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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

IU sends four steeplers to NCAAs

IU will have a strong representation in the steeplechase events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships from June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Four Hoosier athletes placed in the top-four of their respective 3,000-meter steeplechase heats Friday at the NCAA East Preliminary meet at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex.

Junior De'Sean Turner never trailed in winning the third men's heat, clocking in at 8:39.40, the third-best time in IU history.

"I usually run from the front, so I just decided I was going to do that," Turner said. "Whoever went around me, I'd get back in the lead. They were pushing, so I was able to go faster.

"I'm pretty happy with it. I ran pretty fast. It's going to be a good group going from the East region."

That group includes two of Turner's teammates. Junior Andrew Poore finished second in the first men's heat, and fellow junior Andy Weatherford clocked in fourth in the following race, both good enough to advance to Des Moines.

"I was just trying to take it as easy as possible, and then I figured at a certain point I had to do something to kind of break it up because I wanted to make sure I didn't have to work too hard at the end," said Poore, who also will compete Saturday in the men's 5,000-meter event.

Weatherford, whose heat ran at an increased pace with defending NCAA steeplechase champion Matt Hughes of Louisville at the front, posted the seventh-best run in school history.

IU coach Ron Helmer expected all his runners to make the NCAAs but applauded their effort Friday.

"When you expect it to happen and then it does, it takes the suspense and the surprise out of it, but I was really very happy with the way they raced," Helmer said.

"It's great to be going to the national championship, but just getting there isn't the goal. The goal is to get there ready to run well, and I think they're all ready to do that."

On the women's side, senior Sarah Pease finished third in her steeplechase heat at a time of 10:09.14. Pease took fourth in the event at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships en route to All-America honors.

"She's behind where she was a year ago, but not that much right now," Helmer said of Pease. "In a race where the leader got away from her, and nobody likes that, I thought she regrouped really well and identified the person she needed to be racing to help her just carry herself on into the end.

"10:08 typically gives you a shot of being in the final. If she goes back and does that again, she's in the final. When she's in the final, then hopefully you get a score and you're an All-American again."

The four steeplechase runners join shot put throwers Faith Sherrill and Monique Riddick and pole vaulters Vera Neuenswander and Kelsie Ahbe as Hoosiers who thus far have advanced to the NCAAs.

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