 meters (61-04.00). The pair went 1-2 at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships this year, led by Hardcastle with his season-best mark of 18.85 meters (61-10.25).
Sophomore Adetayo Adesanya rounds out the men's field for Purdue, earning an automatic bid with his fourth-place regional showing in the high jump. Adesanya has a season-best of 2.14 meters (7-00.25) as he won the 2008 Big Ten Indoor title and placed second outdoors.
Steward will be the first Boilermaker to compete at the national meet as the women's discus qualifiers are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday. Sparks will follow closely in the men's pole vault qualifiers at 4:15 p.m., while Adesanya and Kincaid are set to qualifying in the high and long jumps at 6:15 p.m. Neumann and Peck complete the Boilermakers' qualifying efforts Wednesday night, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Patterson will resume Purdue action on Thursday at 2:15 p.m., while Hembrough starts his week at 4:50 p.m. Wannemacher closes out Thursday with the women's shot put at 7:30 p.m.
Results will be available at godrakebulldogs.com, along with ncaasports.com and purduesports.com.