Down by 28 points with four events remaining in the Big Ten Outdoor Championship, the Wisconsin men's track team rallied to pass Minnesota by eight points and win the outdoor title with 165 points. The Gophers placed second with 157 points at the championship, held in West Lafayette, Ind. Wisconsin previously won the conference men's cross-country championship last November and the indoor track and field championships in February, giving the team the coveted honor of the Triple Crown for winning all three in a single academic year.
"I don't know what to say about this team; they just competed great," head coach Ed Nuttycombe said. "I'm not surprised that we scored as many points as we scored but I'm surprised that it was enough to win it. It was a great team effort from top to bottom.
"The Triple Crown is our goal every year," Nuttycombe added. "It feels like mission accomplished."
To accomplish that mission, Wisconsin relied on its distance runners and its jumpers to build up points. Wisconsin grabbed 19 points in the 5,000 meters, with junior Matt Tegenkamp finishing second in 14:33.55, freshman Chris Solinsky coming in third in 14:13.72 and sophomore Simon Bairu taking fourth in 14:14.08. Ohio State junior Brian Olinger won the event in 14:09.80.
Wisconsin also fared well in the 1,500, as junior Josh Spiker took second in 4:01.87 and sophomores Ben Gregory (4:04.10) and Bobby Lockhart (4:04.57) finished sixth and eighth, respectively. In the 800, junior Dan Murray finished fourth in 1:49.64.
In the triple jump, Wisconsin came up big with 17 points, thanks to second-, third- and sixth-place finishes. Sophomore Alonzo Moore was Wisconsin's top finisher with a jump of 52 feet, 5 ¼ inches, while sophomore Rick Bellford took third with a personal best of 52-0 ½ and freshman Paul Hubbard came in sixth with a jump of 50-11 ½. Indiana junior Aarik Wilson won the event with a 54-5 ¼.
In the pole vault, Wisconsin earned nine points when junior Darren Niedermeyer took second with a height of 16-8 ¾ and senior Ashraf Fadel took eighth, clearing the bar at 15-11.
Wisconsin got a top finish from its 400 relay team of freshman Demi Omole, junior Jvontai Hanserd, Hubbard and junior Scott Starks, which finished in 40.24, an NCAA Regional qualifying time. In addition to his 400 relay performance, Omole won the 100 in 10.61 and took sixth in the 200 in 21.05. Hanserd finished fourth in the 200 (20.94).
The Badgers also fared well in the 110 hurdles, with senior Jon Mungen in third with a 14.27 and sophomore Paul Check in fourth at 14.34.
In the shot put, freshman Joe Thomas took eighth with a throw of 61-7 ½, which is a personal best and ranks him in the top 20 throwers in the country.
Wisconsin did not need to run the final race, the 1,600 relay, but did so and took fourth, with the team of redshirt freshman Dan Goesch, redshirt freshman Chad Melotte, sophomore Scott Hogseth and sophomore Joe Detmer finishing in 3:10.10.
"I'm really happy for the seniors on the team because they really didn't lose many times on the conference level and that speaks a lot for their leadership and their productivity," Nuttycombe said.
Women finish ninth in championship
In head coach Peter Tegen's last conference outing, the women's track team finished ninth with 60 ½ points while defending champion Michigan held onto its title and won the Big Ten Outdoor Championship with 148 points.
"I think everyone competed really well with a big heart," Tegen said. "Overall, it was a really great experience."
Wisconsin's streak of 17 straight titles in the 1,500 meters came to an end Sunday, as junior Hilary Edmondson placed second in 4:25.23. Michigan junior Lindsey Gallo overtook Edmondson in the last 100 meters and won in 4:24.37. Sophomore Linsey Blaisdell finished seventh in the event (4:36.52).
Edmondson placed third in the 800, clocking in 2:08.92. Gallo also won that event, in 2:07.02
Wisconsin took sixth in the 400 relay and sophomores Melissa Talbot and Erica Schoeller took fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 400 hurdles.
Senior Leslie Patterson ran a personal best 16:59.00 in the 5,000, finishing fourth.