Minnesota to Host 2010 Big Ten Men's Indoor Championships

Feb. 25, 2010

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The University of Minnesota Fieldhouse will serve as host to the 100th annual running of the Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships. The event first began in 1911 in Evanston, Ill., with Northwestern as the host school. The 2010 event features some of the best teams and athletes in the country with four squads ranking in the USTFCCCA's Top 25. Indiana leads the conference contingent at No. 7, followed by No. 11 Penn State, No. 17 Minnesota and No. 20 Ohio State.

The Gophers will look to defend their conference crown when they return four reigning individual champions from last year's meet. Junior Hassan Mead will look to repeat as the 3,000- and 5,000-meter champion, while seniors Matt Fisher and Aaron Studt will seek a return to the top podium spot in the high jump and shot put competitions, respectively. The championships host will also look to a talented crop of athletes in the heptathlon, highlighted by defending conference champion R.J. McGinnis. The senior Gopher enters weekend competition with the third-best mark in the nation at 5,753 as Minnesota is well represented in the leader board with four athletes ranking inside the top 20. 

Indiana has strong potential to improve on its sixth-place showing from last season with a wealth of top talent both on the track and in field competition. Hoosier sophomore Derek Drouin will seek to improve on his runner-up finish in the high jump as he is currently tied for the top clearance in the nation with a mark of 7'4.25 (2.24m). Senior pole vaulter and defending Big Ten champion Jeff Coover is also among the nation's best, boasting the third-highest mark at 18'.05 (5.50m). On the track, IU will likely be a top contender in the distance medley relay as the Hoosier quartet owns the nation's fourth-fastest time at 9:38.39. Indiana will also look to harriers Andrew Poore and Andrew Bayer to bring in quality points in distance events.

Penn State also returns a wealth of talent to the track, led by 800-meter title holder Ryan Foster. With the second-fastest time in the country (1:47.32), Foster paces a trio of Nittany Lion half-milers rating inside the top-five nationally, holding promise for one of the most thrilling races over the weekend. Junior hurler Joe Kovacs also enters the meet with a top-three mark in the shot put at 63'6.25 (19.36m) - good enough to lead the conference.

Illinois and Michigan are home to the final two returning champions. Illini sophomore Andrew Riley will look to seize his second conference crown in as many championships appearances in the 60-meter hurdles and improve on his time of 7.72 from last year. Meanwhile, Wolverine senior Sean Pruitt also returns as a top contender to repeat in the weight throw.

Ohio State will rely on senior Jeff See and sophomore Thomas Murdaugh as the Buckeyes look to make a run for the top spot at this year's event. One of the top middle-distance runners in the nation, See has already posted a sub-four-minute mile earlier this season, clocking a time of 3:58.82 to rank seventh nationally and first in the conference. Murdaugh has also cemented his name on the national scene, posting a top-10 time in the 400 meters while also leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated and conference leading time of 3:08.22 in the mile relay.