IU was able to attack strong opponents on the track and the field this weekend in the Gladstein Invitational. The women’s team was prepared for the level of competition its opponents would bring, and the Hoosiers were able to clinch at least one of the top five spots in 11 of the 17 events.
Junior Rachel Mather set a season best in the pole vault event this weekend. She was able to win the event with a clearance of 3.95 meters.
Junior Katherine Receveur has found success on the track this season. In the 3,000-meter run Receveur was able to clinch the second-best time in school history with 9:10.23 behind former IU athlete Michelle Dekkers. This time became the fastest time in the NCAA this season in the 3,000-meter run event. Shortly behind Receveur in the second spot was junior Brenna Calder with a time of 9:31:38.
The women dominated in the 60-meter dash. Four athletes went to the finals. Freshman Megan Grabowski placed second with a time of 7.58, the 10th-fastest time in school history. Three other IU runners were able to place in the top-10 slots. Junior Brittany Thomas took the fourth spot, senior Ari Nelson placed seventh, and sophomore Jaela Gay placed eighth.
Grabowski followed day one of the Gladstein Invitational with a time of 25.03 seconds and a win in the 200-meter dash. She was followed by three of her teammates — junior Brittany Thomas, who finished in third place; sophomore Maya Caudle in fourth; and sophomore Jaela Gay in fifth.
In the 400-meter dash, three IU runners were able to place in the top 10. Sophomore Taylor Williams was able to snatch second place, junior Kendell Wiles finished fourth, and sophomore Riley Egbula placed seventh.
After clinching second place in the 400-meter dash, Williams was able to win the 600-meter dash with a time of 1:31.56, senior Mackenzie Bollinger placed third with 1:32.87. The time is now Williams' new career best for the 600-meter dash and became the seventh-fastest time in IU history, the sixth-fastest time in the NCAA and second-fastest in the Big Ten.
Senior Chanli Mundy ran the women’s 5,000-meter run this weekend and had no problem establishing herself to take the lead early in the run. Mundy was able to create a large lead five laps in and ended the event with a time of 17:12.06 and a win. After the invitational her time became a top-25 time in the NCAA
The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Wiles, Egbula, Bollinger and Williams earned the victory with a time of 3:44.57.
Going forward, Coach Ron Helmer mentioned the important balance between practice and competing. He said he wants to rest some of his athletes to be sure to avoid injuries and overuse, but also maintain the talent and momentum.
“If we do too much work and not enough competing we are going to end up not as sharp as we need to be, not as experienced as we want to be. If we do too much racing and not enough work we aren’t going to be able to sustain the levels of competition. It’s very much a balance of work and competing.”
While freshman Khayla Dawson just missed the cut to proceed to the finals in the shot put event at the Rod McCravy Invitational in Kentucky, she placed 11th with a best throw of 14.43 meters. Helmer mentioned the need for consistency but also is trying to introduce some of his young athletes to the level of competition he thinks they need to be performing at by sending them to other invitationals.
“Khayla is really talented,” Helmer said. “She’s going to be really good, but she hasn’t experienced the pressure of competition at that level, and she handled it like a freshman would be expected to handle it, but she’ll be fine as we move forward.”