Feb. 21, 2013
The SPIRE Institute is set to host the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Last year, Nebraska took home the Big Ten Championship title in its first year in the conference, compiling 114.5 points en route to first-place honors. Ohio State finished second with 106 points, while Penn State placed third with 99 points. Illinois came in fourth with 79 points, and Michigan State recorded 77.5 points to round out the top five.
Ashley Spencer returns for the Illini looking to defend her 200- and 400-meter titles. Spencer owns the top 400-meter time in the conference and second best in the country heading into the championships, while her 200-meter mark ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA this season. Illini teammate Morolake Akinosun and Penn State’s Mahogany Jones are tied for first in the 60-meter dash heading into the event, while Illinois’ Samantha Murphy holds top billing in the 600-meter run. Michigan’s Rebecca Addison looks for another title in the 800-meters and fellow Wolverine Amanda Eccleston owns the top one-mile time in the conference this season. Michigan State’s Sara Kroll holds the top mark in the 3,000-meter run by nearly two seconds. Illinois’ Breeana Coleman will look to improve on last year’s second-place effort in the 60-meter hurdles, but Michigan’s Cindy Ofili holds the top conference time by one-tenth of a second. In the 5,000-meters, Ohio State’s Nicole Hilton has the top time entering the championships this season.
In the field events, several student-athletes will look to improve upon their top-three finishes a year ago. Nebraska’s Mara Griva took home the triple jump title in 2012 and owns the top spot in the conference this season. Griva also placed second in the long jump last year, but claims top billing heading into the championships. Illinois’ Stephanie Richartz returns in the pole vault after a second-place finish last year, but Michigan’s Kiley Tobel holds this year’s top mark heading into the event. Wisconsin’s Jessica Flax and Deanna Latham finished second and third in the pentathlon, respectively, last season, but Latham owns the top score heading into the 2013 championships. Purdue’s Dani Bunch owns this year’s top mark in the shot put after finishing second last season, while Michigan State’s Beth Rohl looks to improve on last year’s third-place weight throw effort, holding the top mark in the conference heading into the event. In the high jump, Penn State’s Erika Morgan is the conference’s top performer this season.
Heading into the championships, two Big Ten teams appear in the top 20 of the latest USTFCCCA national rankings. Illinois sits at No. 15 and Michigan is No. 20.
BTN will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships at Noon ET on Saturday, March 2.