IU’s track and field team will travel to Tennessee this weekend to compete in the Vanderbilt Invitational. The meet will start at 5 p.m. Friday and will continue until 11 a.m. Saturday.
This is the first time that the Hoosiers will be competing in the Vanderbilt Invitational.
“We haven’t been to that meet before, and so we’re excited to go down there,” Helmer said. “It’s an oversized track, and that usually produces pretty good marks. It’s just a good bunch of kids who are ready to run, and it’ll be fun to go down and see what they’re ready to do.”
IU will enter the invitational with the No. 5 ranked men’s team in the country. Other competing teams include fellow ranked schools No. 22 University of Oklahoma and No. 1 Florida State University, according to the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The women’s team will enter the invitational unranked and will face competition such as No. 22 University of Miami and No. 11 Florida State University, according to USTFCCCA.
“Just because Ole Miss is coming, are they bringing their best people?” IU head coach Ron Helmer said.
The University of Mississippi has notable distance runners junior Maddie King and junior Waleed Sulimancompeting this weekend.
King set the Ole Miss school record for the women’s mile with a time of 4:46.45 during last year’s indoor season at the Music City Challenge.
Suliman set the school record for the men’s mile with a time of 3:56.78 at last year’s David Hemery Valentine Invitational and was named a 2nd team All-American during his previous two indoor seasons.
“We think they’re bringing their best distance runners, so that’ll be good for our distance group,” Helmer said. “The better competition that we can face the better it is for us in terms of measuring ourselves against really good people.”
The team is coming off the Indiana vs. Tennessee Duals this past weekend, during which the Hoosiers’ senior Adam Coulon and senior Khayla Dawson led the nation in men’s pole vault and women’s shot put.
Coulon, who placed first during last season’s Big Ten Indoor Championships with a mark of 5.44m, reached a mark of 5.55m — which stands as his personal best.
Dawson, who placed first during last season’s Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a personal best of 17.65m, threw a distance of 17.07m.
Both Coulon and Dawson were named Big Ten track and field athletes of the week.