Feb. 27, 2005
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - The final day of competition at the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships featured drama till the closing stages. In the end, the University of Michigan recaptured and held onto the lead to win the Big Ten title on its home track here Sunday (February 27).
After holding a slim lead following the first day of competition, the Wolverines closed out the weekend with some strong distance running to secure the schools seventh conference title and first since 2003. The seven league crowns tie U-M for the most in the history of the Big Ten indoor championships with Wisconsin.
Finishing in a close second was Illinois with 117.50 points. The Fighting Illini held the lead at one point late in the day but were unable to hold off the Wolverines. Rounding out the standings was Minnesota in third with 79 points, Penn State in fourth with 74, Ohio State fifth with 67.50, Michigan State sixth with 65, Indiana seventh with 52 followed by Wisconsin with 50 points, Iowa with 39 and Purdue with 27.
Penn State began the day in eighth place but quickly shot up the charts with two top-three finishers in the weight throw. Nittany Lion junior Jennifer Leatherman won the Big Ten title with a throw of 31.32 meters to give PSU 10 team points and set the Big Ten Conference record. In third place was senior Kate Johnston of Penn State with a finals throw of 19.40 meters to give the Nittany Lions an additional six points. Ohio State's Shelaine Larson came in second to give the Buckeyes eight points and boost them into fourth place with her finals throw of 19.68 meters. Michigan remained out in front with 41.50 points with Minnesota second with 37 points and Michigan State third with 34 points.
The Wolverines would increase their lead in the finals of the mile run. In a close race, Lindsey Gallo took home the Big Ten title with a time of 4:42.42. In second was Illinois' Cassie Hunt with a time of 4:44.98 followed by another Wolverine - Jackie Gaydos - in third with a time of 4:50.22 and another Fighting Illini - Tabitha Volling - coming in fourth in 4:51.07. The two top four finishes for each school boosted Michigan's lead to 15 points over the new second place school Illinois. The Wolverines now had 57.50 with Illinois at 42.50.
In the 400 meter finals Penn State appeared to make a charge toward the top spot with runners finishing first and second. However, both Shana Cox and Dominique Blake were disqualified for lane violations, awarding the 400-meter dash title to Michigan State's Cynetheia Rooks. With her time of 54.25 Rooks boosted the Spartans into third place in the team competition with 48 points. Kineke Alexander of Iowa was second in the race with Illinois' Camile Robinson third. Michigan still held the lead with 60.50 points with Illinois second at 48.50 points. Minnesota fell to third with 39 points.
Three runners finished within one-thousandths of a second of each other in the 60 meter finals. Ohio State's Jenna Harris can arguably be called the fastest runner in the Big Ten Conference after she won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.41 seconds. Michigan and Illinois continued to place runners in the top three of events. The Wolverine's Sierra Hauser-Price finished second in 7.42 with the Fighting Illini's Yvonne Mensah third in 7.43. The Buckeyes had now tied Minnesota for fourth place with 43 points; the Wolverine's remained first with 68.50 points with Illinois second at 55.50 and Michigan State in third with 48 points.
With three runners in the finals of the 800 meters, Michigan increased its lead even further despite the second-place Illini winning the title. Carlene Robinson of Illinois finished first, crossing the finish line in 2:09.19. Right on her heels was Michigan's Theresa Feldkamp in 2:09.31. Indiana's Lara Overton was third in 2:10.16. The Maize and Blue's lead over the Orange and Blue was now 17 points with 82.50 points. Illinois had 65.50 with Michigan State remaining in third with 51 points.
In the 60-meter hurdles it was Illinois with three runners in the finals that changed the way the team scoreboard looked. Yvonne Mensah won the event in 8.24, LaNeisha Waller was fourth in 8.46 and Tiffany Nesfield was sixth in 8.57. The three combined to give Illinois 18 points and the lead with 83.50 points - one more than Michigan who did not have a finalist in the hurdles event. Indiana had runners finish second and third in the event with Lorian Price at 8.31 and Courtney Johnson at 8.44. The 14 points moved IU into sixth place from ninth with 39 points. The Spartans remained third (52 points) with the Golden Gophers and Buckeyes tied for fourth (43 points).
Minnesota made a push to catch Michigan and Illinois in the 600 meter finals. The Golden Gopher's Mollie Hupp won the event in 1:31.57. Minnesota also had Tara Halls finish fourth in 1:32.52. The 16 points boosted Minnesota to third with 58 team points. With Nicole Edwards of Michigan finishing second in 1:31.94, the Wolverines jumped back into first place overall with 90.50 points. Illinois fell into second with 85.50 points. Penn State's Dominique Blake finished second in the race in a time of 1:31.94.
A Michigan and U-M Indoor Track Building record was set in the 200 meters by the Wolverine's Hauser-Price. The senior clocked in with a time of 24.00 to set the new mark. Penn State took the next three spots in the 200-meter dash with Shana Cox, Sara Shoaff and Kamilah Salaam crossing the finish line in 24.04, 24.12 and 24.26 for second, third and fourth place respectively. The 19 points boosted PSU from fifth to third place with 65 points. Michigan was still in first at 100.50 points with Illinois in second at 87.50 points.
In the triple jump competition, Ohio State took the first and second place trophies home with Rosalind Goodwin and Shayla Moore coming in first and second respectively. Goodwin won the competition with her finals throw of 13.37 meters with Moore making a final second-place throw of 13.16 meters. Michigan held on to first place despite not having any jumpers in the finals of the event. With only four events remaining, U-M was out in front with 100.50 points, Illinois was second with 92.50 points, Penn State third with 66, Minnesota fourth with 63 and rounding out the top five was MSU and OSU both with 62 points.
Michigan's Gallo captured another Big Ten Conference title Sunday with her performance in the 5000 meters. The senior finished the race in 16:28.51 to win the league crown. Illinois' Jaime Turilli and Cassie Hunt came in second and third with times of 16:32.57 and 16:32.96, respectively. With the second and third place finishes, Illinois had once again closed the gap between first and second place and had 106.50 points with Michigan at 112.50. Penn State remained third with 66 points.
The high jump was the last field event of the championships and saw Iowa claim the individual event title but, Michigan clinch the team competition. The Hawkeye's Peaches Roach won the contest with a finals jump of 1.80 meters. Stephanie Linz of Michigan was second with a jump of 1.76 meters and Liz Roehrig of Minnesota was third also with a jump of 1.76 meters. With one event remaining, Michigan had 128 points, Illinois 107.50, Minnesota 73, Penn State 66 and Michigan State 65 to round out the top five.
The 4x400 meter relay saw the Fighting Illini take first place in 3:43.07, but it was too little too late as Illinois' win got the Orange and Blue to 117.50 points, still behind Michigan. Penn State and Minnesota took second and third in the relay with times of 3:45.80 and 3:47.92, respectively.