Schwartzer, Ricker named back-to-back B1G Athletes of the Week

By Andy Wittry
Published Feb 5, 2014 5:26 pm

Last week, IU freshman Matt Schwartzer was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week for his performance in the three-kilometer run.

This week, he passed on that title to fellow Hoosier JR Ricker, who was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week for his winning five-kilometer run at the Indiana Relays Saturday.

Ricker's 14:07.55 5k is a Big Ten-best, and ranks third overall in the NCAA. He and Schwartzer head a strong IU distance team, who currently holds four of the top-20 times in the men's 3k and three of the top-10 times in men's 5k.

The men's distance corps led a strong performance by IU track and field over the weekend. 46 Hoosiers set an indoor personal record at the Indiana Relays.

IU Coach Ron Helmer said he sees more success coming in the weeks ahead.

"The ingredients are there," he said. "What I saw today was some depth and talent from the men's distance runners that will allow them to make their mark at the national level moving forward."

Ricker put his talents on display Saturday afternoon. The redshirt junior made it look easy, cruising past the field of experienced distance runners within the first few laps of race.

He never relinquished the lead.

"Every week, especially the last couple of weeks, I've really felt big jumps," he said. "I felt like I was out for a jog the first two miles."

The IU distance runners will take a much needed rest this weekend while the remainder of the team travels to South Bend for the Meyo Invitational.

Schwartzer, Ricker and company will be back in action a week from Friday, when IU track and field will play host to the Hoosier Hills Invitational at Gladstein Fieldhouse.

--Tori Ziege

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