May 10, 2012
The University of Wisconsin and the Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex will host the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, scheduled to begin Friday and run through Sunday. Iowa looks for its second consecutive conference title and fourth overall after totaling 125.5 points at last year’s championships to earn the win. Minnesota was second with 123 points, and Ohio State was third with 109. Indiana (94.5 points) and Wisconsin (90) rounded out the top five.
In the sprints and middle distances, Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year Justin Austin of Iowa and Thomas Murdaugh of Ohio State look to defend their respective 200- and 400-meter dash crowns. Penn State’s Casimir Loxsom returns to reclaim his 800-meter run title, but Iowa’s Erik Sowinski owns the top time in the conference heading into the event. Illinois’ Andrew Riley returns in the 110-meter hurdles, and holds the top time in the hurdles and 100-meter dash events going into Friday. Nebraska’s Miles Ukaoma leads the conference in a stacked 400-meter hurdles field which returns three of the top five finishers from last year. In the 1,500-meter run, Ohio State’s Cory Leslie holds the top time in the conference but will be challenged by Wisconsin’s trio of Reed Connor, Austin Mudd and Rob Finnerty, which round out the top four times in the conference.
Indiana’s Andrew Bayer owns the top time in the 5,000-meter run going into the event, while Wisconsin’s Mohammed Ahmed holds the top time in the 10,000-meter run and looks to challenge defending champion Hassan Mead of Minnesota. Indiana’s De’Sean Turner returns to defend his title in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase, but teammate Andrew Poore holds the top time heading into the championships.
The field events are loaded with returning talent and newcomers ready to challenge for event titles. Iowa’s Matt Byers (javelin) and Troy Doris (triple jump), Michigan State’s Lonnie Pugh (discus), Minnesota’s Quentin Mege (hammer), Ohio State’s Michael Hartfield (long jump), Cody Marshall (pole vault) and Heath Nickles (decathlon) and Purdue’s Geoff Davis (high jump) look to defend their crowns. Nebraska looks to compete in their first Big Ten Outdoor Championships as the Huskers’ Chris Phipps (long jump), Nate Polacek (pole vault) and Chad Wright (discus) hold the top marks in the conference heading into the event. In the shot put, Penn State’s Joe Kovacs looks to improve on last year’s second-place effort as he holds the top distance in the country heading into the championships.
Five squads appear in the latest USTFCCCA National Rankings heading into the championships. Indiana sits at No. 8, followed by Wisconsin at No. 15 and Nebraska at No. 17. Iowa checks in at No. 21, with Minnesota sitting at No. 25.
BTN will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Noon ET on Sunday, May 20.