Coover Skies, Neeleys Fly on Day 3 at USA’s

DES MOINES, Iowa – Indiana track and field continued action at the USA Jr. and Sr. Championships on Friday. IU alum Jeff Coover cleared a lifetime best to take fourth in the pole vault, just one place out of a spot on Team USA for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. IU signee Bethany Neeley ran the third fastest time ever by an American high schooler in her first ever 3,000m steeplechase, taking second and earning a spot of Team USA for the Pan-Am Junior Championships in Colombia. Neeley’s sister Brittany ran a state record in the 800m and finished just .22 out of joining her sister in Colombia. IU alums De’Sean Turner and Andrew Poore both advanced through the prelims of the steeplechase as well.

Coover cleared 5.60m (18-4.5) for fourth place, finishing behind third-placer Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts only because Whitt cleared the bar on his first attempt, while Coover cleared on his second. The bar is a lifetime best for Coover and is the IAAF World “B” standard, meaning had he finished third, he would’ve had a spot on Team USA. The La Jolla, Calif., native graduated from IU in 2010 and currently trains in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Bethany Neeley clocked a time of 10:19.83 which is the third-fastest time ever by a U.S. high schooler and a state of Indiana high school record in the 3,000m steeplechase. Neeley was second to the U.S. high school record holder, Brianna Nerud, who set the record with a time of 10:00.72 a year ago and now runs for Syracuse. Nerud was an NCAA qualifier in the event this season as a freshman. Neeley’s time is her third Indiana high school state record over the last 14 days, as she broke state records in the 4×800 relay, 1,600m, 2,000m steeplechase and now the 3,000m steeplechase. Making this feat more impressive is this is Neeley’s first ever steeplechase at 3,000 meters, with the 2,000m steeplechase record-breaking race, being her only other foray into the world of steeplechase, which is an event not contested by the IHSAA. With her second-place finish, Neeley will join Nerud on Team USA at the Pan-American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia, on August 23-25.

Brittany Neeley finished just .22 out of joining her sister in Colombia. She clocked a new Indiana high school record of her own, running 2:06.68 for third in the junior women’s 800 meters. She was .22 out of second and .33 out of the win, finishing behind Olicia Williams of Baylor and Claudia Saunders of Stanford. She bettered four collegiate in the race, but was unable to track down the other top two in the home straightaway. Brittany also ran on the state record 4×800 and breaks her own 800m state record. She and Bethany will enroll at IU in August.

De’Sean Turner and Andrew Poore both advanced to the final of the senior men’s 3,000m steeplechase. Turner clocked a time of 8:46.62 for fourth in the second heat, claiming an automatic spot in the final. Poore was sixth in the same heat with a time of 8:49.84, which was the second-fastest non-automatic time, clinching a spot in the final. Both Turner and Poore graduated from Indiana in 2012, and both train in Bloomington with Turner running for Team Indiana Elite and Poore training under IU head coach Ron Helmer and serving as one of IU’s volunteer assistant coaches.

Kind Butler ran 10.24 for 14th in the men’s 100m semifinals.

The Hoosiers continue action at the USA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday. Butler runs in the first round of the 200m on Saturday. For complete coverage of all things IU track and field

 Jeff Coover
Jeff Coover


Leave A Comment