2011 Big Ten Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships Preview
May 12, 2011
Park Ridge, Ill. -
The 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by the University of Iowa at the Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track, is set to begin Friday and run through Sunday. Last year, Penn State won its third straight Big Ten Championship with 133.5 points. The Nittany Lions edged Minnesota, who finished second with 123 points, and third-place Wisconsin (101.50).
Starting with the sprint races, Penn State's Shavon Greaves returns to defend her crowns in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as she is one of three returning scorers in what will be an exciting showdown this year. Minnesota sophomore Alena Brooks looks to win the 400-meters as she holds the conference's fastest time this season.
Ohio State's Letecia Wright, the 2010 third-place finisher in the 100-meter hurdles, is the top returning scorer in the event, and has the Big Ten's top time in the event this season. In the 400-meter hurdles, 2011 leader Penn State's Evonne Britton eyes a first-place finish and is joined by five of last year's top eight finishers.
The distance races will feature last year's 5,000-meter runner-up Emily MacLeod of Michigan State. Michigan freshman Jillian Smith owns the conference's fastest time in the 1,500-meters, while Minnesota's Nikki Swenson is the top returning scorer in the 800. Three of the top six finishers in last year's 3,000-meter steeplechase return for what should be a close race, featuring last year's runner-up Sarah Pease of Indiana.
In the field events, four conference champions return to defend their titles. In the long jump, defending champion Todea-Kay Willis of Minnesota is one of five returning scorers from a year ago, while Indiana's Faith Sherrill hopes to defend her Big Ten title in the shot put in a field that includes six other returning scorers. Michigan State's Rebecca Buchholtz was the 2010 high jump champion, and will be challenged by Ashley Galbraith of Ohio State, who holds the conference's top mark in the event this year. Michigan's Erin Pendleton, last year's Freshman of the Year, took home the discus crown last year and looks to defend her title this season.
Four scoring heptathletes from last year return, with Wisconsin earning the top two scorers this year in Jessica Flax (5,353) and Dorcas Akinniyi (5,352).