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April 25, 2013

Foot Notes: ISU track athletes looking to keep improving at Drake Relays

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State’s track schedule has helped its men’s and women’s teams escape the glacial Wabash Valley weather and enjoy warm days in Auburn, Ala., and Knoxville, Tenn.

With the Sycamores’ track facility basically laid to rest for competition and construction on a new one planned near the Wabash River to begin in 2014, major kudos go to everyone involved for continuing to produce athletes that are NCAA contenders who race with some of the world’s best.

Some of ISU’s current athletes are hoping for season-best performances this weekend against strong competition in the Drake Relays.

Former Sycamore NCAA pole-vault champion Kylie Hutson, who competes professionally for Nike and trains in her hometown of Terre Haute, also has been in Des Moines, Iowa, to compete in the Pole Vault in the Mall on Wednesday night.

Felisha Johnson is looking to cap her senior year in a big way, ranking No. 2 in the NCAA in the women’s shot put (59 feet, 4 3/4 inches) on the heels of her 2013 indoor title in the weight throw.

Brandon Pounds is the highest-ranking ISU male at 12th in the nation in hammer throw (213-5).

Hurdler Greggmar Swift has been unable to shave time in the 110-meter hurdles since running a 13.91 at Auburn on April 6. The Barbados native ranks 24th in the NCAA, while junior teammate Maurice Lyke is up to 40th in the nation with his time of 14.03.

“We’ve had a lot of days interrupted as this one has been,” ISU men’s coach John McNichols said while watching a downpour from his office window. “Leading into the Auburn meet, we really only had one day where we were able to practice outdoors. And it was 75 degrees and felt like we were in a heat wave. It’s just been one of those springs.”

Several Wabash Valley athletes are close to earning berths in the NCAA East Regional competition, which requires cracking the top 48 times in this half of the United States.

Terre Haute South graduate Taylor Head has continued his excellent first year of collegiate competition by moving into 48th in the 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 9:11.17 at the Jesse Owens Classic last weekend at Ohio State. Senior Dustin Betz of ISU is 32nd in the nation.

Terre Haute North grad John Mascari ranks 47th in the East in the 10,000 with his lone run of 30:00.2, so he’s on the bubble and will need to drop under 30 minutes to make the postseason.

Another North graduate, Indiana University senior Zach Mayhew, ranks No. 2 in the East and No. 6 in the nation in the 5,000 with a time of 13:41.95.

Two more former Patriots on the bubble looking to improve are Connor Curley is 57th in the East in the pole vault with a jump of 16-0 3/4, and Shaun Smith at 56th in the 100 with a time of 10.52.

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