Illinois Wins Fifth Outdoor Track and Field Title in School History

May 15, 2005

2005 All-Big Ten Women's Outdoor Track and Field Teams

COLUMBUS, OHIO - It was a race to the finish in the team competition of the 2005 Big Ten Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships team title here on Sunday (May 15) at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.

In the final events of the weekend the Fighting Illini began to pull away form the pack and went on to win their fifth Big Ten outdoor track and field title in school history. Illinois' last team title came back in 1995. On Sunday the Illini recorded 135 points en route to earning the Big Ten trophy.

Penn State finished in second place with a total of 112.50 points followed by Michigan's third place tally of 110.50. Rounding out the team standings was Minnesota with 92 points followed by Ohio State with 85, Wisconsin with 67, Purdue with 64.50, Indiana with 63, Iowa with 52.50 and Michigan State with 36 team points.

The Nittany Lions entered the final day of competition with a slim lead over the field and would increase their advantage by wining the 4x100-meter relay. The PSU quartet of Sara Schoaff, Shana Cox, Brooke Robinson and Kamilah Salaam captured Penn State's second consecutive Big Ten title in the event with a time of 45.27. Illinois took home second place, crossing the finish line in a time of 45.79 with Indiana claiming third in a time of 46.23.

The second final of the day saw another repeat champion form a year ago. Michigan's Lindsey Gallo improved on her championship time of 4:24.37 from a year ago by running a 4:21.48 to win the mile-long event by a 40-meter margin. Illinois's Jaime Turilli took home second place honors with a time of 4:24.48 with Indiana junior Laura Overton taking third place in a time of 4:24.94.

In the triple jump event, Ohio State's Shayle Moore captured the Big Ten title on her home track. The senior jumped 12.98 meters to win the event after placing fifth at the 2004 Big Ten outdoor championships. Kristina Jones of Illinois finished behind Moore a year ago in sixth place and finished behind her again this year. The sophomore cleared 12.87 meters for second place. Rosalind Goodwin of Ohio State came in third with a jump of 12.86 meters.

Perhaps the favorite entering the 100-meter hurdles event, Illinois' Yvonne Mensah wouldn't get a chance to win a Big Ten title as the sophomore crashed to the ground after tripping over the first hurdle. Lorian Price of Indiana sprinted on to win the Big Ten title in the event with a time of 13.70. Iowa's Tiffany Johnson and Illinois' Tiffany Nesfield took home second and third place based one thousandth of a second with times of 13.876 seconds and13.878 seconds respectively.

In the discus event, Minnesota's Liz Podominick won her second Big Ten title of the weekend with a throw of 52.20 meters. Podominick won the shot put event on Saturday (May 14) to give her two Big Ten outdoor titles in her first year of competition. Sophomores Astin Steward of Purdue and Bridgette Maynard of Michigan garnered second and third place honors with throws of 51.68 and 49.45 meters respectively.

Penn State remained in the lead for the team title and would increase its lead after Shana Cox won the 400-meter dash. The sophomore clocked in at 52.91 to earn the Big Ten title. Indiana's Stacey Clausing came in second with a time of 53.12 while Michigan State's Cynetheia Rooks finished in third place with a time of 53.59.

Two one-hundredths of a second was all that decided first and second place in the 100-meter dash. Ohio State's Jenna Harris crossed the finish line in 11.608 seconds for first place, just ahead of Michigan's Sierra Hauser-Price who clocked in at 11.610. Iowa's Peaches Roach finished in a very close third with a time of 11.66. In all, eight of the nine finalists in the event finished within twenty-tenths of a second of each other.

Michigan jumped from seventh to third place in the team standings after two Wolverines placed in the top three of the 800 meters. Junior Katie Erdman won the event in a time of 2:05.45 while Maize and Blue freshman Nicole Edwards came in third place in 2:09.02. Illinois' sophomore Carlene Robinson took home second place honors after crossing the finish line in 2:06.85.

With 16 events scored, Penn State led the field with 95.50 points followed by Illinois with 86 points, Michigan with 75, Minnesota with 68.50 followed by Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin all with 62 points to round out the top five point totals.

Minnesota would drop Michigan down to fourth place after Melissa Steele won the 400-meter hurdles. The senior crossed the finish line in 57.67 to move the Golden Gophers into third place overall. The race also saw a new leader emerge in the team competition. The Fighting Illini's Camile Robinson and Natalie Young came in second and third place with times in a time of 58.21 and 1:00.58, respectively. The duo added 14 points to Illinois' team total to move them into first place with 100 points, just half a point ahead of Penn State.

Penn State would jump back into the lead after Sara Schoaff picked up five points for a fourth place finish in the 200 meters with a time of 24.03. Indiana's Stacey Clausing took home top honors in the event with a time of 23.51 followed by Michigan's Sierra Hauser-Price in second with a time of 23.85 and Ohio State's Jenna Harris in third at 23.95 seconds.

With Hauser-Price's second place showing in the 200 meter event, Michigan climbed back into third place with 88 points behind now second place Illinois' 103 points and Penn State's leading 105.50 points.

Illinois' Cassie Hunt was the runner-up at the 2004 outdoor summit in the 5,000 meters but this year was able to bring home a Big Ten title. The sophomore won the event in 16:29.08. Michigan junior Rebecca Walter took second place after crossing the finish line in 16:34.55 followed by another Illini runner, Jaime Turilli, who clocked in at 16:35.83 for third place. The Orange and Blue gained 16 points in the event to move into first place with 119 points. Penn State fell to second with 108.50 points with Michigan third with an even 100 for the championships.

Illinois would increase its lead after the high jump results came in. However, it was home-crowd favorite Jessie Stringer that stole the show with the Ohio State sophomore's first place jump of 1.78 meters. Peaches Roach of Iowa was unable to repeat as Big Ten champion but did come in second place after clearing 1.75 meters. The Fighting Illini's Mariesa Greene garnered six more points for U of I after she also cleared 1.75 meters and was awarded third place based on tie breakers.

With only one event to go - the 4x400-meter relay - Illinois had locked up the 2005 Big Ten title. Penn State and Michigan would now battle it out for second place as the two schools were separated by only one point with one event to go.

The Illini put an exclamation point on their team title with a win in the 4x400-meter relay event. In a time of 3:37.53, U of I took first place followed by Indiana and Iowa with times of 3:39.46 and 3:40.34, respectively. The Nittany Lions came in fifth place, crossing the finish line in 3:43.96 to seal a second place finish overall.