IU set out to defend its Big Ten championship title from last year, but fell just short of doing so this time around.
Both the IU men’s and women’s track and field teams placed third. The men finished with 86 points and the women with 75 points, tying Ohio State. IU Coach Ron Helmer said this caused some disappointment, but overall, the team still performed at a high level.
“We didn't get what we thought we were going to get out of a lot of the events,” Helmer said. “We were very, very close on both sides, and if we had hit a couple other things, we would have been right there all the way to the end. And that’s really exciting now to have both teams at that level with an opportunity to build and get ready for the rest of the season.”
On the first day of this two-day meet, the men’s team finished in second place with 29 points and the women’s team earned third place with 30 points.
The first day had some impressive marks led by junior Katherine Receveur, who won the 3000-meter in 9:11.52. Before this the Hoosiers had not won in this event in the Big Ten Championship since Amy Legacki did so in 1991.
“For the women, given the strength of our conference, five points out of second and about 15.5 points out of first, that demonstrates some incredible progress,” Helmer said.
The Hoosiers also ran the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) on the first day of the championship meet. The men's team, consisting of freshman Teddy Browning, freshman Zubin Muncherji, senior Daniel Kuhn and junior Joe Murphy, took second in 9:45.34, while the women’s team, consisting of senior Brenna Calder, freshman Natalie Price, juniors Kelsey Harris and Haley Harris took third place 11:14.44.
In the preliminary mile, Calder and Haley both advanced to the final. Calder placed ninth in 4:44.29 and Haley placed fourth with a time of 4:44.51, a new indoor career best time.
On the men’s side, all three runners who entered the mile event qualified for the finals. Browning ran the overall fastest time 4:07.73, with his teammates finishing just seconds behind him. Murphy followed in second in 4:15.35 and sophomore Kyle Mau came in third in 4:15.60.
Sophomore William Session and freshman Zykeria Williams were both able to set new indoor personal records in the 60-meter hurdles. Session finished with a time of 7.82, taking second overall, while Williams finished in eighth with a time of 8.42.
On the field, sophomore Adam Coulon took second place clearing 5.28 meters in the pole vault, earning him eight points in his first Big Ten Indoor Championship meet. Junior Treyton Harris took seventh earning the Hoosiers three points.
Two jumpers were able to make new indoor personal records during the first day. Junior Aaliyah Armstead finished fourth with the mark of 6.08 meters and sophomore Leah Moran took eighth with the mark of 5.91 meters.
“Leah Moran did a great job,” Helmer said. “For a jumper to go to that meet and score in both events for the first time as a sophomore, I’m really proud of the progress she made and what she was able to contribute, and it makes us excited for the next two years.”
The second day of the Big Ten Championship, Kuhn won the 600-meter event for the third year in a row, doing so in 1:16.38. Senior Kendall Wiles ran a new personal-best time of 1:27.98 in the 600, earning her third place as well as six points for the Hoosiers.
Mau, Browning, and Murphy earned 24 points for IU after competing in the mile. This time Mau took first place with a time of 4:13.85, Browning took second in 4:14.04, and Murphy took third in 4:14.19.
“It was pretty awesome to sweep an event like that,” Helmer said. “It hardly ever happens. It was a whole lot of fun for them, the coaches, their teammates and even for the people in the stands, to watch them execute the race plans, set themselves up and win. It was pretty cool, that's a very difficult thing to do.”
For the women’s final mile, Calder earned six points for the Hoosiers, finishing in third with a time of 4:46.92. Haley Harris finished in fifth place with a time of 4:47.27, earning four points.
Redshirt Receveur took home a win in the 5000-meter with a time of 16:19.60. As for the men, freshman Ben Veatch, took second place in the same event with a time of 14:09.09.
With a second place finish in the 800, Kelsey Harris earned the Hoosiers five points with a time of 2:08.46.
Overall, Helmer still impressed with the performances and marks his athletes were able to put on the board. As the team has now completed one of the most important meets of the year, there are still more on the horizon. The NCAA championship meet begins March 9 and Helmer said he has high hopes.
“Given how our athletes performed in the Big Ten meet, its pretty exciting to look forward and have them compete against the best people in the country, and I would guess that we are going to have a lot of success there,” Helmer said.