Big Ten track: UW men in first

Women's team checks in fifth after day one of Big Ten Indoor Championships

The No. 3 Wisconsin men's track team is in first place with 53.5 points after the first day of the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Badgers did not win any events but claimed four second-place finishes to pace all teams. Wisconsin, expected to face a stiff challenge in its quest for a fifth straight conference title, leads by a wide margin after day one. Indiana is second at 26.5 followed by Michigan and Michigan State at 25 points each.

"On a good day, I thought we could score 45-50 points and we scored a little more than that so it was a good solid first day," said UW coach Ed Nuttycombe. "I think we have to have a good, solid meet (on Sunday) to win. I think we've positioned ourselves to be able to and we have to close it out with the same intensity we had today."

UW sophomore Paul Hubbard, who won the long jump last year, took second in the event this time around with a leap of 24 feet, 4 ½ inches. Indiana junior Aarik Wilson won the event at 24-10 ½. Two more Badgers earned points, as junior Alonzo Moore placed third with an indoor personal best of 24-1 ¾ and junior Joe Conway finished fifth at 23-9 ½. Wisconsin finished with 18 points in that event.

Senior Matt Tegenkamp placed second in the 3,000 meters in 7:56.62, while sophomore Chris Solinsky took third in 7:56.71 and junior Bobby Lockhart clocked in at 8:13.52, for seventh place. Michigan's Nick Willis defended his title in the event in 7:55.94.

In the throws, sophomore Joe Thomas finished second in the shot put with a mark of 62-0 ¼, setting a school record and improving upon his NCAA provisional qualifying throw.

"It just took off and I knew as soon as it left my fingers, I knew it was going to be a bomb," said Thomas of his final throw. "With this throw, it just accomplished a lot of things – second in the Big Ten, school record; it's pretty sure going to qualify me for nationals.

"To finally have it come through on my final throw, pick up a four-point swing on Indiana, is kind of like something you've always envisioned as the best you could do and to finally do it is great."

Wisconsin also placed second in the distance medley relay behind defending champion Michigan. Wisconsin finished in 9:40.53, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Team members include senior Josh Spiker (1,200 meters), sophomore Chad Melotte (400 meters), senior Dan Murray (800 meters) and senior Tim Keller (1,600 meters).

Wisconsin junior Ben Roland is in first place in the heptathlon with 3,135 points after the first four events, winning the heptathlon long jump and finishing second in the heptathlon shot put and long jump. Sophomore Nate Brown is fourth in the heptathlon after day one.

After the first day of competition, Wisconsin qualified eight for the finals that take place Sunday, including sophomore Demi Omole (60 meter dash), senior Jvontai Hanserd (200 meters), junior Joe Detmer (600 meters), Murray (800 meters), Spiker (mile), junior Ben Gregory (mile), redshirt freshman Ben Porter (mile), and junior Paul Check (60 meter hurdles).

Wisconsin also has four runners expected to place high in the 5,000.

Women in fifth after day one

The Wisconsin women's track team is in fifth place after the first day of the Big Ten Indoor Championships, held in Ann Arbor, Mich. Wisconsin has 28 points, only 1.5 points behind fourth-place Illinois. Host Michigan leads the competition with 40.5 points.

"We are a little bit behind what we thought we could do on a very good day but we're fairly close," Wisconsin head coach Jim Stintzi said. "We were ahead of the game a little bit in the 3,000 meters, a little bit less than we thought in the long jump but the pentathlon and shot put went real well for us."

Junior Erica Schoeller took second in the pentathlon, finishing with 3,794 points. She won the pentathlon long jump with a length of 18-11 ¾, and the pentathlon 800 meters in 2:13.76.

"Erica had a good day," Stintzi said. "She was not completely on top of her game but she really came back well in the 800 to make a run for the title. It was an improvement from last year so we were happy with that."

Senior Courtney Bauer placed fourth in the shot put, with a season-best throw of 47-4 ½. Freshman Kayla Schultz, meanwhile, placed eighth with a throw of 43-7 ¾.

In the 3,000 meters, sophomore Katrina Rundhaug placed fourth in 9:38.31.

Sophomore Michelle Bellford took fourth in the long jump with a personal best jump of 19-5. Senior Christina Taylor just missed scoring, finishing ninth at 19-0.

"All in all it was a solid first day," Stintzi said. "It was pretty much what we expected as far as qualifying."

Four Badgers will compete in their respective finals Sunday: senior Shannon Murto (800 meters), freshman Ann Detmer (800 meters), sophomore Shuntia Lucas (200 meters) and junior Tara Halls (600 meters).

In preliminaries, Lucas set a new school record in the 200 meter dash, finishing in 24.40 seconds, the seventh-best mark Saturday. Lucas was one-hundredth of a second from qualifying in the 60, her time of 7.62 coming in ninth in the preliminaries.

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