May 14, 2012
[ONE // wolverines claim big ten softball title]
Michigan secured the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship and clinched the outright Big Ten Championship on Saturday, following its win over Purdue in the first game of their doubleheader. The conference title is Michigan's fifth in a row, a Big Ten record, and 15th overall in program history. The Wolverines will make their 20th appearance, including their 18th consecutive in the national tournament. A seven-run third inning gave Michigan all the run support it would need in the 8-5 victory. The Wolverines' runs were all unearned as Purdue committed four errors in the inning. Seven Michigan players scored at least one run in the game, while Sara Driesenga earned the victory.
[TWO // michigan, northwestern softball selected for ncaa play]
Two Big Ten teams were selected to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship field, the NCAA selection committee announced on Sunday. Michigan and Northwestern earned berths into the field and will begin competition on Friday. Michigan secured the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship after winning the Big Ten Championship on Saturday. The Wolverines, who have appeared in nine Women’s College World Series, will open their 18th straight and 20th all-time NCAA tournament appearance against Kentucky in the Louisville Regional. Northwestern makes its 13th appearance in the national tournament, with four previous visits to the Women’s College World Series, and first since 2009. The Wildcats were selected to the Austin Regional and will open against the host and No. 6 overall seed Texas. The 64-team field is divided into 16, four-team double-elimination regionals, which begin Friday. The 16 regional winners advance to super regionals, where eight will emerge as Women’s College World Series participants.
[THREE // boiler baseball = big ten champs]
No. 14 Purdue baseball had the potential tying run in scoring position with less than two outs in each of the final three innings, but was unable to plate that runner on all three occasions, losing to Michigan 4-3 Sunday afternoon in the finale of the final Big Ten Conference series in the 48-year history of Lambert Field. The Boilermakers (39-10, 16-5 Big Ten) were unable to wrap up the Big Ten title outright Sunday after clinching at least a share of the conference championship Saturday. Lance Breedlove pitched seven innings of one-hit ball on Saturday, retiring the final 20 batters he faced. Offensively, the Boilermakers scored in seven consecutive innings to blowout Michigan 14-3 and in the process clinch the program's first Big Ten title since 1909.
[FOUR // badger men on top in track and field]
Wisconsin took home the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday, earning its 18th overall Big Ten title and first since 2007. The Badgers registered 121 points over the weekend, followed by second-place Nebraska (115.50) and third-place Indiana (115). Ohio State came in fourth with 86 points, while Iowa placed fifth with 80.50. The Badgers used two individual titles and four runner-up finishes to claim the title. Mohammed Ahmed (5,000-meter run) and Danny Block (discus) took home first-place honors. Elliot Krause placed second in the 10,000-meter run, while Brady Hammon, Kyle Jefferson, Garret Payne and Drew Simmon finished second in the 4x400-meter relay. In the field events, Japheth Cato (pole vault) and Derek Steinbach (javelin) also placed second in their respective events at the championships
[FIVE // buckeye women take home women’s track title]
Ohio State won the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday, earning its second consecutive Big Ten title. The Buckeyes tallied 117 points over the weekend, followed by Illinois and Nebraska (110) in a tie for second. Penn State finished fourth with 87 points and Wisconsin was fifth with 78 tallies. The Buckeyes collected four Big Ten titles over the three-day event, led by three from Christina Manning. The Buckeye senior finished first in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and alongside Aisha Cavin, Christienne Linton and Chesna Sykes in the 4x100-meter relay. Alexis Thomas claimed first-place honors in the hammer throw.
[SIX // michigan rows to big ten title]
Michigan won its fifth Big Ten title at the 2012 Big Ten Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis on Sunday off the strength of two first-place efforts. With wins in the first varsity eight and second varsity eight, the Wolverines totaled 147 points, ahead of second-place Ohio State (145) and third-place Wisconsin (122). Michigan State (80) finished fourth, while Minnesota (77), Indiana (44) and Iowa (29) rounded out the field. In addition, All-Big Ten honorees were announced Sunday, including first-team selections Asja Zero of Indiana, Iowa’s Annemarie Bernhard, Michigan’s Julia Darnton, Emily Eiffert, and Felice Mueller, Michigan State’s Amanda McGeachie, Minnesota’s Molly Kalmoe, Ohio State’s Ulrike Denker and Emily Walsh, and Wisconsin’s Vanessa Kleiss.
[SEVEN // big ten trio advances in ncaa women’s golf action]
Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue advanced to the NCAA Women's Golf Championships following the conclusion of the regional championships on Saturday. Each team finished in the top eight of their respective regionals to move on to the championships. Purdue placed third in the Central Regional, finishing with a 38-over 902. Ohio State finished sixth in the Central with a 44-over 908 and Michigan State tied for sixth in the East Regional carding a 23-over 887 in regional play. Michigan State's Lindsey Solberg was the top Big Ten finisher in regional play with an even-par 216. Ohio State's Rachel Rohanna carded the top conference performance in the Central, turning in a seventh-place four-over 220 in the regional. Illinois tied for 14th in the East, Michigan was 16th in the Central and Northwestern was 18th in the East. The 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championships are scheduled for May 22-25 at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. Twenty-four teams and six individuals will compete in the event.
[EIGHT // men’s golf ready for regionals]
Six Big Ten teams and three individuals have been selected to compete in the NCAA Men's Golf Regionals. The Big Ten contingent will be represented at five of the six regional sites, with the top five teams and top individual not on one of those teams advancing from each regional to the NCAA Championship. Three regionals will host 13 teams and 10 individuals while the other three sites will welcome 14 teams and five individuals. The regionals are scheduled for May 17-19. Two Big Ten teams and three individual golfers will travel to the Ann Arbor Regional. Purdue will compete as the No. 9 seed, while Ohio State earned the No. 12 seed. Michigan’s Matt Thompson, Michigan State’s Dan Ellis and Minnesota’s Erik Van Rooyen will compete as individuals. Big Ten Champion and No. 7 seed Illinois will travel to the Norman Regional, with Nebraska’s Scott Willman competing as an individual. Indiana and Iowa both earned No. 5 seeds, as the Hoosiers head to the Greensboro Regional and the Hawkeyes travel to the Athens Regional. Northwestern will visit the Bowling Green Regional as the No. 9 seed.
[NINE // michigan, northwestern women’s tennis remain alive in ncaa play]
Six Big Ten teams opened play at the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships this past week. No. 15 Michigan advanced to its third consecutive Round of 16 appearance after rallying to defeat No. 19 Texas A&M 4-3 in the final match in Saturday’s second round at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines cruised to a 4-0 win against Illinois-Chicago in the first round on Friday. Joining Michigan in the Round of 16 is Northwestern, which advanced out of the NCAA Regional Championship round for the 12th time in 13 years following a 4-2 victory over Notre Dame. NU opened the tournament with a 4-0 blanking of Akron on Friday. Nebraska swept North Texas by a score of 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, but fell 4-2 to Texas in the second round on Saturday. Three other conference teams saw their seasons come to an end in the first round of the tournament. No. 22 Purdue fell 4-0 to Pepperdine, No. 18 Illinois dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to No. 39 Rice, and Minnesota fell 4-1 to Arizona.
[TEN // illinois, ohio state lone teams left in ncaa men’s tennis action]
Six Big Ten men’s tennis teams opened NCAA Championship play this past week, but only two squads remained alive at the end of the weekend. Illinois shut out Western Michigan 4-0 on Friday and then edged No. 17 Auburn 4-3 on Saturday to advance to the Round of 16. Ohio State dealt Notre Dame a 4-0 loss in the second round Sunday after dismissing East Tennessee State 4-0 on Saturday. Michigan also won its first-round contest, a 4-0 blanking of Middle Tennessee State, but fell 4-2 to Ole Miss on Sunday to end its season. The same came be said about Indiana, which defeated No. 34 Louisville 4-2 before falling 4-0 to No. 6 Kentucky. IU’s 24 wins were the most in program history. Also in the field were Minnesota and Northwestern, who both dropped first-round outings this past weekend. The Wildcats fell 4-0 to No. 23 LSU, while the Gophers were defeated 4-2 by No. 20 Tulsa.
[ELEVEN // a lott to talk about]
The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine student-athletes named to the watch list for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy, honoring college football's defensive IMPACT player of the year with equal weight given to athletic performance and personal character. The Big Ten's list of nine nominees includes Ohio State defensive tackle John Simon, a semifinalist for last year's Lott Trophy, and Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, a quarterfinalist for the 2011 honor. Other Big Ten standouts on the Lott Trophy watch list are Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown, Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough, Nebraska defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler, Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges, Purdue defensive tackle Kawaan Short and Wisconsin linebackers Chris Borland and Mike Taylor. Big Ten players have claimed two of the last four Lott Trophies, with Buckeyes' linebacker James Laurinaitis honored in 2008 and Badgers' defensive end J.J. Watt chosen in 2010.
[TWELVE // thank you fans]
Finally this week, it was announced earlier in the week that the Big Ten led the nation in men’s basketball attendance for the 36th consecutive season according to figures released by the NCAA. The Big Ten led all conferences with an average attendance of 12,868, which is more than 1,300 higher than the next-closest conference. During the 2011-12 regular season, the Big Ten welcomed 2,856,785 fans over 222 games, which marks the conference’s all-time total attendance record and is the 20th straight year the conference eclipsed the two-million mark. Six conference schools ranked in the top 25 in average attendance, while no other conference had more than four top-25 programs. Wisconsin led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally with an average of 17,181 fans per game. Ohio State (16,511) and Indiana (16,462) ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, followed by No. 14 Illinois (14,986), No. 15 Michigan State (14,797) and No. 21 Purdue (13,324). The Buckeyes and Hoosiers also posted two of the largest increases from the previous season.