BLOOMINGTON --Two former Greencastle graduates are making their mark on the Indiana University track program.
Freshman Andy Weatherford has qualified for the NCAA Mid East Regional after posting a 9:04.89 at the Jesse Owens Track Classic on May 2. In his most recent outing, Weatherford finished fifth in the steeplechase with a time of 9:04.43, which is a new Indiana University freshman record.
Weatherford will need to finish in the top five at regional to advance to the National competition but also can advance if his time remains close to the top.
"I will probably need to run about 8:50 to move on with that type of call back," Weatherford said.
The steeplechase is a 3,000-meter race that includes hurdles and water jumps. Weatherford was a 1,600 specialist in high school and is making the transition to the steeplechase almost easy.
He acknowledged that the training for the steeplechase remains close to his distance training with the exception of some hurdling drills.
"There isn't too much that is different from the distance training that I normally do," Weatherford commented. "I still run mileage with the rest of the distance crew, about 70 miles a week, and do about two workouts a week.
"What is different is the frills that I will often do after my distance workouts with my steeple coach Tom Chorny. We do a few simple hurdle drills over regular hurdles, just working on perfecting my hurdling technique and form. After that we will often practice a few water jumps, which includes practicing stepping on the water barrier and also completely hurdling it. We do these about once a week," he said.
Weatherford is in good hands as Chorny captured the National Steeplechase championship in 2001.
Weatherford will next compete at the NCAA Mid East Regional in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 30.
Greencastle graduate Kristen Ness finished seventh in hammer throw for the Indiana University women's track and field team on May 16 at the Big Ten Outdoor Champion-ships at the Illinois Track Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.
Kristen, a sophomore, threw a personal best of 169 feet to pick up two team points for the Hoosiers. Event winner Veronica Jatsek from Ohio State won with an NCAA regional qualifying throw of 62.04 meters.
"I felt good after I threw a personal record on my first throw." Ness said. "I did not know if it would stand up; there were a lot of really good hammer throwers out there."
After the competition, Hoosier coach Jermaine Jones said he was very pleased with Ness's performance. "Kristen threw very well. I love scoring points at championship meets, especially outdoors."
"This gives me a good foundation to build on. I plan to have a good summer in the weight room and have some fun during the indoor track season," Ness said.
Ness is a 2006 graduate of Greencastle High School, who still holds the high school shot put record. During her Tiger Cub career, she was two-year state finalist for the shot put.