2010 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships Preview
May 12, 2010
The 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Indiana University at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex, is set to begin Friday and run through Sunday. Last year’s outcome was one of the closest in conference history as Penn State won its second straight Big Ten Championship with 139 points. The Nittany Lions narrowly edged Michigan, who finished second with 138.75 points, and third-place Minnesota (131.50).
Nine conference champions return from the 2009 meet with the hopes of duplicating their efforts in 2010. Meanwhile, a plethora of top-eight finishers from last year are poised to move up in the standings at this year’s competition.
Beginning with the sprint races, Penn State’s Shavon Greaves returns to defend her crowns in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She currently boasts the conference’s top times in those events, but will be challenged by a number of returning performers in each race. Illinois’ Melissa Bates was the 400-meter champion last year, and is one of seven returning scorers in what will be an exciting showdown this year.
Ohio State’s Letecia Wright, the 2009 runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles, is the top returning scorer in the event, and with the Big Ten’s top time in the event this season, will undoubtedly be a contender once again. In the 400-meter hurdles race, Penn State’s Fawn Dorr eyes a first-place finish after having placed second a year ago.
The distance races will feature several returning standouts, including last year’s 5,000-meter champion Angela Bizzarri of Illinois, who set a Big Ten Championships record in the event a year ago, and 10,000-meter winner Megan Duwell of Minnesota. Bizzarri was the runner-up in the 1,500-meter distance, while Gopher Nikki Swenson is the top returning scorer in the 800, posting a third-place finish a year ago. Three of the top four finishers in last year’s 3,000-meter steeplechase return for what should be a close race. Penn State’s Bridget Franek and Indiana’s Sarah Pease both rank in the top 10 nationally in the event this season.
In the field events, four conference champions return to defend their titles. In the high jump, defending champion Ashley Rhoades of Indiana is one of five returning scorers from a year ago, while Illinois’ Aja Evans hopes to defend her Big Ten title in the shot put in a field that includes three other returning scorers. Michigan’s Emily Pendleton was the 2009 discus champion, and will be challenged not only by a pair of returning scorers, but also her sister Erin, who is a freshman at Michigan and holds the conference’s top mark in the event this season. Minnesota’s Alicia Rue is the defending champion in the pole vault, setting the new Big Ten Championships record in the event and was named Co-Field Athlete of the Championships.