May 16, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After three exciting and eventful days of competition, the Big Ten Track and Field Championships came to thrilling end Sunday at Rankin Track and Field. On the women's side, Michigan repeated as conference champions, while Wisconsin jumped past defending champion Minnesota to capture the men's crown.
In the triple jump, which was the second to last championship, the Badgers collected second, third and sixth-place points to clinch their fourth title in five years. Since 2000, the only year Minnesota was able to claim the men's title was in 2003, and since 1995 either the Badgers or Golden Gophers have exited as victors.
Minnesota went on to win the final event, the 4x400-relay, but Wisconsin finished fourth to maintain its lead. Wisconsin won the meet with 165 points to Minnesota's 157.
Purdue's men's team placed sixth with 62.5 points, as did its women's team that collected 64.5. For the men's team it a was a four-place drop in the standings from last year's outdoor championships, but a two-place improvement for the women's squad.
The Purdue men collected 13 points in the shot put thanks to Nedzad Mulabgovic's runner-up showing and Scott Hecht's fourth-place finish (62-6 1/2; 19.06). Mulabegovic recorded a new varsity record push of 65-4 3/4 (19.93), topping his former record of by almost half a meter.
Unfortunately, Dan Taylor was able to top Mulabegovic's accomplishment by breaking his rival's Rankin Track and Field record. Taylor finished with a top throw of 66-8 1/2 (20.33), beating Mulabegovic's previous standard of 63-11 1/2 (19.49). The Ohio State Buckeye has claimed the last three conference outdoor shot put championships.
Hecht's mark was a personal best. His previous record was measured at 61-2 1/4 (18.66) during competitions at the Sea Ray Relays.
Elsewhere in the field, freshman Astin Steward had a solid showing in the discus, placing sixth with a career best effort of 157-6 (48.02)
The Purdue women started its day on a positive note as the 4x100-meter relay team finished fourth. The quartet of LaShauna Harris
, Shanna Carter
, Gina Harvey
and T'Nita Waters
completed the course in 45.90 seconds, which was just .10 seconds from reaching the NCAA regional qualifying standard.
Harvey later extended her scoring run to the 400-meter run, where she placed eighth in 56.52. Purdue also received points in the men's 400 from Dedrick Tillerson, who finished seventh with a personal and season best time of 47.11.
Harvey finished her afternoon running the third leg of the 4x400-relay, which finished fifth in 3:43.59. Illinois won the 4x400 title with a Rankin track and field record of 3:38.76, which topped the mark of 3:33.75 recorded in 1987 by Indiana. On the day's final race, Harvey teamed with Angela Anoliefoh, Kim Jordan and anchor Ina Jackson.
Purdue's track and field season continues in two weeks when 25 of its student athletes head to LSU for the NCAA Mideast Regionals. As it stands, 12 men and 13 women will be making the trip to Baton Rouge. The NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas begin June 9 and last through June 12.
Penn State's Connie Moore won three races in three tries. The senior first anchored the Nittany Lions to a win in the 4x100-meter relay, as they cam across with a new track record time of 44.55. Several events later, Moore won the 100-meter dash tying the track record of 11.40 and then completed the trifecta with her time of 22.74 in the 200, also a new track record.
At last season's outdoor championships, Moore won the 100 in 11.37, but finished runner-up to Indiana's Rachelle Boone in the 200, 22.87 to 23.08.
Penn State's new track record in the 4x100, beat the old record of 44.65 set by Indiana in 2003 ... Moore's 100 time tied the track record also posted by Ohio State's Donica Merriman at the 1999 championships ... her 200 time topped the previous record of 23.10 registered by Purdue's LaTasha Jenkins in 1998.
Lindsey Gallo of Michigan State produced a two-win day for the Spartans, winning the 1,500-meter run in 4:24.37 and the 800 title in 2:07.04. At last season's championships, Gallo took the bronze medal in the 1,500, but did not place among the top eight in the 800.
Track records were also broken in the women's 400 and 400 hurdles. In the 400, Iowa's Shellene Williams' time of 52.97 beat the old record of 53.40 set by Michigan State's Sevatheda Fyne in 1995. In the 400 hurdles, Illinois' Camille Robinson recorded a time of 57.52, beating the old standard of 58.14 set by Ohio State's Dominque Calloway at the 1999 Championships.
Michigan's Melissa Bickett won her second Big Ten title this weekend. Friday she won the hammer throw title and Sunday won the discus title with a throw of 170-10 (52.08); Saturday Bickett placed third in the shot put. At last season's championships, Bickett placed fourth in the discus and sixth in the javelin.
Jamie Kryzminski won her second race of the weekend, capturing the 5,000-meter title in 16:40.58. The Michigan State senior won the 10,000-meter run on Friday night. At last season's outdoor conference championships, Kryzminski won the 10K and finished runner-up in the 5,000 to Wisconsin's Bethany Brewster.
Dan Taylor's victory in the shot put was his third in three years. Taylor's winning throw Sunday was measured at a Rankin Track and Field record distance of 65-4 3/4 (20.33). The Buckeye dethroned Purdue's Nedzad Mulabgovic as the Rankin track and field record holder. Mulabegovic's previous standard was 63-11 1 /2 (19.49).
Wisconsin freshman Demi Omole won two races Sunday. First he anchored the Badgers' 4x100 team to a time of 40.24 and then captured the 100 title in 10.61 seconds.
Two wins were also attained by Indiana's David Neville, who won gold medals in the 200 and 400. They are the first conference titles of the sophomore's career. He did not reach the top eight of either race at last season's championships.
A pair of track records were set in the hurdles. In the men's 400-meter hurdles, Illinois' Abe Jones clocked a time of 50.24, beating the old mark of 50.87, set by Iowa's Pat McGhee in 1986. In the 110-meter hurdles, Ohio State's Joel Brown recorded a time of 13.81, beating the previous standard of 14.04 registered by Indiana State's Aubrey Herring in 1998.
Men's 4x100 Champion - Scott Starks, Wisconsin, 3rd leg
"That was the first time we put that team together. We'd been working on our handoff the whole week, and finally it clicked. The first handoff was a little shaky, but the rest were real smooth. We knew that if we were anywhere near the front, Demi (Omole) would win it for us because he's the fastest man out here. We qualified for regionals, and that was our goal."
Women's 4x100 Champion - Kamilah Salaam, Penn State, 1st leg
"I like running the first leg because I can kill the turn, and that's what I did. My strength on the first leg is the handoff at the turn. We had a really nice handoff, and I'm really happy about that. After that, everyone else just smashed theirs. It feels good because I'm a freshman. I didn't do as well as I wanted to indoors, and I'm just happy that it all came together."
Men's 100 Meters Champion - Demi Omole, Wisconsin
"It feels great. We knew every point counted, and just tried to put together a great third day. I got out fast, but that wind stood me straight up. You've got to fight through that, and I'm just glad to be on top."
Women's 100 Meters Champion - Consuella Moore, Penn State
"It's a great feeling. That's the way I wanted to end my senior year and my collegiate season. I wanted to be remembered as a Big Ten champ. It was a lot of fun. The goal is always to win; it's never to get second."
Men's 200 Meters Champion - David Neville, Indiana
"The first 20 or 30 meters I had to recover. I knew with having 400 endurance that I could hold off and accelerate more than other people."
Women's 200 and 100 Meters Champion - Consuella Moore, Penn State
"I was waiting for that breakout run and it hadn't happened in the past three years, so I'm glad I could finally get it."
Men's 400 and 200 Meters Champion - David Neville, Indiana
"I was really nervous going into it. I knew what I needed to do: get out strong and relax on the backstretch. I saw (Minnesota's) Mitch (Potter) coming up on me, and I knew I had to go and give it all I had. I knew it was going to be a big step for me to go out there and win and beat him."
Women's 400 Meters Champion - Shellene Williams, Iowa
"It feels good. It was hard because you have a lot of girls in the finals and we're all representing our schools. It was a good race. I had to work for it. I went out too hard, but if I'm going to get a 52-point, that's how I've got to do it."
Men's 800 Meters Champion - Andrew Ellerton, Michigan
"It's always a fun time winning. This is my first Big Ten championship, so it's pretty exciting. I closed pretty hard. The guys took it out, and I just tried to stay in there. Hopefully it's the start of something good."
Women's 800 Meters Champion - Lindsey Gallo, Michigan
"This has been the best meet of my life. I'd never even won one event at Big Ten's before, so to win two ... I don't even think it's sunk in yet. It went out slow, which was definitely to my advantage because I had just ran another race. I felt really good through 400. I was in the back going through 400. My race plan was to push through the third 200, which I did. I felt really strong and I had a nice last lap. It felt really good."
Men's 1,500 Meters Champion - Sean Jefferson, Indiana
"I knew I had a good shot to come in here, do well and finish in the top three. I knew it was going to come down to the last lap, and whoever had the fastest kick was going to end up winning. Especially after the first 800, I knew it was going to come down to a fast finish."
Women's 1,500 Meters Champion - Lindsey Gallo, Michigan
"I felt really good out there, and it feels amazing to win Big Ten's. It's been a goal of mine since I came here. Our team has been so inspirational this weekend to me. We've had such a great meet. In the past I've been kicked by (Wisconsin's) Hilary (Edmondson) many times, so I kind of knew that could happen again. I was really focusing on how I could neutralize her kick with my own."
Men's 5,000 Meters Champion - Brian Olinger, Ohio State
"It felt good to win after falling yesterday in the steeplechase. It hurt the whole way today, but it feels so rewarding to finally get a title under my belt."
Women's 5,000 Meters Champion - Jamie Krzyminski, Michigan State
"Coming into the weekend I needed to worry about getting the 10K first, and then I had Saturday to worry about the 5K. It was great going out with a good group of girls and competing. I knew what I wanted to do and I knew I could win it. A little bit after the mile I went out and tried to put a surge in and see if anyone would go with me."
Men's 110-Meter Hurdles Champion - Joel Brown, Ohio State
"This is my second time winning the hurdles outdoors. It's always good to end your career on a good note. Really this was just another meet for me to get ready for nationals. Everything went well today. My start was pretty good, but the wind was kind of strong. I was just trying to get through the wind as quick as I could and get to the finish line."
Women's 100-Meter Hurdles Champion - Molly Logan, Ohio State
"It's great to finally win. I've been here for four years and finally won. It was a good race. I felt really good. We had a headwind, so I'm not too happy with the time. But I guess a win is a win. I was just focused on myself, and couldn't worry about what anybody else ran. This was the goal from the very beginning."
Men's 400-Meter Hurdles Champion - Abe Jones, Illinois
"This is sort of unexpected. We came into the meet thinking Adrian Walker was going to win it. That was our motive. I came out here, ran out of my comfort zone, and we worked well together as a team. We wanted to be across the 300 at the same time so we could motivate each other. Right now I'm a Big Ten champion, but I don't realize it yet `til I go home."
Women's 400-Meter Hurdles Champion - Camile Robinson, Illinois
"I'm really happy that we had good weather. Today I did my best. Through this week I'd been saying I'd run my PR, and I came out hoping and praying to win."
Men's Pole Vault Champion - Brad Gebauer, Indiana
"It feels great to be a Big Ten champ. I pulled my hamstring in the indoor season. Today I jumped well and I fought through it. Originally I missed my 5-meter jump and my 5.10-meter jump, so I knew I had to make 5.4 on my first attempt. I knew I had it in me. It came down to whoever jumped the highest, and I'm happy it was me."
Men's Shot Put Champion - Dan Taylor, Ohio State
"I don't think winning ever gets old. This is my senior year and the shot is my event. The weekend up `til now was a little frustrating, with the hammer and the discus. Winning the shot makes up for it. It was a good throw. I still felt like there was a lot more in there today. A couple weeks ago I went almost 68. It was a decent throw for the day, on par with what I've been throwing this season."
Women's High Jump Champion - Peaches Roach, Iowa
"I felt like I'm used to feeling when I'm winning. I felt good. I have a good feeling every time I jump, but today was one of those days. I knew it wasn't going to be a walkover, so I expected good competition. I'm happy that I won."
Men's Javelin Champion - Brian Stumpf, Penn State
"It feels really great. The top guy in the conference was hurt, and the throw wasn't really anything impressive. It's not the way I wanted to win, but it's a great honor to have (a title)."
Women's Discus Champion - Melissa Bickett, Michigan
"Going into finals I was seventh, so I barely made it. I was really nervous; I was worried. I was really upset after prelims. I just had to calm down. The final throw was the hardest. I really felt pretty good. I was just excited that I peaked a little bit more and made it a little harder to chase me. I'm excited and relieved. I've never won Big Ten's before. I've been everything but first. I'm glad I can go out on a winning note my senior year."
Women's Triple Jump Champion - Rosalind Goodwin, Ohio State
"It feels good to come back and redeem myself, and score some points for the team. I knew on the first jump I had to put it out there. It felt perfect. I was very pleased with it. I felt good with my series, as well. I came in expecting nothing less."
Men's Triple Jump Champion - Aarik Wilson, Indiana
"It was fun. It was a great day. It was good to come out and compete with some great athletes. I had a lot of adrenaline. Big-time atmosphere brings out big-time competitors. I was able to be one today. I felt like I had something to prove after the long jump. I came out today and did my best to prove it."
Men's 4x400 Champion - Mitch Potter, Minnesota, 4th leg
"If we wouldn't have won this, I don't know what I would have done. This year each leg decided we were going to finish strong. We deserved it because we worked our tails off. I'm struggling a little bit right now. I'm used to being the underdog; I know that role and I love it. Now I'm on top, and it's easier to get there than to stay there."
Women's 4x400 Champion - Yvonne Mensah, Illinois, 1st leg
"It feels nice, especially because the weekend didn't really go as well as I wanted it to. Winning the last event of the day feels really good. We were out in lane seven and Penn State was on the inside of us. I just wanted to get out and give the rest of our runners a nice lead."
Men's Team Champion - Ed Nuttycombe, Wisconsin Head Coach
"We came from behind and the guys never quit. They believed in themselves and fought all the way to the end. It was a great track meet that wasn't decided until the last couple events. A great spectator meet, and obviously a great result for the Badgers."
Women's Team Champion - James Henry, Michigan Head Coach
"I'm so happy. There was a lot of pressure, but it was positive. We had two in a row and were going after three in a row. We were disappointed in the indoor season, but I'm happy with the group effort from top to bottom. Gallo ran so well, but I was pleased at the other end. We may have gotten a couple dozen points from sixth to eighth place. That's what a championship is about."