sports   |   track & field

Hoosiers set to face first major outdoor meet of the season

Harris, Barrott, Stoffel

Junior Haley Harris leads freshman distance runners Hannah Stoffel and Lexa Barrott in the 1 mile fast race at the 2018 Hoosier Hills meet. The distance runners will split up with the throwers this weekend as they compete in different invitationals.  Alexis Oser

The Hoosiers will take on a number of east- and west-coast rivals this weekend at the Pac-12 v. Big Ten Invitational, which will feature five teams that are ranked within the top 25. 

This competition will include No. 9 Louisiana State University, No. 14 Arizona State, No. 15 Colorado, No. 16 Nebraska, No. 18 Michigan, as well as unranked California and Penn State. IU is currently unranked heading into the outdoor season. 

IU Coach Ron Helmer explained the difference between competing during the indoor and outdoor seasons.

“There’s not a real big difference," Helmer said. "The primary one is probably indoors, because of our facility, we can run a lot of home meets. And outdoors, because of weather and a variety of other things we do have a couple of home meets, but they’re later in May.”

Helmer went on to explain that this is common, as no one wants to compete in snowy weather in the outdoor season. 

As for this weekend, Helmer said that the athletes should be excited to face this strong level of competition. 

“One of the things they dread is going to meets where there’s not going to be a lot of competition to challenge you and to push you,” Helmer said. 

This meet will be the first meet in which most of the team participates for the outdoor season. 

“We’ll cover most of the events,” Helmer said. “A couple of distance races, we don’t have people entered in. We’ll take our middle distance runners, but our long end distance runners are not racing this weekend in favor of going out to Stanford next weekend, so we’ll be short there.” 

The Hoosiers struggled in this meet last year, landing in the middle of the pack for most of the women's races, except one. 

IU senior Kendell Wiles and junior Kelsey Harris took first and second respectively in the 800-meter run, with times of 2:09.64 and 2:10.08. 

Lastly, Helmer pointed out freshmen Zykeria Williams and Natalie Price as ones to watch this week. The two have been the most consistent on the track and will look to continue to do so into this outdoor season. 

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