May 9, 2006
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May 12-14 Michigan State University East Lansing, Mich. Ralph Youg Field
Defending outdoor champion Wisconsin will look to claim its third-consecutive and 16th overall Big Ten crown this weekend in East Lansing, Mich. when all league teams converge on the track wrapped around Ralph Young Field at Michigan State University.
The three-day event will kick off on Fri., May 12, beginning at noon ET, with the 100-meter portion of the decathlon competition.
Wisconsin is the league's sole representative in the latest Trackwire 25 Rankings as the Badgers are tied with North Carolina for the 11th position. UW, who placed 26th overall at the 2005 NCAA Championships, finished Big Tens with the team crown, five individual champions and one relay title last year. It's 174-point total is the highest team mark in the history of the championships and its 63-point margin of victory over Indiana was the largest since Indiana recorded a 67-point lead over Michigan to claim the team title in 1973.
UW will be led by a plethora of Badgers ranked in the top three in league standings. Junior Demi Omole, who won the 100-meter dash title a year ago, currently sits at No. 1 in the same event and is ranked second in the 200-meter dash. Fellow junior Chris Solinsky holds the top spot in both the 1,500- and 5,000-meter events while senior Alonzo Moore ranks first in the triple jump. The Badgers boast 1-2-3 rankings in both the 10,000-meters and decathlon and the UW 4x100-meter relay squad sits in the lead with a season-best 40.31, achieved at the Hurricane Invite on March 18.
Indiana finished second at last year's championships after tallying 111 team points. Hoosier trackster David Neville will look to help IU capture its 13th Big Ten title as he leads all league competitors in both the 200- and 400-meter events. Indiana's 4x400-meter relay squad also sits atop the conference standings after turning in a time of 3:07.71 at the Penn Relays on April 29.
The Golden Gophers will look to improve upon their third-place finish from a year ago as they enter this weekend with five team crowns under their belts with their last championship coming in 2003. Minnesota boasts four student-athletes ranked in the top-10 league standings. Senior Trent Riter is No. 1 in the 800-meters after a 1:49.75 performance at the Sung Angel Classic on April 14 while Gophers John Albert and Kevin Netzer sit first and second, respectively, in the high jump. Senior Karl Erickson has dominated the throwing events as he sits first in both the shot put and discus.
Illinois, who finished fourth at the 2005 Big Ten Championships sits behind only Michigan (30) with 28 conference titles. Illini Abe Jones and Pierre Bush lead two individual league standings as Jones is No. 1 in the 400-meters while Bush is ranked first in the long jump.
This is the fourth time the Spartans have hosted the Men's Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships. MSU first held the event in 1960 and placed fourth with 22 team points, the highest finish for the squad while competing in East Lansing, Mich.