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The Indiana Daily Student

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Track and field notebook: Six athletes earn academic honor

Track Meet

It might seem odd to think about school a week into June and a national championship event just a week away.

However, a few NCAA-bound IU track and field athletes received some good news Thursday regarding exactly that.

Six members of IU’s program garnered Capital One First Team Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America association, which selects honorees from collegiate track and field and cross-country teams.

Five Hoosier women, three of whom qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships from June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa, nabbed spots on the women’s first team.

Senior pole vaulter Vera Neuenswander, who redshirted last year to complete a student-teaching requirement, earned the distinction with a 4.0 grade-point average in graduate counseling studies.

Neuenswander qualified for the NCAA meet by clearing 3.85- and 4.00-meter heights in the East Preliminary meet May 26 in Bloomington.

Seniors Sarah Pease and Faith Sherrill were the other two NCAA-bound women to represent IU on the Academic All-District team, and juniors Chelsea Blanchard and Breanne Ehrman were honored as well.

Sophomore runner Andy Bayer claimed a spot on the men’s team, notching a 3.56 GPA in his biology studies.

All about specifics for Sherrill

Shot put thrower Faith Sherrill advanced to the NCAA meet with relative ease, winning the East Preliminary meet May 27 with a long throw of 17.51 meters.

Now, her real preparation begins.

“I usually do well at regionals,” Sherrill said after her preliminary round. “It’s the national part that I need to prepare for.”

IU throws coach Jermaine Jones said Sherrill now needs to focus on smaller details leading up to the NCAA meet, namely attacking at the front of her throws.

“She tends to get her right foot down too soon, which causes her to fall back off the throw in the front,” Jones said during the prelims. "Get across the ring, and attack the front of the throw. Basically, when she pushes off, she’s going to gain at least a half a meter by sticking the ball further out over the toe board.”

Jones also said Sherrill could come away with a more fluid throw and thus better her chances at the NCAA meet by making those adjustments.

“As a rotational thrower, especially a strong girl like she is, if she can just keep the throw fluid, that’s going to help her too; because at the end of the day she is very strong, and she can simply set up that power position,” Jones said. “She can give it a ride.”

Turner fine up front


Junior De’Sean Turner doesn’t try to make a statement running the durations of his 3,000-meter steeplechase events from the front. He’s just comfortable there.

“Honestly, it’s what I do every race or just try to do,” Turner said May 27 after winning the third men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase heat at the East Preliminary meet.

However, Turner did admit other runners pushing him for the race lead caught him off guard a few times.

“It wasn’t anything bad,” Turner said. “I guess I was just making moves when they made moves, so just responding to everything everyone was doing around me.”

While placing in the top-four would have been enough to qualify for the NCAA meet, IU coach Ron Helmer understood why Turner felt better at the front.

“In the steeple, with the barriers coming up you when you’re in the front, it’s like the NASCAR drivers in clean air,” Helmer said at the prelims. “You get the first shot at it. You get to accelerate into the barrier without picking your way between a couple of guys, and I think it just makes you a cleaner, more efficient hurdler.”

Turner headlined a trio of national qualifiers in the men’s steeplechase that included juniors Andrew Poore and Andy Weatherford. Pease placed third in her women’s heat and also advanced. Poore qualified in the men’s 5,000-meter event the next day.

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