After coming into the weekend ranked No. 24 in the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rating index, Indiana men’s track and field lived up to expectations in Saturday’s Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.
The Hoosiers sent a small group of primarily middle-distance runners and a pair of throwers to the meet. The first track event, the distance medley relay, kicked off a record-breaking day for several Hoosiers.
Indiana’s team in the distance medley relay consisted of freshman Camden Marshall in the 1200-meter leg, graduate student Kenny Benton in the 400-meter leg, sophomore Parker Raymond in the 800-meter leg and graduate student Ben Veatch anchoring the mile leg.
The group’s third-place time of 9:22.78 garnered the seventh-fastest time in NCAA history and also set a new program and Big Ten record. Both Benton’s 46-second 400-meter leg and Veatch’s 3:53.9 mile were personal bests. Additionally, Benton and Veatch’s times in their respective legs overtook those of the University of Oregon’s previous NCAA record-holding distance medley relay times set last year by a few seconds.
Veatch said his experience helps eliminate the noise from outside voices when it comes to expectations.
“This being my sixth year, I’ve been around the block a couple of times,” Veatch said. “The momentum is certainly building and I have high expectations for myself.”
In the field events, freshman Sean Mockler continued the Hoosiers’ successful day in the weight throw. Mockler’s meet-winning mark of 21.26 meters was also a personal record and second-best in program history. To conclude the field events, sophomore Adam Strouf took fifth in the shot put with a mark of 17.14 meters.
Head coach Ron Helmer said he was satisfied overall with Indiana’s performance.
“The primary goal was to get both of those distance medleys qualified,” Helmer said. “We got done what we wanted to do here today, and I think that will give us momentum heading into next week.”
Back on the track, senior Jake Gebhardt took first place in the mile run with a personal best time of 4:03.97. Senior Dustin Horter finished in fourth with a time of 4:05.99.
The 800-meter race wrapped up Saturday’s meet. Junior Nick Couyoumjian ran a personal season-best time of 1:50.27, which was 11th overall in the meet.
Moving into next week, Veatch said that the Hoosiers’ workload will be relatively light.
“There’s no magic formula and there’s no magic workout,” Veatch said. “All the hay is in the barn already.”
The Hoosiers will travel to the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio to compete in the Big Ten Championships on Friday and Saturday. The meet kicks off at 10:50 a.m. Friday with streaming available on Big Ten Network+.