GENEVA, Ohio – Junior Safin Wills won his second medal of the weekend as the Purdue track & field team won four medals on Saturday at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Wills took silver in the triple jump, a day after he claimed bronze in the long jump. Bronze medals were won by fifth-year senior Antonio Mitchell II in the 200m, freshman Praise Aniamaka in the triple jump and freshman Shianne Dacosta in the 400-meter on Saturday. All four Boilermakers earned their first career Big Ten medals this weekend.
The Boilermakers totaled 15 top-eight podium finishes at the two-day conference championships. Ten top-10 marks in school history were recorded and 20 personal-best marks were achieved.
Wills was joined by Mitchell II and fifth-year senior Curt Eckstein with multiple individual top-seven finishes. Mitchell II was fifth in the 60m to go along with his bronze in the 200m, while Eckstein was seventh in the 5,000m less than 24 hours after he placed fourth in thee 3,000m. Mitchell II also helped the men’s 4×400 relay team to a fourth-place finish for his third spot on the podium, and Dacosta was part of the women’s 4×400 relay squad that was fourth to earn her second top-four finish of the championships.
In the Purdue record books, Dacosta and Mitchell II each moved up in the 400m and 200m, respectively, for a second consecutive day, and Mitchell II also moved up in the 60m. Senior Johnny Vanos climbed the chart in the weight throw and senior Camille Christopher rose in the 200m while they earned podium finishes. Wills entered the top-10 list in the triple jump and the women’s 4×400 relay also earned a top-10 time.
In the team standings, the men finished seventh overall with 48 points. The Boilermakers finished in the top seven for a fourth consecutive year (2019-22), which comes after they placed outside the top nine each of the previous four years (2015-18) and in nine of the previous 13 (2006-18). The women were 12th with 21 points.
Wills led a strong showing by the Old Gold and Black in the triple jump, as Purdue was second, third and seventh. Strong jumps on his final two attempts earned Wills his second medal in as many days. In fifth after four jumps, he moved into third with a mark of 15.51m on his fifth jump only to best it on his sixth attempt with a mark of 15.75m. That secured the silver medal and also moved him into the top-10 at No. 8 in school history.
Aniamaka also used a big final jump to move up to third from sixth. A mark of 15.63m earned him the bronze medal by 0.09m. Fifth-year senior Tamar Greene joined Wills and Aniamaka on the podium with a seventh-place finish. A jump of 15.44m on his fifth attempt secured seventh for Greene.
With his runner-up finish, Wills was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.
Mitchell II was third in the 200m in 20.95 to earn his first Big Ten medal. A day after he entered the Purdue record books at No. 6 with a qualifying time of 21.02, he bested it with a final time that is No. 5 in school history. Earlier in the afternoon in the 60m final, Mitchell II was fifth in 6.74 seconds. That is tied for ninth-fastest in program history and comes after he ran a season-best-tying 6.77, which was tied for No. 10 all-time.
Dacosta won the first bronze medal of the day in the 400m in 53.20. As she won her first collegiate medal by 0.40 seconds, Dacosta ran the fourth-fastest time in Purdue history and the fastest since 2018. Her final time bested Friday’s prelim mark of 53.87, No. 6 in the record books, as Dacosta entered the weekend at No. 9 all-time.
The Boilermakers closed the day with a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 4×400 relay, with the help of Dacosta and Mitchell II. The women, of sophomore K’Ja Talley and Cierra Williams, Dacosta and junior Saran Kouyeth, notched the seventh-fastest time in program history, in 3:36.05. Purdue’s fastest mark since 2018, the foursome won the second heat by more than three seconds.
In the men’s relay, junior Jabari Bryant, Mitchell II, junior Justin Becker and senior Amir Harris were fourth in 3:10.60. They were first in the opening heat by more than 2.5 seconds and took fourth overall by 0.36 seconds.
Vanos registered a fifth-place finish in the weight throw and also moved up to fifth in the record books thanks to a mark of 21.34m. He was seventh after the second round, but moved up two spots on his sixth and final attempt thanks to the best throw by a Boilermaker since 2015.
A pair of Boilermakers raced together in the 200m, as junior Kerris Roberts and Christopher were fifth and sixth, respectively. Roberts was fifth and ran a season-best 23.74 to top her prelim time of 23.95. Christopher was just behind her in sixth in 23.90, which is the sixth-fastest mark in the Purdue record books.
The final individual event of the day was the 5,000m, where Eckstein secured his second podium finish in a distance event in as many days. He ran a season-best time of 13:59.92 to place seventh, which came 22 hours after he was fourth in the 3,000m.
Also on Saturday, junior My’Khiyah Williams (1,70m) notched a personal-best mark and senior Mackenzie Barrett (1.65m) and sophomore Gage Ernsberger (2.00m) tied their PRs, all in the high jump competition. Fifth-year senior Alexis Zatta (1.70m) had a season-best jump in the high jump and sophomore Deborah Obadofin (11.81m) notched a season-best triple jump mark.
On Friday, Purdue earned two top-six finishes and qualified five for Saturday’s finals. Additionally, three top-10 marks in school history were set to go along with seven personal-bests and three season-bests. In addition to Wills and Eckstein, senior Jessica Bray was sixth in the pole vault to score points for Purdue.
Up next, the outdoor track & field season begins on March 18.
For more on the Purdue track & field and cross country program, visit PurdueSports.com/TrackField and follow and connect with the Boilermakers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.