Big Ten Men's Indoor Track & Field Championship Preview
Feb. 24, 2005
The 2005 Big Ten Men’s Indoor Track & Field Championships are shaping up to be one of the most exciting championship meets in recent history. With 25 automatic qualifiers to the upcoming NCAA Championships already, the field of athletes is one of the deepest ever and several events may serve as previews for the national championships as well.
Teamwise, Indiana comes in with the most momentum, ranked No. 2 in the Trackwire 25, and is one of three top six ranked squads in the Big Ten meet. Michigan is No. 3 in that poll and Wisconsin stands at No. 6. The Trackwire poll measures projected performance at the NCAA Championships and isn’t necessarily a great barometer of how teams might finish at their conference championships, but does show some great overall strength in the Big Ten.
Below is a quick group-by-group preview of this weekend’s meet, which will be hosted by Purdue University. Events start at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and 10:20 a.m. on Sunday.
The 60-meter hurdles feature three NCAA provisional qualifiers in Purdue’s Rickey Pinkney (7.84), Indiana’s Stephanos Ioannout (7.87) and Michigan’s Jeff Porter (7.89). Minnesota’s multi-talented heptathlete Travis Brandstatter has also posted a very competitive 8.01 in this event this winter. Porter is the defending champion in the race, having won last year as a freshman with a 7.82.
Indiana’s David Neville leads the list of performances in the 200 meters with a 20.99 under his belt. The Wisconsin duo of Jvontai Hanserd (21.28) and Demi Omole (21.35) will also figure to be key competitors for the 200 title, along with Michigan’s Jason Stewart (21.41) and Ohio State’s Todd Dutch (21.46).
The 400 meters may be the closest of the sprint events. Four entrants have provisionally qualified for the NCAAs and the top three are separated by only three-hundreths of a second in their top performances of 2005. Indiana’s David Neville leads that group with a 46.95 in the 400, followed closely by Minnesota’s Aaron Buzard (46.97) and Illinois’ Nathan Vadeboncouer (46.98). Vadeboncouer’s teammate Abe Jones is the fourth NCAA provisional qualifier with a 47.07 this season.
Glavish has also dominated the 800 meters to date with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:47.79. Wisconsin’s Dan Murray (1:48.34), Michigan’s Nate Brannen (1:49.07), Penn State’s Matt Lincoln (1:49.35), and Illinois’ Trammel Smith (1:49.49) each have provisionally qualifying times. Brannen still has to be looked at as the favorite in this event though as the two-time defending champ and holder of the Big Ten Championship Meet record at 1:47.74.
The mile field could feature as many as four athletes who have posted sub-four minute miles this season and ten athletes that have either automatically or provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships. Michigan’s Nate Brannen has the top collegiate time of the year with a 3:55.11, which nearly broke the collegiate record, but might sit out the mile to concentrate on the 800 and the distance medley relay. Indiana’s twin duo of Sean Jefferson (3:56.44) and John Jefferson (3:57.85) are the first brothers ever to both record under four-minute miles. Michigan’s Nick Willis (3:57.27) is the fourth to finish under the magic four-minute mark. His teammate Mike Woods (4:01.56) along with the Wisconsin trio of Josh Spiker (4:01.72), Ben Gregory (4:03.14), and Chris Solinsky (4:04.39), will make the competition in this race maybe the tops of the meet. Willis won last year’s mile with a 4:04.47.
Wisconsin enters the 5000 meters as the heavy favorite to win the event with six of the top eight times recorded in the event this winter coming from the Badger squad. Matt Tegenkamp leads the field with a 13:36.48, and is joined by teammates Chris Solinsky (13:39.07), Simon Bairu (13:46.15), and Tim Nelson (13:50.80), along with Indiana’s Stephen Haas (13:41.42) as NCAA automatic qualifiers. Tegenkamp won last year’s event with a final time of 13:57.68, which set a meet record, a mark that could fall again this year.
With the depth in the distance fields, the distance medley relay should also be a great spectacle this weekend. Five teams have NCAA provisional times already with Indiana leading the way at 9:33.11. Michigan has the second best mark to date at 9:36.03, just edging out Penn State at 9:36.29.
The long jump group also looks to be a strong one with three holding jumps over 7.50 m and four with NCAA provisionally qualifying jumps. Wisconsin’s Joe Conway leads the way at 7.60m. Indiana’s Aarik Wilson has a jump of 7.55 m to his credit, holding a lead over Illinois’ Nick Brown (7.50 m) and Wisconsin’s Paul Hubbard (7.45 m). Hubbard won last year’s meet at 7.42 m, while Conway finished second at an identical distance on a later attempt.
Indiana’s Aarik Wilson leads the field in the triple jump with an NCAA automatic qualifying score of 16.36 m to date. Michigan’s Michael Whitehead (15.76 m) and Wisconsin’s Rick Bellford (15.50 m) qualified provisionally for the NCAAs with their marks. Wisconsin’s Alonzo Moore (15.16 m) has the fifth best leap of the season to date, but was the champion of last year’s meet with a jump of 15.75 m.
Michigan State’s duo of Brad Gebauer (5.25 m) and Mike Palmer (5.21 m) have the two top pole vaults of the season in the conference. That pair, along with Illinois’ Eric DiSilvestro (5.20 m), have provisionally qualified for NCAAs. Wisconsin’s Darren Niedermeyer (4.95m) is tied for the fifth best vault of the season in the conference, but won last year’s event with an effort of 5.15m.
The weight throw field looks to be very competitive. After Ohio State’s Bryan Duby who has a top throw of 20.58 m this season, the next eight best throws are all within a meter of each other. Those breaking the 20-meter mark include Penn State’s Scott Vernon (20.17 m), Indiana’s Wil Fleming (20.12 m), and Iowa’s Adam Hamilton (20.11 m).