TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Fourteen members of the Indiana State track & field team will be traveling to South Bend, Ind., this weekend for the Alex Wilson Invitational, a last chance meet held the week before the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Some of those attending will be looking to move into position for a bid to the NCAA Championships while others are going after career best efforts in their final competition of the indoor season against some of the best in the Midwest.
Lyke won the long jump at the MVC Indoor Championships for the second straight year with a leap of 24-feet-7-inches (7.49 meters). He will need to add at least another six inches to that distance to have a chance at advancing to the NCAA Championship with the current mark to make the NCAAs at 25-feet-0.5-inches (7.63 meters).
Zangmeister ran a career best 17:09.40 at the Grand Valley State Big Meet earlier this year and finished fifth in the 5,000 meters at the MVC Indoor Championships. The Sycamore is looking for one more fast race for the indoor season as she pursues not only a shot at the NCAA Championships but also the school record of 16:59.86 which was set in 2005 by Jessica Crowder.
Robert Webb and Shalesa Smith will be competing in the triple jump on Saturday with the men starting at 11 a.m. and the women’s competition following. Webb has a career best distance of 47-feet-3.5-inches (14.41 meters) and is hoping to become just the seventh Sycamore to jump past 50-feet. Smith has a career best distance of 40-feet-5.5-inches (12.33 meters) which is the third best in school history.
Duane Brown, Greggmar Swift, and Adarius Washington will run in the 60 meter hurdles with the preliminaries at 11:10 a.m. and the finals at 12:05 p.m. Swift will be competing at the NCAA Championships after winning the MVC Indoor title with a career best 7.67 seconds which is the fifth fastest in the nation. He is also chasing the Indiana State record of 7.61 seconds set by Aubrey Herring in 2001. Washington an a career best 7.97 in finishing second at the MVC Indoors which is 10th best in Sycamore history and just two-tenths of a second away from having a shot of advancing to the NCAA Championship. Brown also posted a career best this season with a time of 8.02 seconds.
Richelle Kimble and Kimyanna Rudolph are scheduled to compete in the women’s pole vault which starts at 12:00 p.m. Saturday. Rudolph continued Indiana State’s tradition of dominance at the MVC Indoor Championships as she won the title with a career best height of 12-feet-11.5-inches (3.95 meters). Kimble cleared a season best height of 12-feet-7.5-inches (3.85 meters) to tie for second at the MVC Indoors and established a career best last season by clearing 13-feet-5-inches (4.05 meters) which is third best in school history.
Stacia Weatherford will compete in the women’s 400 meters at 12:20 p.m. Saturday, an event she has not run since posting a time of 56.79 at the Coughlan-Malloy Cup in January. She ran a career best 55.85 a year ago but will need to run under 53 seconds to have a shot at the NCAA Championships.
Shelby Higginbottom and Leeann Michl are both competing in the women’s 800 meters which will go at 12:40 p.m. Saturday. Michl won the MVC Indoor title in the event in 2:11.33 and has a season best time of 2:08.87 at the Meyo Invitational which was held on the same track she will be running on Saturday. She has a career best of 2:08.47 which is third best in Sycamore history behind current head coach Angie (Bruecker) Martin (2:06.19 in 2000) and school record holder Erica Moore (2:04.94 in 2009) who set the mark at Notre Dame. Higginbottom ranks eighth on the all-time list with a time of 2:13.37 at Notre Dame earlier this season. Both will have to be under 2:06 to have a chance at the NCAA Championships.
Rounding out the competition for Indiana State will be Dustin Betz and Corey Hahn who will compete in the men’s mile at 1:40 p.m. Saturday. Betz ran a career best 4:06.71 at the Tyson Invitational which ranks fourth on the all-time list. He finished second at the MVC Indoors (4:13.64) while Hahn has a career best 4:11.96 set at the Grand Valley State Big Meet. Both are chasing the school record of 4:04.04 set by Jeremiah Vaughan in 2010 and would have to run under four minutes to have a chance at the NCAA Championships.
Two athletes that have already punched their ticket to the NCAA Championships will not be competing this weekend. Felisha Johnson currently ranks first nationally in the weight throw and second in the shot put. She won the 2011 NCAA title in the weight throw and finished fourth a year ago. Brandon Pounds currently ranks second in the men’s weight throw. Both athletes set schools records in their events this season with Johnson throwing a career best distance of 75-feet-8-inches (23.06 meters) in the weight throw and 58-feet-4.75-inches (17.80 meters) in the shot put while Pounds set the mark in the men’s weight throw with a distance of 73-feet-11.75-inches (22.55 meters).
The NCAA Championships will be held at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 8-9.
Steffen, Tuttle Receive Elite 18 Awards At MVC Indoor Championships
Junior Kelly Steffen (Bloomington HS/Bloomington, Ill.) was named a co-recipient of the Missouri Valley Conference’s Women’s Elite 18 Award and shares the honor with Bradley’s Sarah McMahon. Junior Max Tuttle (Bloomington North HS/Bloomington, Ind.) was named the recipient of the Men’s Elite 18 Award. Steffen has a 4.00 grade point average (GPA) while majoring in Math Education while Tuttle has a 3.72 GPA while majoring in Exercise Science.
The two are the first track & field athletes to receive the honor from the Missouri Valley Conference and just the third Indiana State athlete to be honored. Lucas Eitel received the award in 2011 for men’s basketball.
Elite 18 Award Program was established by the Missouri Valley Conference in the
fall of 2010 to honor the highest achievement in academics and athletics by a
student-athlete in each MVC-sponsored sport. Modeled after the NCAA Elite 88
Academic Recognition Award Program, the MVC Elite 18 award is presented to the
student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average competing at
the finals site at each of the MVC’s 18 team championships.
The selection process varies for each sport, and winners are chosen from a list of nominations submitted by MVC institutions. For the team sports of soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, baseball and softball, the winner will be chosen from the two teams participating in the championship game or match. For cross country, golf, swimming and diving, and track and field, the winners will be chosen from nominated student-athletes who have met a athletic performance threshold.
Swift, Johnson Named Most Outstanding At MVC Indoor Championships
Junior Greggmar Swift was named the Most Outstanding men’s track athlete and senior Felisha Johnson the Most Outstanding women’s field athlete at the conclusion of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Swift dominated the men’s 60 meter hurdles and won his first MVC Indoor title with a career best time of 7.67 seconds. The time ranks him sixth on the national performance list.
Johnson won her first MVC Indoor title in the women’s weight throw with a distance of 74-feet-0.25-inches (22.56 meters). She also finished second in the shot put with a throw of 54-feet-3.25-inches (16.54 meters). The senior leads the nation in the weight throw (75-feet-8-inches) and is ranked second in the shot put (58-feet-4.75-inches). Both distances are school records.
McNichols Named Coach of the Year At MVC Indoor Championships
Indiana State men’s coach John McNichols has been the head coach for 89 conference championships (cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field) and received his second Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year award for men’s indoor track & field after the Sycamores won their second conference championship in three years at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. McNichols received his first indoor track & field award in 2011.
McNichols, who has been the Sycamore head coach for 30 years, has accumulated 19 Coach of the Year awards including eight in cross country and nine in outdoor track & field. The Sycamores have won 18 conference championships under McNichols’ guidance (eight outdoor, two indoor, eight cross country) and have finished in the top three in 64 of his 89 events. As coordinator of the combined track & field and cross country program at Indiana State, McNichols has seen the Sycamores win 30 conference titles (18 men and 12 women).
Eight Earn Championships & 23 Earn All-Conference Recognition at MVC Indoors
Men’s All-Conference: Robert Webb (3rd Heptathlon), Derek Bunch (1st Shot Put), Maurice Lyke (1st Long Jump and 3rd Triple Jump), Keith Housley (3rd 60 meters), Justin Baxtron (2nd 200 meters), Arqeil Shaw (1st 400 meters), Jonathan Jackson (2nd 800 meters), Dustin Betz (2nd mile and 3rd 3,000 meters), John Mascari (2nd 5,000 meters), Corey Hahn (2nd DMR), Max Tuttle (2nd DMR), Brad Adams (2nd DMR), Gabe Ocasio (2nd DMR).
Women’s All-Conference: Katie Wise (1st 60 meters), Stacia Weatherford (3rd 200 meters, 2nd 60 hurdles and 3rd 4x400 relay), Leeann Michl (1st 800 meters and 3rd 4x400 relay), Kalyn Davis (3rd high jump), Kimyanna Rudolph (1st pole vault), Richelle Kimble (2nd pole vault), Felisha Johnson (1st weight throw and 2nd shot put), Kelly Steffen (3rd Pentathlon), Macey Black (3rd 4x400 relay), Shelby Higginbottom (3rd 4x400 relay).