Both IU's men's and women's track and field teams finished as runners-up at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday evening in Iowa City, Iowa.
Heading into the final day of a three-day competition, the women were in the lead by two points over Minnesota while the men trailed Nebraska by half a point.
“A lot of people crack under pressure,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “But I was just telling them to keep doing what they were doing because we were in a pretty good spot, and if we were out of contention to win the championship, we’d focus on beating the next team.”
Despite neither team being able to capture the Big Ten Championship — Iowa won the men's by 13, and Ohio State won the women's by 31 — Helmer said he was happy with the way his teams competed the entire weekend.
The Hoosiers finished the weekend with seven individual champions in their respective events. Headlining the field was junior Khayla Dawson, who broke the school record and facility record, at Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track, when she threw 17.65 meters in the shot put Saturday.
“Words can’t explain the joy and gratitude I feel right now,” Dawson tweeted Saturday. “To wear IU across my chest is an honor.”
Another field event champion also occurred Saturday when sophomore Anna Watson won the pole vault when she cleared the bar at 4.17 meters.
Watson completed the sweep for the Hoosiers in the pole vault. Junior Adam Coulon won the event on the men’s side the day prior when he cleared 5.41 meters, setting the facility record. Sophomore Brock Mammoser was runner-up to Coulon with a height of 5.31 meters.
In addition to Friday’s pole vault victories, the night saw more success for the Hoosiers when senior Maggie Allen won the 10K with a time of 33 minutes and 8.59 seconds, breaking the facility record. Sophomore Ben Veatch also ran the 10K, which was his first one of the season, and clocked a college best with a time of 29:26.29 en route to finishing second place.
On the final day of competition, Veatch took gold in the 5K with a time of 14:35.45, and senior Katherine Receveur finished third in the same event, and also finished third in the 10k on Friday.
To round out the first-place finishers for IU, sophomore Cooper Williams squeezed out a victory in the 800-meter run with a 1:48.69, beating sophomore Domenic Peretta of Penn State, 1:48.75, and junior Eric Brown of Wisconsin, 1:48.77.
Back to the field events, junior Leah Moran took gold in the triple jump when she leaped a distance of 12.98 meters.
“I was really happy with the way our kids competed this weekend,” Helmer said. “The Big Ten is a tough conference, and to beat 11 other teams and do that well is a good sign.”
Up next for IU will be the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Florida, from May 23-25. There is also a West Preliminary Round, and the top finishers from both preliminaries will come together June 6-8 for the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.
“I think we have talented enough athletes to fare pretty well going forward,” Helmer said.