Panthers host Big Blue Classic

Thursday, April 6 2006

Derrick Johnson II/Daily Eastern News

Posted: 4/6/06

The Panthers are expecting to see an increase in competition as they host the Big Blue Classic track and field meet this weekend.

The meet is scheduled to begin today with the Neil Moore Multi-Events, followed by the Distance and Throws Carnival Friday and concludes with the Big Blue Classic Saturday. Overall the meet is expected to bring in more than 600 competitors head coach Tom Akers said.

A track meet that caters to this many competitors usually draws in the best athletes that each team has to offer in all areas.

Indiana State University will have no shortage of intense competitors waiting for the Panthers this weekend, long-distance coach Geoff Masanet said.

"Indiana State has good distance kids that they're bringing over," Masanet said. "A lot of them are going to be running the 5k, 10k and the steeple chase Friday night so those are going to be very good events.

"Marquette has some kids that they're bringing down and they've always been a real strong distance program. Their woman's cross country team is actually one of the best in the country.

"So those teams in themselves are going to bring in some really good competition."

The coaches are not the only ones who expect to see solid competition to this weekend. Sophomore Brad Butler expects the competition in the 1500-meter run and the 5k to be intense, he said.

"The competition will be pretty good," Butler said. "I'm not worried about that. I will definitely have people there to push me and hopefully I'll be in the middle of the pack."

When the competition is expected to be this high, athletes tend to worry less about finishing in the top three and more about breaking their personal records.

By constantly lowering their times and extending their height or distance each athlete comes closer to everyone's ultimate goal of qualifying for Regionals.

Butler already has his personal goals set for the Big Blue Classic, he said.

"It'd be nice to get 15 (minutes) in the 5k and to just PR in the 1500 which would be 4:07 or under," Butler said.
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