Indiana track and field competed in the Big Ten Championships over the weekend. The men’s team placed fourth and the women’s fifth after a competitive two-day stretch. The indoor championships held in Geneva, Ohio, was the last for Indiana head coach Ron Helmer. Helmer has won four indoor titles and the program overall has 24 titles.
In the first men’s event of the weekend, junior Nathan Stone placed first in the pole vault with a height of 5.45 meters. Sophomore Tyler Carrel and freshman Riley Johnston both finished inside the top ten, placing fifth and tenth, respectively. Stone’s second career gold is the fourth for the Hoosiers in the last five indoor championships.
Senior Hope Purcell took the gold in the women’s pentathlon with a score of 4109. Purcell grabbed first place in the high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter dash. The only event in which she did not place first was the 60-meter hurdle where she was second. Purcell is the first pentathlete Big Ten champion for Indiana since the 1990s.
Junior Jake Gebhardt placed second in the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 14:08.65. Following Gebhardt’s footsteps, junior Sarah Schmitt placed second in the women’s race with 16:08.70.
Junior Jessica Mercier grabbed a bronze medal in the women’s pole vault with a height of 4.19 meters. Along with Purcell, juniors Paola Fernandez-Sola and Serena Bolden placed in the top seven of the women’s long jump final, with Fernandez winning a silver medal at a height of 6.26 meters.
The Hoosiers finished the night with the men’s and women’s distance medley relays. The women's finished in sixth place at a pace of 11:19.04, and the men placed fifth with a time of 9:41.06.
After the first night, the men’s team was in second place with a score of 30. Wisconsin was in first with a team score of 46. Lead by Purcell’s huge night, the women’s team was comfortably in first place with a score of 41. Michigan was behind them in second with a score of 22.
Starting off the second day of competition, junior Grayson Rolen snagged fourth place in the men’s high jump with a height of 2.12 meters. In the final men’s field event of the weekend, junior Noah Koch placed sixth and threw for 18.24 meters in the shot-put final.
Junior Antonio Laidler continued to impress this season in the men’s 60-meter dash and took home the silver medal with a time of 6.69 seconds. Laidler also placed fourth in the 200 meters with a time of 20.97 seconds.
The Hoosiers continued their distance-running hot streak. Junior Jake Gebhardt ran for a silver medal in the men’s 3,000 meters with a time of 7:51.77. In the women’s 3,000 meters, senior Jenna Barker ran a time of 9:19.50 for a bronze medal.
Finishing out the weekend in the women’s shot-put final, sophomore Jayden Ulrich placed third and threw 17.56 meters—a personal best.
The men’s team finished the weekend in fourth place with a team score of 79. Wisconsin won the meet posting a score of 110. On the women’s side, the team placed fifth with a score of 68.5 while Michigan took first place with a score of 109.
The Hoosiers head home and await the results of all conference championships from this weekend. Once scores and time are final, the list of NCAA championship qualifying times will be released, and the track and field team will know who has qualified for the indoor national championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.