2011 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships Preview

Ohio State's Thomas Murdaugh looks to defend the 400-meter as well as the 4x400 meter relay.

Ohio State's Thomas Murdaugh looks to defend the 400-meter as well as the 4x400 meter relay.

Feb. 25, 2011

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The University of Illinois and the Illinois Armory will host the 100th Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships. This year will feature some of the best teams and athletes in the country with six squads ranking in the USTFCCCA's Top 25. Indiana leads the conference at No. 3, followed by No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Iowa, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 20 Minnesota and No. 22 Ohio State.

Defending champion Minnesota will look to claim its second consecutive conference crown. The Golden Gophers recorded 160.50 points over the two-day contest. Ohio State finished runner-up with 112.50 points and Wisconsin was third with 81. Purdue finished fourth with 67 tallies, and Iowa rounded out the top five with 56.

2010 Coach of the Year Steve Plasencia returns three conference champions in seniors Ben Blankenship, Ben Peterson and 2010 Field Athlete of the Championships Aaron Studt. Minnesota will also look to rack up points in the field competition with Micah Hegerle and Brock Spandl. In the weight throw, Hegerle currently holds the second-highest mark in the country and a conference-leading tally of 71'3.5" (21.73m). Spandl and teammate Jack Szmanda look to improve on their second- and third-place finishes from last year.

Ohio State hopes to improve upon its second-place showing at last year's meet and will look to defending 400-meter champion Thomas Murdaugh. Last year's Track Athlete of the Year, holds the 13th-fastest time in the country and is also a part of the Buckeyes' four-time defending Big Ten champion 4x400 meter relay team. Junior thrower Matt DeChant and jumper Mike Hartfield lead the nation in their respective events, weight throw and long jump.

Wisconsin seeks its 23rd conference title with the help of its sophomore duo of Maverick Darling and Mohammed Ahmed in the 5,000 meter run. Newcomer Jay Coto owns the nation's fourth-highest score in the heptathlon and leads the conference with a total of 5,698 points.

 

 

Iowa's Troy Doris holds the country's fourth-best triple jump mark of 54'0" (16.46m). On the track, expect Iowa to field strong competition in the sprints and mid-distance as Justin Austin and Erik Sowinski rank among the Big Ten's best in their respective 200-meter dash and 800-meter events.

Purdue will rely on Shane Crawford to defend his Big Ten title in the 60- meter dash and sophomore Geoff Davis in the high jump, owning the tenth-highest jump in the nation.

Indiana's Kind Butler, owns the conference's leading- time of 6.67. In the mile, Andrew Bayer looks to improve upon his runner-up finish from last year, as he holds the sixth-fastest time in the nation this year and leads the conference with a time of 3:57.75. Heading into the meet, Bayer also leads the nation and conference in the 3,000 meters (7:48.35). The Hoosiers also return 2010 Field Athlete of the Year Derek Drouin, who looks to win his fourth straight Big Ten crown in the high jump.

Illinois turns to junior Andrew Riley to repeat his 2010 victory in the 60-meter hurdles and improve upon his runner-up finish in the 60-meter dash.

The Nittany Lions hope to bring home points as defending 800 meter champion Ryan Foster looks to earn that title for the second consecutive year. Casimir Loxsom holds the fifth-fastest time in the country and leads the Big Ten (1:47.36). Penn State's Brady Gehret will vie to become the next 400 meter champion as he is currently the fifth-fastest NCAA Division I runner, topping the conference with a time of 46.25.