2008 Big Ten Women's Track and Field Outdoor Championships
May 14, 2008
Nationally ranked Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan lead the field of 10 into the 2008 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships on the University of Illinois campus, May 16-18. The Gophers lead the pack, ranked ninth in the nation while Penn State and Michigan sit at 14th and 18th, respectively on the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 25.
Minnesota is poised to improve upon its fourth-place finish in 2007, ranking among the nation's top 10 in six events. Heptathlete Liz Roehrig has scored the second most points in the multi-event (5,740) this season while also clearing six-foot in the high jump to set school records in both events. Senior Rudy Radocaj launched the javelin 187-06 earlier this season, which ranks her second in the country. Steeplechase expert Jamie Cheever has recorded the nation's seventh fastest time at that event with a time of 10:11.33. Owning the 10th collegiately ranked spot in their respective events are Liz Podominick (discus) and Alicia Rue (pole vault).
Third-place finishers from last year's Championships, Penn State has arguably the most athletic squad in the conference. Senior sprinter Shana Cox has owned the quarter mile this season running a season-best of 52.45, ranking sixth nationally. She also anchors a 4X400-meter relay team that has clocked the second fastest time in the country at 3:31.44, over two seconds faster than the current Big Ten Championships record. Right along side Cox in the 400 is senior Dominique Blake who has recorded a 52.91. Freshman Karlee McQuillen looks to challenge Radocaj as the newcomer owns the country's fifth-best javelin throw at 176-00. Anticipate sophomore Bridget Franek to provide quality points in the distance races, considering her ninth-ranked steeplechase time of 10:12.27.
Michigan will try and defend its co-championship from 2007 with a wealth of talent on and off the track. Tiffany Ofili returns as defending Big Ten Champion in the 100-meter hurdles and watch for her to make some noise in the long jump as the junior as leaped 20-9.25 just two weeks ago. Nicole Edwards has two times ranked among the nation's top 15 in the 800 and 1,500 meters. Senior Tori Lynn Salucci should provide distance points in 5,000 meters having run a superb time of 16:11.78. Do not be surprised if Emily Pendleton (discus) and Bettie Wade (heptathlon) contribute first-place points in their respective events.
Iowa will rely heavily on distance points from seniors Diane Nukuri and Meghan Armstrong. The duo owns the Big Ten's best times in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Triple jumper Renee White looks to win the outdoor gold much like she did at this year's indoor championships.
After placing sixth at last year's event, Indiana will need a strong push from its field athletes to make a run at the 2008 crown. Freshman Stephanie Chin has posted the nation's third best pole vault with a 13-11.25 and senior Abbie Stechschulte has the third-best heptathlon performance this season, scoring 5,661 points.