May 10, 2012
The Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex at the University of Wisconsin is set to host the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, scheduled for Friday through Sunday. Last year, Ohio State took home the Big Ten title, compiling 135 points en route to first-place honors. Penn State finished second with 122 points, while Indiana placed third with 96 points. Illinois came in fourth with 90 points, and Michigan State recorded 74.5 points to round out the top five.
Ohio State’s Christina Manning, the 2011 Track Athlete of the Year, returns to defend her titles in the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles. Manning owns the top mark in the hurdles and the second-best time in 100-meter dash heading into the championships, trailing teammate Chesna Sykes by one tenth of a second. Defending 400-meter champion Shaniqua McGinnis also returns for the Buckeyes, holding the top time in the conference heading into the event. Illinois freshman Ashley Spencer holds the top time in the 200-meter dash entering Friday, while fellow Illini Latoya Griffith owns the top spot in the 400-meter hurdles, and Nebraska’s Ashley Miller claims the top spot in the 800-meter run. Michigan’s Rebecca Addison returns to defend her 1,500-meter run title, but teammate Jillian Smith holds the top time entering the championships.
After placing sixth in last year’s 5,000-meter run, Iowa’s McKenzie Melander boasts the top time in the conference this year. Penn State’s Kara Millhouse looks to defend her 10,000-meter title, but holds the second-fastest time behind Wisconsin’s Caitlin Comfort. Indiana’s Breanne Ehrman is the top returning finisher in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and holds the top time going into Friday.
In the field events, four conference champions return to defend their respective titles. In the long jump, Leah Eber of Purdue holds the best mark in the conference, while Michigan State’s Rebecca Buchholtz claims the top mark in the high jump. Michigan State’s Beth Rohl, the 2011 Track Athlete of the Championships, returns to defend her titles in the discus and hammer throw, but Nebraska’s Morgan Wilken (discus) and Penn State’s Melissa Kurzdorfer (hammer) hold the top event marks heading into Friday. Defending triple jump champion Kelcey McKinney of Ohio State looks to retain her crown, but the Huskers’ Anna Weigandt claims the top mark in the conference. In the Heptathlon, three Badgers hold top scores heading into the event, with defending champion Jessica Flax leading the way. Indiana’s Monique Riddick looks to improve on her third-place effort in the shot put, but the Huskers’ Veronica Grizzle and the Badgers’ Taylor Smith rank first and second, respectively, in the conference this season. Penn State’s Laura Loht holds the top mark in the javelin, while Indiana’s Kelsie Ahbe looks to improve on her third-place finish in last year’s pole vault.
Heading into the championships, Ohio State appears in the latest USTFCCCA National Rankings, checking in at No. 24.
BTN will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Noon ET on Sunday, May 20.