2005 Big Ten Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships Preview
Feb. 24, 2005
The 2005 Big Ten Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships take place on the campus of the University of Michigan this year. In 2004 Penn State won the Big Ten title and will look to make it two in a row this weekend. The Wolverine's will have the advantage of running on their home track as they try to win their seventh indoor championship in school history and tie Wisconsin for the most Big Ten titles since the championships started in 1982.
Illinois will look to capture its first Big Ten Conference title since 1996 and will rely on its sprinters to try and get the job done. Yvonne Mensah ranks second in the league this season with a time of 7.44 in the 60 meters. Additionally, LaNeisha Waller and Tiara Armstrong are ranked 10th and 11th in the Big Ten with times of 7.70 and 7.72, respectively. Mensah is also a favorite in the 60-meter hurdles where she recorded the top time in the league this season at 8.23 and is the defending champion in the event. Waller, Tiffany Nesfield and Camile Robinson all are in the top 10 of the event from the regular season.
Mensah's name pops up again in the 200 meters where she has a top time of 23.99 in 2004-05. Cassie Hunt and Jaime Turilli are the strongest distance runners for Illinois. Hunt was fifth this season in the Big Ten in the mile run, finishing in 4:47.33, while in the 3000 meters she ranked second in the league with a time of 9:20.90. Turilli was fourth in the 3000, clocking in at 9:23.44. The Orange and Blue have the top time in the 4x400-meter relay as well at 3:40.06.
In every track event up to the mile run, the Hoosiers have an athlete ranked in the top ten in the league's top performances from the 2004-05 regular season. Indiana's strongest event may well be the 60-meter hurdles where the Hoosiers have the second and third runners in the Big Ten Conference in the event. Courtney Johnson's time of 8.45 ranks her second in the only hurdle event run at this year's championships, while Lorian Price's 8.53 ranks her third.
Stacey Clausing is Indiana's top middle-distance runner. The sophomore ranked fourth in the league in the 400 meters with a time of 55.15 and seventh in the 600-meters with a time of 1:34.14. Junior Lara Overton is just as valuable in those events with times of 1:33.06 in the 600 meters and 2:11.07 in the 800-meters. In the longest race in NCAA indoor track and field competition, Jessica Gall is at the top of the Big Ten with a time of 16:03.47 in the 5000-meters.
The Hawkeyes will look for their first ever Big Ten Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field title and will have a well-balanced team to try and get the job done. Kineke Alexander will run the 400 meters for the Hawkeyes and should be in contention for a top finish this year. A freshman, Alexander runs the 200-meters in 24.94, the 400 in 53.11 and the 600-meters in 1:34.58.
In the relay events, Iowa is just off the pace by a few seconds in both the 4x400-meter relay and the distance medley relay and could place high in both those events at Michigan. The Hawkeyes field athletes should also add some points to the team total this weekend. In the long jump Kamesha Marshall jumped 5.77 meters to place her in the top 10 performances of the season. The senior is also a top five performer in the shot put where she had a top throw of 14.43 meters. Peaches Roach enters the championships as the top high jumper in the league after clearing 1.85 meters during the regular season. The sophomore won the event in 2004.
With six team titles under its belt - second most of any Big Ten school - the Wolverines will be one of the favorites to win this weekend with the added benefit of running on their home track. In 2004, the Maize and Blue missed out on the title to Penn State and will hope that a deeper line-up and home field advantage will lead them to a first place finish.
Starting out with the 800 meters the Wolverines have athletes capable of bringing in some hardware. Nicole Edwards, Theresa Feldkamp and Lindsey Gallo are first, third and fifth in the top performers in the Big Ten this season with times of 2:06.67, 2:08.19 and 2:09.82, respectively. First, third and fifth also belong to Michigan runners in the 3000 meters where Gallo (9:14.24), Rebecca Walter (9.23.15) and Alyson Kohlmeier (9:23.57) occupy those spots in the conference records for 2004-05. In the mile run Gallo (4:37.97), Kohlmeier (4:43.87) and Edwards (4:45.98) are first, second and third this season in the league while Feldkamp (4:47.98) and Walter (4:50.74) are sixth and seventh.
After finishing sixth in 2004, Michigan State will be looking to take the next step toward its first Big Ten Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship. Michigan State is well represented with athletes near the top of the conference in almost every event. In the 400 meters Cynthia Rooks ranks in the top five of the Big Ten this season and recorded a best finish of 55.15. Megan Radermacher will be a force in the 800-meters where she ranked fourth in the league with a time of 2:09.77.
Fellow Spartan Lisa Senakiewich also ranks fourth in her event - the mile run - with a time of 4:45.98. In the 5000 meters, the Spartans have seen a lot of success during the regular season. Katie Kelly and Michelle Rafferty are second and third in the league in the mile with regular season top times of 16:54.70 and 16:58.18. MSU should also be in contention in the distance medley relay where they topped out at 11:29.40 - good enough for second in the league this year.
Team depth and runners with top times in the conference is again commonplace with the Golden Gophers. After finishing ninth in 2004's edition of the conference championships, Minnesota will look to make a leap all the way to the top with several runners ranked high in the Big Ten this season. Three Golden Gophers can be found in the top three of the 600-meter records from this season. Mollie Hupp, Melissa Steele and Candice Borgan occupy the top three spots all with times under 1:32.00.
Both of Minnesota's relay teams are ranked third after the 2004-05 regular season. The 4x400-meter relay squad logged a top time of 3:41.16, while the distance medley relay team topped out at 11:35.23. In the center of the track, Golden Gopher Liz Roehrig is one of the Big Ten's top high jumpers after a season best jump of 1.79 meters. In the pole vault, Andrea Smith and Ashley Nord are both in the top five of the league with vaults of 3.81 meters and 3.75 meters respectively.
After finishing fourth in 2004, Ohio State will return many of the same runners with the hopes of winning a Big Ten title in Ann Arbor. Also finishing fourth at last year's championships in Iowa City was Jenna Harris who this year is the top runner in the 60-meters at 7.42 seconds. Harris is also one of the league's top runners in the 200 meters where she clocked in with a top time of 24.16 this season.
After claiming the Big Ten title in 2004, Rosalind Goodwin will go for back-to-back championships in the long jump. The senior will be in prime position to do just that after jumping the furthest during the regular season at 6.17 meters. Joining Goodwin for the triple jump event will be senior Shayla Moore. In the regular campaign, Goodwin made the top jump in the conference at 13.13 meters while Moore was second with a jump of 13.12. Ranking fifth in the league this year, Jessica Stringer will go for a Big Ten title in the high jump after a top performance of 1.73 meters during 2004-05. Stringer tied for second at last year's championships.
The defending Big Ten Conference champions will look for their second straight title and only the second in school history this weekend at Michigan. In the 200 meters, Shana Cox and Kamilah Salaam are ranked first and second in the Big Ten after top season times of 23.48 and 23.85, respectively. Penn State's depth in the middle distances continues with Cox and Dominique Blake in the 400-meters where Cox is first in the league (52.75) and Blake is third (54.10).
In the 4x400-meter relay the Nittany Lions rank second in the Big Ten after recording a top time of 3:40.07 during the regular season - one-hundredth of a second behind the top relay squad of Illinois. Off the track, Gayle Hunter is the conference's second-leading long jumper at 6.11 meters while in the weight throw event Jen Leatherman and Kate Johnston hold the top two spots in the Big Ten. Leatherman's top throw of 2004-04 was 19.89 meters while Johnston topped out at 19.86 meters. Rounding out the field events for PSU is the shot put where Leatherman was the top performer in the Big Ten with a throw of 15.87 meters.
After winning the 2001 championship, the Boilermakers will hope to challenge for the top spot at this year's championships. In the 60 meters LaShauna Harris is in the top ten of the Big Ten after a top regular season time of 7.77. A junior, Harris is also the team's top runner in the 60-meter hurdles (8.73) and the 200 meters where her time of 25.15 also places her in the upper echelon of the Big Ten.
In the long jump competition Leah Kincaid should be in contention for an individual Big Ten title after a top jump of 5.69 meters in the long jump. In the high jump competition, sophomore Lindsey Singleton cleared 1.65 meters during the 2004-05 season to rank her in the top half of the Big Ten. Astin Stewart and Sheena James are the Boilermakers entrants in the weight throw and shot put with top throws in the events of 18.85 meters and 14.71 meters respectively.
Statistically, the Badgers are the winningest team in the history of the Big Ten Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship. Wisconsin has won seven team trophies and 82 individual ones since the championships began in 1982 - both totals lead the Big Ten. However, UW has not won the team competition since 1997, but will have a good shot in a wide-open field in 2005.
In the 800-meters, Tara Halls and Erica Schoeller are both in the top ten of the league with times of 2:10.04 and 2:12.50, respectively. In the 3000 meters and 5000 meters Katrina Rundhaug is the Badgers top entry wit a time of 9:33.32 in the 3000 and 16:26.45 in the 5000. In the long jump, two Badgers are in the top five with Erica Scholler fourth with a top throw of 5.95 meters and Christine Taylor fifth with a season-best 5.92 meters. Michelle Belford is ranked fifth in the league with a top triple jump of 12.56 meters while Courtney Bauer is fifth in the shot put at 14.27 meters to round out the Badger's top performers.