Women's Track Championships, Day One Recap
May 12, 2006
On a cold rainy spring day in East Lansing, the Big Ten Women's Track Championships were underway, but the weather did not damper the competition. At the end of day one competition, Minnesota leads the way with 33.50 points, holding just a slight edge over Michigan, who sits second with 31.66 points.
The first champion of the day was crowned in the pole vault, and it was won in dramatic fashion. Through the rain, seven competitors made 3.65 meters, and it was down to the regional qualification height of 3.80 meters. Six vaulters bowed out, and it was down to the final competitor, Laura Massey of Minnesota.
The sophomore's approach was interrupted by wind, but she kept her composure and cleared the bar to seal the win. Michigan's Kelly Catino, Ashley Hanshaw of Illinois and Purdue's Brianna Neumann finished in a tie for second after the tiebreaker. Andrea Smith of Minnesota finished fifth, while teammate Ashley Nord finished in a tie for sixth with Wisconsin's Blair Leuthmers.
Next up for the women was the hammer throw as the rain continued to fall. Penn State's Jennifer Leatherman entered as the favorite and lived up to it, with a throw of 60.24 meters, adding another regional-qualifying mark to her resume this season. Also hitting the regional standard were Ohio State's Keturah Lofton who took second and Liz Alabi of Minnesota in third with throws of 58.78 meters and 56.60 meters, respectively.
The women also competed in four out of seven events of the heptathlon throughout the day. After the first event, the 100-meter hurdles, Bettie Wade of Michigan picked up 942 points with the fastest time, 14.26 seconds. Just behind Wade was Minnesota's Liz Roehrig with a time of 14.30, giving Roehrig 936 points. Lindsay Biel of Wisconsin was right on their tail, coming in at 14.33 seconds for 932 points.
The second event for the heptathletes was the high jump, where Roehrig took over the lead. The sophomore flew over the bar at 1.71 meters to pick up the 867 first-place points for the event and take over the overall lead with 1802 total points. Wade took second in the high jump, but fell to second place with a total of 1772 points overall.
The heptathlon competitors then moved on to the shot put, and again it was Roehrig who took the maximum from the event. Wade took third behind Minnesota's Jacenta Spandl, but remained in second place overall. Purdue junior Lindsay Singleton was in third place after three events. The standings didn't change at the top after the final heptathlon event of the day, the 200-meter sprint. With Roehrig and Wade finishing first and second once again, and Singleton finishing third, the three remained in the top spots of the competition after four events. Roehrig finished the day with 3,447 overall points, Wade with 3,222 and Singleton with 3,045.
The Wolverines got on the team score board in the 10,000 meter run, which was the last race of the night as the rain poured down. Four Michigan runners lead the front pack throughout the majority of the first 20 laps, and all four finished in the top six to pick up valuable team points. In the final Big Ten races of their respective careers, Wolverine seniors Rebecca Walter and Ana Gjesdal took first and second, respectively. Their teammates Erin Webster and Alyson Kohlmeier brought fifth- and sixth-place points to the team. Indiana's Jessica Gall and defending champion in the event, Erin Rundhaug of Wisconsin broke up the Michigan sweep with second and third place finishes.
The teams are back in action on Saturday in East Lansing, with more cold rain expected. The heptathlon long jump will kick off the day for the women, with the 4x100 meter relay opening the track events.