IU track and field participated in the Big Ten Outdoor Championships this weekend, the final event of the conference season before the team heads to the Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
After a year of impressive results, the IU women showed up on the big stage, scoring 109 total points to finish as the runner up to champion Ohio State, who finished with 117 points.
Head coach Ron Helmer said he was proud of the women’s team, and that he expected a finish like this after a sixth-place finish at the indoor conference championships.
“I was very proud of both our women’s effort and performances,” Helmer said. “It was disappointing to come up just a few points short. Certainly the points were there for the taking but we struggled a bit in a few places that would have sealed the victory.”
Senior Leah Moran had just one event in which she didn’t take first place during the season, so it was no surprise when she defended her triple jump title from 2019 on Sunday afternoon. On her fifth and final jump, Moran soared a mark of 13.56 meters, a new school record, breaking her previous record. Moran also finished second in the long jump.
Sophomore Alyssa Robinson was tasked with two events and medaled in both. In the 100-meter, she crossed the finish line in 11.58 seconds. Later, Robinson earned silver in the 200-meter with a time of 23.03 seconds.
The Hoosiers also received major contributions from senior Kelsey Harris, as she made the podium in two separate events. Harris took third in the 800-meter with a time of 2:09.85, before finishing in 4:14.09 to take second in the 1500-meter.
Junior Natalie Price had her best performance of the season, taking down personal bests in both the 200 and 400 meter races. She picked up a silver medal in the 400 meter with a time of 52.21 seconds and a fifth-place finish in the 200 meter with a time of 23.57 seconds.
“Alyssa Robinson was spectacular and Kelsey Harris broke a 34 year old record, getting 2nd in the 1500, then came right back to get 3rd in the 800, a very difficult double,” Helmer said. “Leah Moran’s second in the long jump, then school record for the championship in the triple jump was phenomenal. Natalie Price was on fire all weekend, running lifetime bests for 2nd in the 400 and the 200 for 5th.”
After day one, the men’s team led the way, picking up two individual Big Ten titles. Senior Ben Veatch, who took two victories at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February, won the 10,000 meter with a time of 29:09.13. The win marked the first time in Veatch’s career that he had won the event at the conference championships.
Later it was sophomore Nathan Stone adding to the Hoosiers’ total score. He completed the season sweep of the pole vault in both the indoor and outdoor. On Friday, Stone cleared 5.42 meters to claim the individual championship.
As the championships rolled on the team was unable to replicate Friday’s success, going without a podium finish on Saturday or Sunday.
Helmer said that while he was impressed with the performances of Veatch and Stone, the 10th place finish left a lot to be desired.
“Other than two outstanding individual championships by Ben Veatch in the 10,000 and Nathen Stone in the pole vault our men had a tough weekend,” Helmer said. “We had several other solid efforts but many times looked uninspired. This is not a conference where anything but your best will result in success.”
The Hoosiers will wait to see how many entries they are awarded to the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Florida, at North Florida University.
The NCAA East Prelims will start on Wednesday, May 26, and run through Saturday, May 29. The men will compete on Wednesday and Friday while the women are set to compete on Thursday and Saturday.