2010 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships Preview

Wisconsin's Craig Miller looks to defend his 1,500-meter title at this weekend's Big Ten Championships.

May 12, 2010

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Indiana University and the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex will play host to the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, scheduled to begin Friday and run through Sunday. Minnesota looks to defend its men’s team championship from a season ago, where it totaled 130 points in winning its sixth conference title. Ohio State was second with 103 points and Michigan was third with 100.

Several of the conference’s top student-athletes from a year ago return and will make it another exciting run to the conference crown. The championships will see eight of its 2009 winners return with hopes of repeating their efforts.

In the sprints, a new set of champions will emerge as the top runners in 2010. Iowa’s Zeke Sayon, who finished fifth in the 100-meter dash last year, owns the conference’s top time this season at 10.52 with a host of conference standouts not far behind. The 200-meter dash will also see a new champion. The field is highlighted by Illinois’ Stanley Azie, who is the only conference runner to eclipse the 21-second mark this season. Ohio State’s Thomas Murdaugh, who was runner-up in the 400-meter dash at the 2009 championships, holds the event’s top time in the Big Ten this season and looks to move into the top spot this year.

Purdue’s Josh Hembrough returns as the 110-meter hurdles champion, while Michigan’s Carl Buchanan returns after topping the field in the 400-meter hurdles.

The distance races return a bevy of 2009 scorers, including champions in the 800-meter run (Penn State’s Ryan Foster) and the 1,500-meter run (Wisconsin’s Craig Miller). At least four of the top eight finishers in the 800, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meter runs return to compete for titles. Michigan’s Lex Williams leads the contingent of returning scorers in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races, while Wisconsin’s Ryan Gasper looks to defend his title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

The field events will be loaded with experienced talent. Defending 2009 conference champions Derek Drouin of Indiana (high jump), Lonnie Pugh of Michigan (discus) and Eric Sparks of Purdue (pole vault) return to their respective events and eye another title. The fields will be competitive as seven scoring athletes return in the high jump, six in the long jump and four in the triple jump.

Several returning student-athletes from the 2009 meet will make for an exciting finish in the weights. Pugh leads a group of four returning throwers to the discus, and four also return in the shot put. Michigan’s Sean Pruitt, who finished in the top eight of the shot put, discus, and hammer throw competitions last year, is one of two returners in the hammer throw. Wisconsin’s Robert Dehn, who finished second in the javelin last year, is the top returning thrower in the event.

Four scoring decathletes from the 2009 championships return, including Minnesota’s R.J. McGinnis, who holds the conference’s top score of the 2010 season with 7,319 points.