WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s and women’s track and field teams continue their indoor season on Saturday, hosting intrastate rival Indiana for a dual meet at Lambert Fieldhouse. The meet will be scored in dual format, awarding points to the first three finishers in each event in a 5-3-1 order, and is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
In just the second year of what both schools hope to become an annual rivarlry, the Boilermakers will host the intrastate dual for the first time. Indiana won both the men’s and women’s competitions last year at Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Ind., taking the men’s side, 96-40, and the women’s, 93-43.
Purdue looks to rebound from those losses this weekend, and hope to get a wealth of help from several standouts making their season debut and a few first-years coming off outstanding collegiate openers.
“We’re very excited to host this meet and encourage fans to come watch us battle IU in a competitive atmosphere,” said Boilermaker head coach Jack Warner.
“The team scoring and head-to-head battle adds a different intensity than that of a typical track and field meet.”
Seniors Shane Crawford and Josh Hembrough and sophomore Geoff Davis will all compete for the first time in 2011 on Saturday, bringing some high-end speed and explosiveness to the men’s side. Crawford had a breakout 2010 season, shattering the Purdue record, winning a Big Ten title and qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter dash.
Hembrough is a two-time Big Ten Champion and 2009 All-American in the 60-meter hurdles, boasting a career-best time of 7.77 seconds in the event in his sophomore season. Davis stormed on to the conference scene in his rookie campaign, qualifying for both the indoor and outdoor national championship in the high jump, placing at the Big Ten Championship meets, including a runner-up finish outdoors, and clearing a top height of 2.22 meters (7-03.25).
“All three of these guys are anxious to get their seasons going,” said Warner. “It adds a little something extra for them to get this opportunity against Indiana, and even more for Shane and Josh as it’s their final year of school.”
The Boilermaker women will see the limited return of senior, two-time All-American Stacey Wannemacher on Saturday, who is anxious to kick off her final collegiate season.
Wannemacher owns both the indoor and outdoor shot put records for Purdue, tossing a career-best indoor mark of 16.47 meters (54-00.50) last season, and boasts the No. 3 mark in school history in the weight throw at 19.90 meters (65-03.50). Coming off of a knee injury, Wannemacher will most likely compete in the weight throw, but not the shot put on Saturday.
Wannemacher will be in good company in her Old Gold and Black uniform, competing alongside breakout first-year Dani Bunch, who launched herself into the Boilermaker record books in her first collegiate event last weekend.
Bunch logged the fifth-best mark in school history in both the shot put and weight throw, marking 15.35 meters (50-04.50) in the shot put and 19.20 meters (63-00.00) in the weight throw. She’s currently ranked eighth in the nation in the shot put and 10th in the weight throw.
“We’re thrilled about out possibilities in the women’s throws area this season,” said Warner. “Stacey and Dani are both outstanding competitors and they’re really just two out of a group of impressive individuals.
“Last weekend was a great opener for Dani, and with Stacey back competing alongside her this weekend we look for more big things.”
Also looking to follow up a solid opening performance is sophomore Camille Buscomb, who is set to compete in the one-mile run on Saturday. Buscomb sat out the 2010 track and field season with injuries and returned to the track with a first-place effort in the 800-meter run at last weekend’s Purdue Invitational with a time of 2:17.61.
The Hoosiers come to West Lafayette with a group of very impressive individuals, but none more so than reigning Big Ten Field Athletes of the Week, Faith Sherrill and Derek Drouin.
Sherrill topped Bunch for the women’s field athlete of the week award, shattering the Big Ten and Indiana Indoor records in the shot put with a mark of 18.00 meters (59-00.75, good for automatic qualification to the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Drouin, a two-time NCAA Champion in the men’s high jump, wasted no time in setting the bar high, clearing 2.27 meters (7-05.25) to automatically qualify for nationals and tie for the nation’s best mark in the event. Sherrill will also throw the weight this weekend, while Drouin will most likely run the 60-meter hurdles as well as he heads into the weekend with one of the top times in the conference at 8.16 seconds.
The field events will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, while the Boilermakers and Hoosiers hit the track at 3 p.m. Live results will be available at PurdueSports.com courtesy of Delta Timing Group (http://deltatiming.com/).