IU track and field prepared for a critical Big Ten championship meet



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Cross country nationals, 11/23/13 Courtesy Photo / IDS Buy Photos

IU will compete in the Big Ten Championships meet this weekend in Lincoln, 
Nebraska.

The Hoosiers are sending 56 athletes to the meet. One of the biggest team and individual goals for the team this season has been finding success at the Big Ten meet.

After observing workouts this week, IU Coach Ron Helmer said he feels the team was in a good place physically and mentally.

“Are we good enough to accomplish the team goals that we have? That remains to be seen,” Helmer said. “But I think we’re going to give ourselves a chance to represent ourselves really well.”

IU has the top seed in two events — women’s pole vault and women’s hammer throw.

Senior Sophie Gutermuth has the top seed in the pole vault because of her 4.32-meter vault at the IU-Purdue dual meet. Senior Sydney Clute, who won the women’s pole vault conference title during indoor season, has the second seed in the event.

Junior Nakel McClinton is the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten in hammer throw because of her school record 65.12-meter throw at the IU-Purdue dual meet. Senior Laura Schroeder is the second seed in the event.

At the Big Ten meet during the indoor season, the Hoosiers had two athletes win conference titles — Clute and sophomore middle distance runner Daniel Kuhn in the men’s 600-meter run. Helmer said those athletes, along with senior distance runner Rorey Hunter in the men’s 1,500-meter run, have a realistic chance at winning a Big Ten championship. Hunter and Kuhn are both the third seed in their event, with Kuhn competing in the men’s 800-meter run this weekend.

“There are several places where I think we have chances,” Helmer said. “If we get the two, that would be great. If we top the two, that would be outstanding.”

Freshman thrower Willie Morrison will enter the men’s shot put as the third seed because of his 19.17 meter throw at last week’s Billy Hayes Invitational. Sophomore jumper Paul Galas is the fifth seed in the men’s high jump because of his 2.13-meter jump at the IU-Purdue dual meet. Junior distance runner Jason Crist is the fourth seed in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase because of his 8:51.59 time at the IU-Purdue dual meet. Senior sprinter Cornelius Strickland is the fifth seed in the men’s 100-meter dash because of his time of 10.42 seconds at the Billy Hayes invitational.

Junior distance runner Chanli Mundy is the third seed in the women’s 10,000-meter run because of her 34:14.01 time at the Stanford Invitational. Sophomore distance runner Brenna Calder is the fifth seed in the women’s 1,500-meter run because of her 4:21.59 time at the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

Some Hoosiers are entering this weekend after not competing last weekend. The coaching staff rested some of the team’s more experienced and higher-level athletes during the Billy Hayes Invitational to give those athletes some extra rest leading into the postseason.

That group includes McClinton, Hunter, Crist, Mundy, and junior distance runners Matt Schwartzer and Amanda Behnke.

Helmer expressed the focus of his team being primarily on Big Ten Championships meet this weekend, and not looking ahead to regionals.

This weekend is the final chance for athletes to register a mark that would qualify them for the first round of the NCAA Championships. He feels the people that are going to qualify for regionals have already achieved the mark necessary.

“If the weather is good and the competition is great, then the people who still need a mark have an outstanding chance to get it,” Helmer said. “But, all within the context of competing, we’re not going to change much. We’re going to just compete.”

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