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Feb. 21, 2006
February 25-26 University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa Recreation Building
The Big Ten men's indoor track and field teams kick off their postseason this weekend as the University of Iowa is set to host the 2006 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 25-26. Defending indoor champion Wisconsin will look to claim its fourth-consecutive and 20th overall conference crown during the event. The Badgers will face tough competition from Michigan and Indiana who join UW as being ranked in the top 25 of the latest Trackwire 25 Power Rankings.
Illinois, who finished third at the championships last year, has tallied 10 or more NCAA qualifying standards this season. Senior Trammell Smith leads the Illini as he ranks No. 1 in two individual events, has recorded an automatic qualifying time of 1:16.50 in the 600-meters and provisionally finished in 1:48.02 in the 800-meters. He will look to defend his 800-meter title from last year.
The Hooisers enter this year's meet with several top competitors, including Feb. 14 Athlete of the Week, Stephan Haas. The senior currently holds the fastest conference 5,000-meters time with 13:44.09 which is good enough for an NCAA automatic qualifying time. Junior Kiwan Lawson holds the league's farthest distance in the long jump with a 25' 5" mark.
Iowa boasts two top-five conference rankings and two provisional NCAA qualifying marks as sophomore Shane Maier is No. 2 in the shot put while junior Adam Hamilton ranks third in the weight throw.
The Wolverines have won a conference-record 26 indoor team championships and will attempt to defend their distance medley crown from last year as they currently rank third in the league. U-M leads the Big Ten in four events, including sophomore Mike Wood's NCAA automatic times of 3:57.87 and 7:52.27 in the mile and 3,000-meter events, respectively.
Senior Brad Gebauer will look to defend his pole vault title for Michigan State as he currently leads the league with a 17' 6 1/2" provisional mark. The Spartans have tallied five top-five rankings and two provisional qualifying standards this season.
Minnesota heads into the championships behind two-time 2006 Athlete of the Week Adam Schnaible. The junior has notched automatic and provisional standards and ranks in the top three in two conference events. Junior Aaron Buzard currently ranks in the top five in three events while senior Karl Erickson boasts a provisional mark and holds the conference lead in the shot put.
The Buckeyes have recorded four top-three league rankings this season as senior Brian Olinger has finished in provisional and automatic fashion in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events, respectively. Athlete of the Week Lenny Jatsek ranks No. 2 in the weight throw.
The Nittany Lions will be led by their underclassman this year as freshmen Ryan Fritz and Chris Morrisey rank No. 1 in two individual league events. Fritz provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump, meeting a 7' 1 1/4" height. Morrisey leads the Big Ten with 5194.00 heptathlon points.
Purdue currently ranks in the top five in four events. Jan. 17 Athlete of the Week, Ricky Pinkney, sits at No. 2 in the 60-meter hurdles with a provisional time of 7.85. Junior John Porter is ranked third in the pole vault with a 17' 1/2" mark.
Wisconsin will look to repeat last year's conference title and attempt to win its fourth-consecutive championship. The Badgers lead the Big Ten in three individual events and boast 15 NCAA qualifying standards.
Action will begin at 10 a.m. on Sat. with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles and will feature trials and semifinal rounds in most running events, as well as the finals of the 3,000-meters and distance medley relay. Field event champions will also be crowned in the long jump, shot put and pole vault. The meet will continue on Sunday with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles at 10:20 a.m.