Dec. 9, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue Boilermakers picked up all four weekly track and field athletes of the week, the conference office announced on Monday. On the men's side, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi was named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week, while Brandon Winters picked up Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week. For the women, Dani Bunch earned Field Athlete of the Week honors, while Megan Plenus was named the Track Athlete of the Week.
Enekwechi, a sophomore, picked up the honor after winning the weight throw at the Mastodon Opener over the weekend. His throw of 22.19m (72-09.50) broke the previous Purdue school record of 22.04m (72-03.75) held by current throws coach Keith McBride. Enekwechi's throw is also the best in the country this year by any student-athlete, and tops his bronze medals throws from last season's Big Ten and NCAA Championships. The Laurelton, N.Y., native also competed in the shot put where he finished second behind teammate Coy Blair. Enekwechi posted a mark of 18.07m (59-03.50), which currently ranks ninth in the nation.
Enekwechi's Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week if the first for the Purdue men since Jon Pullum won the award in 2008.
Winters won the award after taking first in the 60m high hurdles. Winters qualified for the finals with a time of 8.19 seconds in the prelims. The senior stepped up in the finals and posted a time of 8.04 seconds to win the race by 0.02 of a second. Winters' time ranks ninth in the country. He is the first male track athlete of the week from Purdue since Mike Willey earned the nod in 2010. It is the first honor of his career.
Bunch had a historic day for the Boilermakers on Saturday in multiple events. The senior broke a pair of school records, one she had already owned, and another she had previously been just a centimeter shy of tying. Bunch opened the day with a school record and nation-leading throw of 21.72m (71-03.00) in the weight throw. The mark is currently the best in the country by more than three feet and tops her marks from a pair of winning throws and a runner-up finish at Big Ten Championships over the last three years. Bunch followed up the weight throw with a winning throw in the shot put of 16.77m (55-00.25). That distance broke her previous school record of 16.70m (54-09.50) from last season, and currently ranks second in the country.
Bunch's Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors are her first for indoor season, though she was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Championships as a sophomore. The award is also the first for a Purdue woman since Leah Eber picked up the nod in 2012.
Plenus picked up the track athlete of the week honor after posting a national-leading time in the 800m. Plenus ran a winning time of 2:13.92 on a short, flat track. That time converts to 2:12.40 and is the best in the country this season by more than a second. The award is the first of her career and the first for a female Purdue track student-athlete since Ebony Woodard earned the honor in 2011.
The Boilermakers are off for the winter break, but return to action at home on Jan. 11 for the Gene Edmonds Cup.