Thomas, Black race to wins at Big Ten Track Championship

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Boilermakers won seven event Big Ten titles on the final day of the conference championships, including three by senior Devynne Charlton. The women finished second with 132 points, while the men were 11th with 39.

The women's 132 points are the most scored to not win the meet since Michigan had 138.75 in 2009 and finished runner-up when there were 10 teams in the league.

"It was very close," head coach Lonnie Greene said. "Minnesota did a great job the first two days amassing points. I knew we would make a good run at it, but we came up two points short. I don't like coming up short, but I'm grateful for our team. I think we'll move up in the rankings, but now we have to do what we have to do at regionals and the national championships. This was a fast meet. I'm going to give the team a few days off and then we're going to come back fresh and prepare for the national meets."

Charlton and classmate Savannah Roberson were busy on the final day of the meet. Both started their day with the 4x100-meter relay before running the 100-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. In the 4x100-meter relay, sophomore Sekayi Bracey ran the first leg, Roberson the second, junior Yakira Love the third and Charlton the anchor. The team ran its best race of the year winning gold for the Boilermakers for the fourth year in a row with a time of 43.94 seconds. That is the third-fastest time in school history. Roberson and Charlton have both been on three of the Big Ten Champion 4x1 teams.

Purdue is one of just three schools to win the 4x100-meter relay four times in a row, including the first to do so since 2000 to 2003 when Indiana pulled off the feat. The Boilermakers had never won the 400-meter relay prior to Greene arriving in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Charlton and Roberson then lined up in the 100-meter hurdles. Charlton led from gun to tape, finishing with a time of 13.07 seconds. Roberson had to play catchup and did. She was fourth with two hurdles to go and third at the final hurdle. She wouldn't be denied the silver medal and out-leaned Minnesota's Emma Spagnola by 0.003 of a second to cross the line in 13.29 seconds. Charlton's win is her second in a row.

Just 25 minutes later, Charlton and Roberson stepped into the blocks for the 100-meter dash, as did Love. Charlton cruised to her third gold of the day with a school-record time of 11.22 seconds. It is her third 100-meter dash gold medal during her Purdue career. Roberson earned her third medal of the day with a bronze-medal time of 11.39 seconds. Her time is a wind-legal personal record and ranks third in school history. Love added three points with a sixth-place finish time of 11.60 seconds.

Charlton is the fourth woman in conference history to win three 100-meter dash titles in her career and the first since Penn State's Connie Moore won three in a row from 2002 to 2004. Charlton is the first woman to go back-to-back in the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles since Ohio State's Christina Manning repeated both in 2012.

Charlton and Roberson then headed to the 200-meter dash finals where they were met by teammates Chloe Abbott and Brionna Thomas. Thomas was the fastest of the bunch finishing with a school-record time of 22.99 seconds to finish third. Abbott finished fourth overall with a personal-record time of 23.17 seconds, which ranks third in school history. Roberson matched her wind-legal PR as he finished in 23.26 seconds to take fifth. Charlton had a wind-legal PR and crossed the line in 23.61 seconds, good for the fifth-fastest in school history.

Charlton scored 24.5 points on the day, while Roberson had 20.5. For her outdoor career, Charlton scored 72.25 points at outdoor Big Ten meets. Roberson had 39.5.

Thomas was busy, too. On top of her 200-meter dash school record, Thomas shattered the 400-meter dash school record and won Purdue's first outdoor title in the 400-meter dash in the fastest quarter-mile race in the history of the conference. She sat among the leaders for the first 300 meters, before coming around the final curve full speed. She hunted down and passed the field, finishing with a time of 51.13 seconds. That broke the school record she set earlier this year by 0.59 of a second. Only twice in women's conference history, which dates to 1982, has a woman run a time under 52 seconds to win the meet. Only one was faster than Thomas'. At the time of the race's completion, Thomas' time was the ninth-fastest in the world this year.

Abbott had her best weekend as a Boilermaker in the 400m dash. She followed up Saturday's big performance, where she broke 52 seconds for the first time, with another personal-record performance. Abbott finished fourth with a time of 51.80 seconds, which is the second-fastest time in school history and 10th fastest in the country. Her time, while fourth in the race, is the fifth-fastest ever run at a Big Ten Championship.

Senior Jahneya Mitchell was also in the race and ran a career-best time of 52.37 seconds to finish seventh. Her time is the third-fastest in school history and ranks 21st in the country.

Abbott, Thomas and Mitchell teamed with senior Symone Black for the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the meet. The team came in with the second-fastest time in the country and nearly matched that time despite largely running alone out front. Abbott gave Purdue a big lead on the first leg, before Thomas lengthened it. Black split 52.32 seconds on third leg, before Mitchell ran the fastest split of any runner on any team - 51.76 seconds. The team crossed the line in 3:28.98 seconds which broke the Big Ten Championships record by 2.24 seconds. The win is Purdue's first outdoors in the 4x4 since 2001.

Black's split wasn't a surprise considering her dominance in the 400-meter hurdles earlier in the day - and throughout her career. The senior was out front from the first hurdle and never trailed, finishing with a time of 56.16 seconds to win her third career title in the event. She is one of just three women in conference history to win the event three times in her career, joining former Boilermaker Sybil Perry who won the 1984, 1986 and 1987 titles.

Sophomore Waseem Williams won a title for the men Sunday. He was first out of the blocks in the 100-meter dash and never looked back, posting a wind-legal time of 10.10 seconds. The time broke the school record by 0.08 of a second. Williams' win completed the indoor-outdoor short sprint sweep after he won the 60-meter dash earlier in the year. Williams is the first Boilermaker to complete that sweep since alum Raheem Mostert did so in 2014. Williams' time is tied for the 16th-fastest in the world among wind-legal times.

The Boilermakers swept the indoor 60-meter dash and outdoor 100-meter dashes, as well as won the 100-meter hurdles and women's 4x100-meter relay.

Williams was also in the 200-meter dash. He ran a time of 20.83 to finish sixth.

"We're a team built on speed and power," Greene said. "If that's our signature, we have to represent there. We're going to continue to do that while building up the distance and some other areas. We have a good team effort. I like the way the women performed, now I just need to get the men competing more consistently."

The women had two score in the discus. Senor Micaela Hazlewood took fourth after a throw of 53.92 meters (176-11) on her final attempt. Freshman Molly Leppelmeier had a career-best throw in the first flight which helped her score. She recorded a mark of 52.36 meters (171-9) which held on for eighth place. Her throw ranks sixth in school history.

Freshman Rahmon Minor had a fourth-place finish in the men's high jump. He came up clutch on third attempts twice - once at 2.11 meters (6-11) and once at 2.14 meters (7-0.25). Minor then cleared 2.17 meters (7-1.50) on his second attempt, which was his final clearance. His finished earned five points.

Senior Justin Veteto had a fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with the fastest wind-legal race of his career. He posted a time of 13.68 seconds, which is the fifth-fastest time in school history, to earn five points. His time is among the 10 fastest in the country this year.

The men had fifth-place finishes in both relays. In the 4x100-meter relay, the team of Gerald McGeeMalcolm DotsonShawndail McLaren and Williams posted a time of 39.60 seconds to earn four points. The 4x400-meter relay team was Kinard Rolle, Dotson, Veteto and McLaren. McLaren closed with a split of 46.66 seconds to help the team cross the line in 3:10.07 and earn four points.

Sophomore Ashmon Lucas grabbed a point in the nation's toughest discus field. Including Lucas, the Big Ten boasts six of the top nine discus throwers in the country. Lucas, who is the national leader, placed eighth in the field after throwing 56.22 meters (184-5).

On the women's side, 21 individuals in the conference earned first team All-Big Ten honors, including a conference-high nine from Purdue. Abbott, Black, Bracey, Charlton, Love, Mitchell, Moffitt, Roberson and Thomas were the women honored. On the men's side Williams earned first team honors.

The Boilermakers will take the next few days off before learning their individual regional fates later in the week. Purdue is in the NCAA East Region and will compete in Tampa, Florida, May 24, 25 and 26.

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