IU track and field started the with a win by sweeping a tough Tennessee squad 71.5-49.5 on the men’s side and 63-53 on the women’s side. It was the team’s first scored meet of the season and first dual with an opponent.
In the 400-meter dash on the women’s side, IU picked up crucial points by sweeping the top three spots. Sophomore Taylor Williams took first and was followed by junior Kendell Wiles and sophomore Riley Egbula. Led by freshman Mallory Mulzer, the Hoosiers also took the top three places in the 800-meter run. The Hoosiers, led by senior Olivia Hippensteel, swept the mile run as well.
On the men’s side, IU senior Adrian Mable and freshman William Sessions took first and second in the 60-meter hurdles. The Hoosiers swept the 800-meter run as well, where freshman Cooper Williams led the pack. Sophomore Kyle Mau had a standout performance for IU by leading a clean sweep in both the mile and 3,000-meter run.
Sophomore Willie Morrison backed up his record-breaking performance in IU’s last meet with a first-place finish in shot put. IU Coach Ron Helmer praised his athletes on a solid performance and said his team is only getting better.
“It’s nice to be able to come out and win,” Helmer said. “All our athletes had a great mentality and great enthusiasm for the meet. The energy and the focus was very present and resulted in some solid performances.”
Helmer said he is seeing great improvement in some of his athletes and much more depth on his squad.
“We have some people that have broken through and gotten to the next level such as Morrison, and now we have another group that has joined them at an elite level, especially Eric Bethea in the long jump,” Helmer said. “Tanner Williams and Mau had great performances and really stepped up. In the future we want more athletes like that who have stepped up at a higher level.”
The key to the matchup was IU being able to beat Tennessee in some of the speed events on the track. Speed events are a strength for the Volunteers. Helmer said he was proud of his team for executing on the track and doing what they needed to get done in the field events.
“Tennessee is a very sprint-oriented school, so we thought that if we had gotten some points in the running events then we could have a good chance to win,” Helmer said. “We performed really well in the jumps, and I thought our jumpers worked really well.”
Up next for IU is Purdue, which will be coming to Bloomington next weekend. Helmer said he is looking forward to the matchup with a rival school and said the Boilermakers are similar to the Volunteers.
“Tennessee has a really good tradition and a very talented team, so the win was very good for us,” Helmer said. “I look at Purdue as a similar opportunity for us to come out and compete with a really talented team. Nobody here likes to get beat by Purdue so I think the intensity will be very high, and it should be a lot of fun to go and face that challenge.”