Men's track second after day two, women fall to seventh
The men's track team dropped to second place with 58 points in the Big Ten Championships in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, after Minnesota put forth a strong performance and claimed first place with 74 points. Wisconsin won one event and had seven athletes finish in the top 10 Saturday. Eleven Badger athletes qualified for Sunday's finals while 14 Golden Gophers made the cut and will compete Sunday, making for a close competition between the border rivals.
"We have to be perfect tomorrow. We can't afford any mistakes or letdowns," UW men's coach Ed Nuttycombe said. "Tomorrow we can't have any miscues of mishaps if we're going to try to make a run at (the title). We don't have any margin for error. We'll just go and see if we can do it."
Freshman Paul Hubbard won the long jump, upsetting defending champion Aarik Wilson, a junior from Indiana. Hubbard's jump of 24 feet, 5 ½ inches was an inch ahead of Wilson's final jump of 24-4 ½. Wisconsin sophomores Joe Conway and Rick Bellford finished fifth and seventh, respectively. Hubbard also won the long jump at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February.
In the decathlon, UW senior Ashraf Fadel finished second behind Minnesota junior Travis Brandstatter. Fadel earned an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 7,515 points, while Brandstatter finished with 7,724 points. Badger sophomore Joe Detmer took fourth, including a first-place finish in the decathlon 1,500 meters in 4:17.09. He accumulated an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 7,292 points. Wisconsin senior Ryan Tremelling also scored a provisional mark, finishing fifth in 7,019. Sophomore Ben Roland finished ninth with 6,393 points.
Freshman Joe Thomas took fifth in the discus but improved both his personal best throw and his NCAA Regional qualifying mark with a throw of 178-0. He is currently ranked No. 6 on Wisconsin's career list.
Wisconsin's women's track team is currently in seventh place with 25 points at the Big Ten Championships, with only sophomore Melissa Talbot earning a first-place finish for the Badgers Saturday. Talbot won the heptathlon with 5,057 points, which is an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Sophomore Erica Schoeller also participated and took sixth with 4,779 points.
The women also earned points from redshirt freshman ‘A Havahla Haynes, who took seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 10:34.51. She currently has the third-fastest time in school history.
Openweight crew sends six to grand finals
Wisconsin's women's openweight crew made its presence known Saturday at the NCAA Central/South Regionals and will advance all six of its boats to the grand finals Sunday in Oakridge, Tenn. The competition serves as a qualifying race for the 2004 NCAA Championships, held May 28-30 in Sacramento, Calif.
In the varsity eight race, No. 4 seed Wisconsin advanced to the semifinals after winning its heat in the quarterfinals. The Badgers then placed second behind Michigan in the semifinals with a time of 6:48.4 and advanced to the grand finals.
Wisconsin's second varsity eight boat also qualified for the grand finals after finishing in 7:09.5 in the semifinals, clocking in third after Minnesota and Ohio State. In the varsity four, Wisconsin qualified for the grand finals after taking second in the semifinal race, finishing in 7:54.2.
Wisconsin also qualified boats in the novice eight, second novice eight and open four races.