Big Ten Men's Track and Field Outdoor Championships Preview
May 14, 2008
All 10 conference squads will vie for the Big Ten title at the 2008 Outdoor Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois, on May 16-18. Wisconsin enters the event as the conference favorite having won the previous four outdoor meets and the previous eight Indoor Championships.
The Badgers look to rack up big points in the distance events with a barrage of talent. Sophomores Jack Bolas and Craig Miller and freshman Evan Jager nationally rank in the top 14 in the 1,500 meters. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, sophomores Ryan Gasper and Brandon Bethke collegiately rank eighth and 12th, respectively. Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year Matt Withrow owns the nation's sixth-best 10,000-meter run. Junior Christian Wagner is not far behind Withrow sitting at 24th.
Last year's runner-up, Minnesota is will be lead by Sophomore Aaron Studt and Junior Ibrahim Kabia. Studt garnered back-to-back Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors this season for his performances in the shot put and hammer throw. Kabia is vieing for the the title of the Big Ten's fastest man as he already owns the conference's second best 100-meter dash time.
The third-place finisher in 2007, Michigan has placed in the top four in each of the previous four championships, but has not won a team title since 1994. The Wolverines will look to junior Adam Harris to provide points in the sprint races. In the field, sophomore Sean Pruitt has been challenging the Big Ten's best throwers all season long.
Penn State looks to climb podium spots after a fourth-place finish in 2007. Senior Ron Jules will challenge Purdue's Hembrough for gold in the 110-meter hurdles. Half-milers Sam Borchers and Mark Miller look to contribute major points in the 800. On the triple jump runway, Clarence Smith owns the nation's 15th-best mark.
After finishing ninth at last year's championships, Ohio State looks to make a vault in the standings. Distance specialist Jeff See owns the country's seventh fastest 1,500-meter time as Jim Spivey's Championships record of 3:38.56 might be in jeopardy. Seniors Anthony Cole (sprints) and Lenny Jatsek (throws) also anchor a solid Buckeye squad.
The Hoosiers look to the field to bring home many first-place points. Seniors Kyle Jenkins and Kiwan Lawson own the Big Ten's best long and triple jump marks. Junior Jeff Coover has cleared 17-6.5 in the pole vault ranking him fourth in the country and tops in the conference.