IU women’s track and field is coming off a big win against Tennessee this past weekend and jumping right into a Big Ten match against notorious in-state rival Purdue.
For the Boilermakers, this will be their first official meet of the season after competing in the Hoosier Open and the Gene Edmonds Open. The Hoosiers are seeking revenge after losing by just 10 points to Purdue in their last matchup.
The squads match up fairly well. Both teams boast a recent Big Ten athlete of the week — Purdue’s Devynne Charlton received the honor this week, and IU sophomore Katherine Receveur was honored as a Big Ten athlete of the week in December. Receveur was noticed by the Big Ten mainly because of her recent ability to break the 5,000-meter IU record with a time of 15:50:30, a record that had been owned by five-time All-American Michelle Dekkers for the past 20 years.
IU is especially talented in the distance races. In the IU Open in December the Hoosiers won eight of the 23 events. Only one event win came from the field. If the team plans on taking the win this weekend, it is going to have to perform just as much on the field as it does on the track.
IU Coach Ron Helmer said the team works hard all the time and adding a winning edge to its mentality is the last step toward getting the team to where it needs to be.
“We need to coach skill, need to coach fitness, need to coach speed, need to coach strength, but above all we need to coach winning,” Helmer said. “We need to make sure everyone realizes adding to those areas individually will help us get to the point we want to be as a team and give us the chance to win.”
Even with IU’s impressive win against No. 11 Tennessee, Purdue is still a force to be reckoned with. The team was able to place as the runner-up in the most recent Big Ten Championship and features a Rio Olympian, Carmiesha Cox, in the 4x400-meter relay.
IU junior Kendell Wiles and sophomores Taylor Williams and Riley Egubla are expected to register quality performances this weekend. They were able to take the top three spots in the 600-meter race against Tennessee and gave IU important points toward the team total.
Freshman Mallory Mulzer was able to win the 800-meter dash in the Hoosiers’ first match. It was her first career collegiate win, and so far the walk-on has impressed Helmer in the early going.
“She is going to get faster, and she is going to grow pretty quickly,” Helmer said. “I wouldn’t be shocked to see her do some really great things going forward. She works really hard — great attitude.”
The importance of the rivalry meet is not lost on Helmer. Of all the meets of the year, he said this one would sting most to lose.
“Nobody here likes to get beat by Purdue, so I think the intensity will be very high,” Helmer said. "It should be a lot of fun to go and face that challenge."