IU track and field had an eventful weekend, sending several athletes to Prairie View, Texas, to take part in the Husker B1G Invite, while the rest of the team stayed in Bloomington to participate in the Big Ten Indiana Invitational No. 3.
The B1G Husker Invite took place Friday and Saturday in Texas. Senior Leah Moran led the way for the Hoosiers once again, claiming second in the long jump with a distance of 6.26 meters. The finish was the highest for IU on Friday, but Moran’s lowest of the season after winning all of her previous events.
Junior Hope Purcell competed in the Heptathlon, a two-day event in which one athlete competes in the high jump, javelin throw and five other events. After Friday, Purcell was in second place. She went on to place fourth overall with a personal best total score of 5,102 points.
Junior Bailey Hertenstein broke records Friday in the one-day Big Ten Indiana Invitational No. 3. The All-American finished the 5,000 meter with a time of 15:38.01, a school, facility and personal record. Her time is the fifth-best in the country this season, and her performance gives head coach Ron Helmer a difficult decision to make heading into nationals.
“It was her first high level 5k, close to a minute faster than any she has run before,” Helmer said. “It will be very difficult to decide which event to run at nationals as she has outstanding 1500 and 5k times on the board and hasn’t even run a steeplechase which may be her best event.”
Hertenstein was joined by sophomore Shaunyae Sowell and fifth-year senior Logan Taggart in the winners circle for the Hoosiers. Sowell took first in the long jump with a mark of 5.60 meters. Taggart, competing in his first meet at IU after transferring from Central Michigan University, won the men’s hammer throw with a distance of 62.10 meters.
The Hoosiers also received a boost from their dynamic duo of seniors Khayla Dawson and Maddy Pollard in the field. Dawson won the shot put with a heave of 17.93 meters, the fifth-best mark in the NCAA this season, while Pollard took second with a mark of 17.33 meters. They would return for the discus, where Dawson took fourth and Pollard fifth.
On the second day of the B1G Husker Invite, Moran returned to her winning ways, taking first in the triple jump with a mark of 12.99 meters.
The Hoosiers didn’t get another win Saturday, but junior Rikkoi Brathwaite and sophomore Alyssa Robinson both picked up second-place finishes. Brathwaite, 2021 Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, ran the 100 meter in 10.38 seconds, good for the silver medal. Robinson, competing in the women’s 200 meter, clocked a new personal record time of 23.77 seconds in her runner-up finish.
Helmer said that while conditions were difficult in Texas, he was proud of his team’s effort and looks forward to the upcoming championship season.
“The weather conditions in Texas made high level performances difficult to come by,” Helmer said. “We had some athletes put the conditions aside and give great composed and focused efforts which will benefit them moving forward. We have three more opportunities to put things in place in preparation for the championship segment of our season.”