The Nittany Lion Outdoor Track on the campus of Penn State University will serve as host to the 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scheduled to begin Friday and run through Sunday.
Nebraska captured the men's conference title last season with 140.5 points, while the men's competitors from Michigan took second and Purdue was third. The Michigan and Minnesota women's squads shared the title a year ago after both totaled 106 points. The women's team from Nebraska took third.
Minnesota's Luca Wieland enters the decathlon as the two-time reigning gold medalist. He has posted the highest score in the conference in 2017 and the No. 3 mark in the nation at 8,201 points. Ohio State's Nick Gray is the defending champion in both the 100- and 200-meter dash and has recorded the second-fastest time in the 200-meter dash this season among Big Ten sprinters.
In all, the winners of 10 men's events in 2016 return to defend their titles. Rutgers' Izaiah Brown was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season after winning the 400-meter dash, while Penn State's Isaiah Harris was victorious in the 800-meter run and Michigan's Ben Flanagan claimed the title in the 10,000-meter run. The medalists from both hurdles events return this season, as Iowa's Aaron Mallet won the 110-meter hurdles and Michigan's Taylor McLaughlin claimed the 400-meter hurdles. Discus champion Nick Percy from Nebraska returns this season, as does javelin medalist Chris Mirabelli from Rutgers.
Reigning Big Ten Women's Track Athlete of the Championships Gina Sereno from Michigan returns to defend her titles in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. Nebraska's Tierra Williams also looks to repeat in a pair of events, having won the long jump and triple jump last season, setting a meet record in the triple jump in 2016. Indiana's Sydney Clute also returns after setting a record last season, winning the pole vault in record-breaking fashion.
The winners of eight total women's events return this season. In addition to Sereno, Williams and Clute, Iowa's Briana Guillory will look to defend her title in the 200-meter dash. Guillory was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season. Nebraska's Reka Czuth won the high jump in 2016 after claiming the title in the long jump in 2015. Minnesota's Nicolle Murphy was victorious in the javelin last season.
Four squads appear in the latest USTFCCCA National Rankings heading into the championships with the Nebraska men's team leading the conference at No. 16 and the Penn State men's squad ranked No. 17. The Purdue women's team is No. 15 nationally, while the Penn State women check in at No. 24.
Friday's events begin at noon ET with the decathlon 100 meters and are scheduled to wrap up at 8:15 p.m. with the men's 10,000 meters. Saturday's schedule opens with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles at 9:30 a.m., and the final event of the day is slated for 6:45 p.m., with the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. The men's triple jump trials and finals opens Sunday's competition at 11:30 a.m., and the last scheduled event is the women's 4x400-meter relay, tentatively planned for 4:45 p.m.
On Sunday, BTN will debut the Big Ten Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships at 7 p.m. ET.
BTN will provide live streaming coverage of the event on Saturday and Sunday via the web, smartphones, tablets and connected devices on BTN2Go, BTN's digital extension. Saturday's coverage will feature infield finals and will begin with women's long jump at approximately 1:20 p.m., and run through the end of men's long jump at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday's coverage will be split into two parts, with the first running from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the second beginning at 1:45 p.m., with the men's 4x100-meter relay and concluding with the women's 4x400-meter relay, which begins at 4:45 p.m.