Wisconsin Wins Third-Consecutive Big Ten Outdoor Championship

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The rain let up today in East Lansing, Mich., for the final day of the 2006 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships as Wisconsin claimed its third-consecutive team title. The Badgers have now won 16 total crowns and boast their third three-peat since first competing in track and field for the conference in 1915. UW finished with a 30-point lead over the rest of the competition and ended with 161.5 total team points. Minnesota placed second with 121.50 points while Indiana rounded out the top three after tallying a score of 105. Through 21 events, Iowa placed fourth with 77 points while Illinois and Michigan finished just eight points behind, tied at fifth place. Penn State (61 pts.) and Ohio State (59 pts.) placed seventh and eighth, respectively. Michigan State (49) and Purdue (45) rounded out the team competition.

The men's competition began Sunday with two throwing events as the finals for the shot put and pole vault kicked off at 12:30 p.m. ET. Minnesota's Karl Erickson entered the 2006 championships with the best shot put mark in the conference of 61'09.5" (18.84 meters). The senior bettered his distance today by 2"0.75" to claim the individual crown with an NCAA regional qualifying final mark of 64'0.25" (19.51 meters). Iowa's Shane Maier finished second after meeting a distance of 62'02.25" ( 18.95 meters) while teammate John Hickey took third with after tallying 57'03.75" (17.47 meters). Indiana senior Ryan Ketchum repeated his fourth-place finish from a year ago today as he tallied 56"10" (17.32 meters). Jason Brown of Michigan State and another Hawkeye, Mark Schaapveld, finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Michigan's Sean Pruitt recorded the final regional qualifying mark of the top-seven competitors and Ohio State's Patrick Whalen (eighth) rounded out the finalists.

Michigan State's Brad Gebaur has won his fourth Big Ten tile in the men's pole vault today, defeating the rest of the competition by four inches. The senior, who captured the title at the indoor championships in 2005 and 2006 and also was crowned the winner during the outdoor championships in 2004, cleared 16'10.75" (5.15 meters) for this year's individual title. Spartan teammate, Mark Langlois, placed second at 16'06.75" (5.05 meters). Indiana's Jeffrey Coover met the same height as Langlois but took third place after a tie breaker. Boilermakers John Porter and Ben Pax claimed fourth and fifth place, respectively. Porter also tied with Coover and Langlois at 16'06.75" and tallied an regional qualifying height in addition to Gebauer's mark.

The 4x100-meter relay began the running event finals on the men's side with the defending Big Ten Champion Wisconsin capturing the title in an NCAA regional qualifying fashion of 40.28. The Badgers had the third-best time entering the finals but anchor Demi Omole could not be caught on the final 100 meters despite running with a pulled hamstring that he suffered during the 100-meter preliminary race during day two of the competition. UW's Chad Melotte, Rick Bellford and Dan Goesch joined Omole on the winner's platform with their 2006 title. Minnesota's Andy Newman, Ibrahiabm Kaibia, Robb Merrit and Aaron Buzard added eight more points the Gophers' overall total with a second-place finish. The foursome entered the finals in fifth place but bettered their prelim time by .67 seconds to boast a 40.43 regional qualifying mark in the finals. Iowa's quartet of Max Milder, David Chaplin, Davie Pierre and Prince Riley finished third, notching the third NCAA regional qualifying time of the day, clocking in at 40.65. Indiana and Michigan State finished fourth and fifth with times of 40.74 and 41.04, respectively. Michigan placed sixth and Ohio State finished seventh while Illinois was disqualified due exchange zone violations.

Wisconsin notched 10 more points in the 1,500-meter run as junior Chris Solinsky, who was the runner-up in the event a year ago, ran an NCAA regional qualifying time of 3:43.78 to claim the individual title. The Badger ran in third place behind a pair of Michigan State Spartans through the first two laps but made his move into the lead with a little over 800 meters left to go. He never looked back despite a strong charge by Michigan's Michael Woods who finished second in 3:45.89, another regional qualifying mark. Solinsky's 2006 time is a 1.09 second improvement from his performance in the event at last year's championships. Indiana's John Jefferson and Wisconsin's Ben Gregory tallied the remaining qualifying marks as the Hoosier placed third in 3:47.89 and the Badger finished in 3:47.77. Michigan freshman Justin Switzer came in fifth place with a time of 3:48.53. Michigan State's Jim Pancoast placed sixth while Minnesota's Eddie Kibira and Ben Hanson rounded out the top-eight competitors.

Michigan's Jeff Porter put everything he had on the line for the 110-meter hurdles. The junior captured the individual event in a regional qualifying standard of 13.94 after falling across the finish line and later being carried off the track by his coaches. Andre English of Illinois finished just .01 seconds behind Porter, clocking in at 13.95. Purdue's Keith Hopkins, who went down after crossing the finish line with calf cramping in his legs, placed third in 14.11. Spartan junior John Childress and Badger senior Paul Check finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in 14.20 and 14.25. All top-five times met NCAA regional qualifying standards. Adam Stanowick (Penn State) and Brian Kaluf (Purdue) rounded out the place-winner as Indiana's Stephanos Ioannou did not finish the race.

The 400-meter dash finals saw six regional qualifiers cross the finish line. David Neville of Indiana is now a two-time Big Ten Champion in event as he captured the 2006 title in 45.49, .40 seconds faster than his mark from last year. Minnesota's Aaron Buzard, who helped his Gopher 4x100-meter relay squad claim second place earlier today, ran a time of 45.51 to finish second. Michigan junior Stann Waithe placed third in 46.15, Illinois Abe Jones was fourth after recording a time of 46.26 and Michigan State sophomore Jeremy Orr finished fifth in 46.32. Illinois' Nathan Vaderboncouer tallied the final regional qualifying mark in the event, as the top-five competitors also regional qualified for the NCAA championships, as the senior finished in 46.52 for sixth place.

After anchoring a victorious 4x100-meter relay earlier today, Wisconsin's Demi Omole successfully defended his 100-meter title from a year ago after crossing the finish line in 10.29, a regional qualifying mark. Despite a nagging hamstring injury suffered during day two of competition, Omole led the entire race and his time is .06 seconds faster than his time at the 2005 championships. Illinois freshman Dominique Worsley trailed Omole by only .33 seconds and finished as the runner-up with a time of 10.42, regionally qualifying him for the NCAA Championships. Only .02 seconds separated the third- and fourth-place finishes as David Chaplin of Iowa ran a 10.55 while Alex Langan of Penn State turned in a time of 10.57. Purdue's Rickey Pinkney rounded out the top-five with a time of 10.64.

Wisconsin's Alonzo Moore bettered his season-best and captured the 2006 triple jump title after tallying a mark of 53'06.25" (16.31 meters). The senior led the conference after jumping 51'9.25" (15.78 meters) and is now the two-time Big Ten champion in the event as he also won last year. Indiana Kyle Jenkins and Michigan's Michael White head placed second and third, respectivey.

Penn State junior Allen Pettner entered this weekend with the farthest javelin toss in the conference at 218'02" (66.5 meters). He added .04 inches to his mark today for a season-best, regional qualifying 218'06" (66.59 meters), good enough for the 2006 individual title. Nathan Brown of Wisconsin captured the No. 2 spot for the second-consecutive year with a mark 209'00" (63.71 meters). Another Nittany Lion claimed a top-three place as freshman Tanner Evak, competing in his first Big Ten Outdoor Championships, finished with a distance of 206'10" (63.04 meters). Kale Katt of Iowa placed fourth after tossing the javelin 201'07" (61.44 meters) and Jesse Kovash of Minnesota finished in fifth place with a 201'07" distance. Jim Schwingendorf (Purdue), Ben Roland (Wisconsin) and Pat Filipi (Ohio State) rounded out the top-eight finishers.

Mark Miller, a Penn State sophomore ran to his first Big Ten Outdoor Championship and regionally qualified for the NCAA meet with an 800-meter time of 1:48.78. He ranked fourth in the conference entering today's final and remained in the No. 4 spot for the majority of the race. With 100 meters remaining, the Nittany Lion made his move, passing Illinois' Tim Hobbs and holding off Minnesota's Trent Riter. Riter surpassed Hobbs with 50 meters to go to take second place in 1:49.10 while Hobbs placed third in 1:49.15. Matt Lincoln of Penn State finished fourth with a time of 1:49.23 while Rondell Ruff of Michigan clocked it at 1:49.43. Michigan State junior, Phil Marlatt turned in a time of 1:49.81 to finish sixth. The top six times met regional qualifying standards.

Coming off his fourth-place 400-meter dash finish earlier today, Illini senior Abe Jones captured the 400-meter hurdle individual title in a regional qualifying fashion of 51.11. Jones led the Big Ten with a time of 50.37 leading up to the 2006 Big Ten Championships and earned Illinois 10 more team points. He was overtook two Ohio State freshmen, Matt Comer and Elon Simms, in the final 25-meters for the crown. Comer finished second and Simms placed third with times of 51.23 and 51.43, respectively. A pair of Wolverines rounded out the top five as freshman Dan Harmsen finished in 51.94 and sophomore Chirs Stowe clocked in at 52.77.

David Neville of Indiana captured the 2006 200-meter dash title in a regional qualifying time of 20.85. The junior, who placed first in the 400-meter dash finals earlier in the day and was the 2005 200-meter runner-up, boasted the fastest time in the Big Ten of 20.74 leading up to the championships. Wisconsin's Demi Omole placed second, just .23 seconds behind Neville for second place. Despite first anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay squad before becoming the 2006 100-meter dash champion earlier in the day. Illinois's Dominique Worsley added to and impressive rookie campaign with a 21.12, third-place finish. Hawkeye freshman David Chaplin ran a regional qualifying time of 21.14, good enough for fourth place while Jeremy Orr of Michigan State finished fifth after clocking in at 21.26. Minnesota's Aaron Buzard placed sixth, Purdue's Jh'Rome Tuggle took home seventh place and Penn State's Alex Langan rounded out the top eight.

Stephen Haas of Indiana ran a regional qualifying time of 14.00.54 to earn the 5,000-meter crown. He was followed closely by Wisconsin's Stuart Eagon throughout the entire race. Eagon finished clocked in at 14:01.32, good enough for second place and to regionally qualify for the NCAA Championships. Fellow Hoosier, John Jefferson, who also placed third in the 1,500 meters, ran a time of 14:12.47 to capture third place honors. Iowa's Micah VanDenend finished fourth in 14:13.13 while Badger sophomores Matt Withrow and Christian Wagner placed fifth and sixth, respectively.

The final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay saw Indiana bring home the title as the Hoosier foursome finished in 3:08.21, a regional qualifier. Minnesota nabbed the second qualifying mark with a time of 3:09.67 and placed second. Ohio State's crew finished in third place after running 3:10.51 while the Michigan relay was not far behind, clocking in at 3:11.08. Wisconsin rounded out the top five with a time of 3:11.11.