Entering the outdoor track season, only nine athletes in the history of Purdue’s men’s program had been credited with running the 110-meter high hurdles in under 14 seconds during a meet.
Justin Veteto recently made it an even 10.
On May 14, Veteto put up a personal-best time of 13.77 for fourth place at the Big Ten Championships at Penn State University. The 2014 Center Grove graduate now shares the sixth-fastest time in Boilermaker history.
Purdue legend Rod Woodson posted a time of 13.54 three decades ago, still the school’s standard when it comes to hurdles.
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Veteto’s previous PR was a 14.02 established last spring in the NCAA East preliminaries. Finishing 19th overall, he’s setting his sights higher when the East prelims start today at the University of Kentucky.
“Running under a 14.0 feels pretty good,” Veteto said. “The main thing for me was just getting a good start. Being tall (6-foot-4) could be a factor in not usually being a good starter, but it’s also a strength.
“Most of the guys I run against are around 6 feet tall.”
Veteto has also qualified for the 400-meter hurdles at the East prelims and is an alternate on Purdue’s 4×400 relay. Earlier this season, while competing in a meet in Texas, Veteto ran a personal-best time of 52.15 seconds in the 400 hurdles.
As a high school senior, Veteto placed second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.16 seconds at the 2014 IHSAA state meet at Indiana University.
He came back to win the 300 hurdles in 36.85 and be part of the Trojans’ 4×400 team that placed fourth in a time of 3:18.95.
Veteto now takes to the track with a confidence similar to what he had his final year at Center Grove.
“I had a lot of confidence in high school, but when I got here it was kind of a shock,” Veteto said. “Confidence comes over time with more exposure to meets and more exposure to other athletes.”
In terms of eligibility, Veteto is a sophomore during the outdoor track season after redshirting in 2015 due to hamstring injuries. He aspires to qualify for next month’s NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
“Justin has had a great season. His physical strength and confidence have improved dramatically,” said Lonnie Greene, the head coach of Purdue’s men’s and women’s teams. “He’s one of those kids who rises to the level of competition.
“He has such a good, gentle spirit. When Justin develops that killer mentality, he’ll be one of the best hurdlers in the country. I’m excited because he’s ours.”
Name: Justin Veteto
Family: Parents Gary and Denise; sister Hannah, 18; brother Andrew, 15
High school: Center Grove (2014)
College: Purdue University
Majors: Management and marketing