(Purdue's Lambert Fieldhouse)
Over the last several months, athletes across the country have made their college commitments.
MileSplit Indiana is starting a new series called "Behind the Recruit Class", where we feature 2021 recruit classes for Indiana colleges.
First up, we have Purdue University. Many thanks to Coach Elliot for giving us some insight into the 2021 recruits.
Purdue's 2021 recruiting class features two of the top runners from Indiana, a world-class triple jumper from Canada, and a pair of cross country state champions from Michigan.
Praise Aniamaka comes from Surrey, British Columbia where he competes for the Thunderbirds Track and Field Club. Aniamaka is the best triple-jumper in Canada, and last year became the first Canadian U-18 to eclipse 15 meters in the triple jump.
"He was highly recruited and is an excellent student", said Coach Norbert Elliott, "Praise exhibits the raw tools necessary to be a really good triple jumper, and we are excited to have him here at Purdue."
Aniamaka will look to continue recent triple jump success at Purdue. Jah Strange and Tamar Greene took the top two spots in the triple jump at the 2019 Drake Relays, and both will be graduating at the end of this season.
Sarah Busch will be taking her talents to Purdue after claiming the Summit Athletic Conference cross country championship for Bishop Luers this fall. The Fort Wayne native is a three-time state finalist in cross country and reached the Hoosier State Relays as a sophomore, where she finished 11th in the 3200 Meter Run.
Elliott said of Busch, "We are excited to have Sarah join our program, she is a strong runner who will help us particularly in cross country. Sarah has huge potential and is going to develop into a strong runner on the track. She also brings a very good academic background to Purdue."
Busch just missed out on advancing to the outdoor State Finals in 2019. She will have one more shot this spring and should be one of the favorites to come out of the Marion Regional in the 3200 Meter Run.
Brett Otterbacher is the top returning athlete in Indiana the 400 Meter Dash. Otterbacher finished fourth at the State Finals as a freshman and third as a sophomore, and last summer he ran a blistering 47.48 at the CMB Outdoor Classic. The Valparaiso product will make the short move to Purdue next fall.
"He is a prototypical quarter-miler and has the size, strength, and speed", said Coach Elliott, "We want to recruit the state's best talent to Purdue, so we are fortunate to have Brett become a Boilermaker."
Otterbacher is the clear favorite to win the state title in the 400 Meter Dash this season and made our preseason top ten.
Emma Squires comes to Purdue from Petoskey, Michigan, where she won the Division 2 state championship. In her high school career, Squires has never failed to reach the state meet in cross country or track. Her best cross country time of 17:26 ranked 6th in the state of Michigan last fall.
"Emma Squires is a very talented and versatile runner." said Elliott, "Emma is a natural leader with a very optimistic view about her upcoming Purdue experience."
Nathan Walker is the Division 2 cross country state champion in Michigan out of Fremont High School. Walker won the title after qualifying for the state meet all four years of high school, and he captained Fremont to the team championship each of the last two seasons. Walker also notched a fourth-place finish at the XC Town Meet of Champions last fall.
"Nathan Walker comes to us as the 2020 state cross country champion. He is a Foot Locker finalist and was third at his Foot Locker Midwest Regionals. Nathan will be able to help us greatly in cross country as well as on the track, possibly as a miler," said Coach Elliott.