Badgers Lead After First Day of 2005 Big Ten Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships
May 13, 2005
COLUMBUS, OHIO - Wisconsin is in first place after Friday's (May 13) first day of competition of the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
With 24 points, UW has a slim lead over the field with only three events in the books. Penn State is in second with 19.50 points followed by Michigan State with 18, Ohio State with 17, Minnesota with 15.50, Michigan with 11 and Purdue and Illinois with six points each. Indiana and Iowa have yet to get on the board in the early stages of this year's league summit.
Two women's event had both trials and finals on the opening day of competition. First, Mickie Rzepak of Michigan State won the Big Ten Conference title in the pole vault event. The senior finished tied for fourth last year, but this year cleared 4.00 meters and won the event on the second tie-breaker (total missed attempts) over Minnesota's Andrea Smith. Rzepka and Smith - a freshman - both cleared 4.00 meters but were unable to vault over 4.10 meters which would have set a Big Ten record. Illinois's Ashley Hanshaw received the third place medal after she cleared 3.70 meters.
Penn State's Jennifer Leatherman won the hammer throw event with a top throw of 60.74 meters. The junior and reigning Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Week for women's track and field had the top throw in the Big Ten during the regular season at 60.82 meters. Shelaine Larson of Ohio State placed second in the event with a top throw of 60.07 meters with the Nittany Lion's Kate Johnston finishing third with her top throw of 57.83 meters.
The heptathlon competition appears to be a one-on-one competition between Wisconsin's Melissa Talbot, who was last year's champion, and Minnesota's Liz Roehrig. Talbot won the first event - the 100-meter hurdles - in a time of 13.93 to claim the early lead over the field. Roehrig would stake her claim on second place by clearing 1.74 meters in the high jump. The Golden Gopher freshman was eight points behind Talbot after two events.
Roehrig would climb into first place by finishing second in the shot put with a throw of 11.43 meters. Talbot now trailed by 42 points after she recorded the top throw of the day at 10.70 meters. The Badger junior showed why she was last year's heptathlon champion by winning the 200 meters with a time of 24.19 to give her 3,285 points half way through the competition. Roherig came in second in the final heptathlon event of the day with a time of 24.93.
After a long delay to due to bad weather, Wisconsin's Katrina Rundhaug won the Big Ten title in the 10,000 meters by a large margin. The Badger sophomore finished the longest event in college track in 35:26.85 to claim the league crown. Michigan State's Michelle Rafferty finished in second place with a time of 35:46.54 while Wisconsin's Michelle Lilienthal improved on her fifth place finish from a year ago with a third place time of 35:53.22.
Saturday's (May 14) second day of competition begins at 10:15 a.m. eastern time with the continuation of the heptathlon competition. Big Ten Conference champions will be crowned in the shot put, long jump, javelin, heptathlon and 3,000-meter steeplechase during Saturday's competition.