2011 Big Ten Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships Preview
May 12, 2011
Park Ridge, Ill. -
The University of Iowa and the Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track will play host to the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, scheduled to begin Friday and run through Sunday. Minnesota looks for its third consecutive conference title, after totaling 145 points in winning its seventh conference title last season. Wisconsin was second with 124 points and Ohio State was third with 115.
In the sprints, plenty of new faces will challenge the conference's returning champions for titles at the 2011 event. Indiana's Kind Butler owns the Big Ten's top time this season in the 100-meter dash with a host of conference standouts not far behind. The 200-meter dash will also see a new champion with Iowa's Justin Austin owning the Big Ten's top time in the event. Ohio State's Thomas Murdaugh, runner-up in the 400-meter dash last year, holds the event's top time in the Big Ten this season.
Illinois' Andrew Riley, the 2010 Track Athlete of the Championships, is the defending champion in the 110-meter hurdles. Teammate Cody Wisslead enters the championships as the conference leader in the 400-meter hurdles.
The distance races will have at least three of the top eight finishers in the 800-1,500- 5,000-, and 10,000-me¬ter runs return to compete for titles. Wisconsin's Mohammed Ahmed owns top times in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races, while Penn State's Casimir Loxsom and Indiana's Andrew Poore look to defend their titles in the 800-meter run and 5,000-meter run, respectively. Indiana's De'Sean Turner looks to earn his second con¬secutive 3,000-meter steeplechase crown.
The field events will be loaded with experienced talent. Defending 2010 conference champions Matt Byers of Iowa (javelin), Micah Hegerle and Ben Peterson of Minnesota (hammer/pole vault), Blake Eaton of Penn State (shot put) and Bill Hardcastle of Purdue (discus) return to their respective events and eye another title. Seven scoring athletes return in the long jump and four come back in the triple jump.
Six scoring decathletes from the 2010 champion¬ships return, with Minnesota's Brock Spandl owning the conference's top score of the 2011 season with 7,384 points.