Feb. 25, 2011
Purdue University will be the site of the 2011 Big Ten Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships. This year's event has the opportunity to see many records fall as four Big Ten student-athletes rank among the top five nationally in their respective events. Defending indoor champion Penn State will look to claim its second consecutive and third overall conference crown.
Last season, the Nittany Lions recorded 111 points over the two-day contest. Ohio State finished second with 88 points and Indiana was third with 83. Minnesota followed closely behind with 82 points and Wisconsin rounded out the top five with 72.
Beth Alford-Sullivan, 2010 Coach of the Year, returns a lineup packed with depth as Penn State aims for a repeat win. Shavon Greaves, the 2010 Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, enters the meet with the 10th fastest time in the nation in the 200 meters (23.18) and also boasts the 13th-fastest time in the 400 meters (53.53). Senior Bianca Fung enters the competition with the conference's top mark of 20'2.25" (6.15m) in the long jump. Penn State's 4x400 meter relay team, which currently holds a conference-leading time of 3:37.25, will also look to bring home points this weekend.
Ohio State hopes to improve upon its second-place showing at last year's meet. Christina Manning, the defending 60-meter hurdles champion, owns the nation's third-fastest and conference-leading time of 8.13. Indiana looks to build upon last season's third-place finish, the best in seven years. The Hoosiers are led by 2010 Co-Field Athlete of the Championships Faith Sherrill. The junior weight thrower currently leads the nation and will look to add another Big Ten title to her credit after winning the event last year.
Minnesota seeks to rack up major points in this year's competition with seniors Samantha Sonnenberg and Nikki Swenson. Sonnenberg strives to defend her pole vault title as she currently holds the ninth-highest clearance in the nation at 13'11.25" (4.25m). Swenson enters the one-mile run with a conference-leading time of 4:39.86.
Michigan leads the conference in the latest USTFCCCA poll with a No. 13 national ranking. The sophomore duo of Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith have left their mark on the conference level, posting top marks in their respective events. Addison and teammates Danielle Tauro, Alisha Cole, and Smith leads the conference in the distance medley relay, while Smith, the 2010 Freshman of the Year seeks her second 800 meter Big Ten title.
Michigan State's Emily MacLeod and Wisconsin's Dorcas Akinniyi aim for a strong showing at this year's championships. In the 3,000-meter run, MacLeod holds the 10th-fastest time in the country and tops the conference with a time of 9.15.60. Senior Badger Akinniyi is ranked 11th in Division I and will look to defend her Big Ten title in the pentathlon.
The Big Ten Network will be on hand to cover the action at the championships, which will be broadcast via tape delay on Sunday, March 6 at 4 p.m. ET.