May 24, 2005
The 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Regionals are set to get underway this weekend at four sites across the country. Both Big Ten Championships winners will be competing in the Mideast Regional as Wisconsin's men's team and Illinois' women's squad will join Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue in Bloomington for the Mideast Regional hosted by Indiana. Iowa and Minnesota will compete in the Midwest Regional at the University of Oklahoma while Penn State will travel to Randall's Island, N.Y., for the East Regional.
Below is a brief outlook:
Penn State is the lone Big Ten representative in the East Regional and will be led by Conference champions Jaret Campisi (400-meter hurdles) and Bret Kershner (javelin). On the women's side, the Nittany Lions are coming off a second-place team finish at the League meet including top performances by Shana Cox (400-meter dash), Jennifer Leatherman (hammer throw) and the 4x100-meter relay squad.
Seven Big Ten schools will be competing in Bloomington, Ind., at the Mideast Regional, including Big Ten men's (Wisconsin) and women's (Illinois) team champions. The competition will be tough as eight of the top 25 men's teams and three of the top 25 women's teams will be at the two-day meet. Included in that group on the men's side are No. 9 Indiana, No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 21 Michigan.
Iowa and Minnesota will represent the League in Norman, Okla., at the Midwest Regional. At the 2004 meet, the Hawkeyes' women's team finished tied for 12th place with 20 points, while the men's team finished 15th with 15 points. The Minnesota women enter this year's regional behind three first-place individual finishes at the Big Ten Championships, including a double-win by Big Ten Freshman of the Year Liz Podominick (shot put and discus). Also claiming a Conference crown for Minnesota was Melissa Steele in the 400-meter hurdles.
Student-athletes qualified for the regional championships by reaching the standards established for each event or by earning automatic access as a conference event champion. The 10,000-meter run and the decathlon are the only two events that qualifying is based on competition outside the regional championships.
The regional format is set up so the top five individuals and top three relay teams from each of the four sites will automatically qualify for the 2005 NCAA Championships, set to take place June 8-11 at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento State and the Sacramento Sports Commission will serve as co-hosts of the event.