Is Faith Sherrill finally ready to rock the national track scene?
Signs point to it.
Yes, her big-time throw of 60-foot-4.5 shot put in Saturday’s NCAA regional meet didn’t count because it came in warm-ups, but it demonstrated better than anything else the Indiana senior’s potential. Of course, so did her previous four Big Ten titles and being a four-time All-American, but this effort, coming just two weeks before the outdoor nationals in Iowa, indicates she’s about to end her national meet frustrations.
And as a senior, it's her last shot.
Sherrill has never won a national title, but has seemingly challenged for years. In last winter’s indoor nationals, she came in seeded first and finished fourth.
Sherrill eventually led all regional competitors on Saturday with a throw of 17.51 meters, which is 57-foot-5.5. That was nearly two feet better than anyone else.
She is one of eight Hoosier track athletes to qualify for the outdoor nationals.
Another is fellow shot putter Monique Riddick. She earned the 12th and final spot with a throw of 16.24 meters (53-foot-3.5).
Sarah Pease, De’Sean Turner, Andrew Poore and Andy Weatherford all made it in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Pease had an automatic qualifying time of 10:09.14. Poore ran an 8:51.32, Weatherford had an 8:46.62 and Turner got in with an 8:39.40. Turner’s time is the third best in IU history.
A pair of pole vaulters made it. Vera Neuenswander led the field by clearing 13-foot-1.5 without a miss. Ahbe also cleared 13-1.5. Ahbe is making her second straight appearance at nationals.
It appears that IU’s Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls are making the most of their China experience. Both played on a Reach USA team that is 5-1-1 on its Chinese tour. Reach USA beat a Lithuanian Club team 104-99 with Oladipo totaling 13 points, three assists and three steals, and Hulls adding 12 points, four rebounds and two steals.
In an earlier win over Lithuania, Hulls had 12 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting while Oladipo had six points, four rebounds and three assists. In another game, Oladipo had eight points and eight rebounds, and hit a buzzer-beating game-winning three-pointer.
It looks like both are averaging around 7.8 points on the trip.
Oladipo and Hulls are among the 10 college players involved in this cultural exchange program with Reach USA. The trip ends on Tuesday.
Here’s a final thought about the drama involving A-HOPE, Indiana and recruiting.
Unless something far bigger emerges, IU won’t suffer any consequences and standout forward Hanner Perea will play for the Hoosiers. Yes, A-HOPE official and Indiana Elite coach Mark Adams supplied Perea with benefits such as air fare home to Columbia, but whether that violates NCAA rules, as implied in the ESPN.com story, is unclear.
There’s a big gray area here because A-HOPE is a non-profit organization and, as such, can do things other entities can’t. Adams has insisted he went through IU’s compliance department and the NCAA to make sure rules weren’t broken.
Figure the NCAA will take a deeper look at that, and eventually ban any kind of benefits for any athletes, even from non-profit agencies. That will clear up any confusion.
Until the next problem emerges.