Men's track: Triple the fun

Badgers win five events on final day to trounce competition at Big Ten Championships

Dominant is not a strong enough of a word for the University of Wisconsin men's track and field program.

Sunday, the Badgers won their fifth Big Ten outdoor championship in the past six years and wrapped up their eighth ‘Triple Crown' in the past 11 years, with conference titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same academic year.

In what was supposed to be a much closer meet, Wisconsin won going away, claiming five first-place finishes and four second-place finishes on the final day of competition at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Badgers' 174 points was a conference meet record. Indiana took second with 111 points, followed by Minnesota (97.5) and Illinois (95.5).

The Badgers won one event on Friday's first day: Tim Nelson's title in the 10,000 meters.

Sunday, five more were added to the mix: sophomore Demi Omole repeated his title in the 100, finishing in 10.35 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second ahead of Purdue's Kenneth Baxter.

Omole also anchored the 400 relay team that won for the second consecutive season, finishing in 40.32. Team members included sophomores Brian Calhoun and Dan Goesch and senior Jvontai Hanserd.

Junior Paul Check, won was ranked just eighth in the 110 high hurdles entering the meet, edged Purdue's Ricky Pinkney for the conference title. Check finished in 14.15, with Pinkney in at 14.16. Only .07 seconds separated the top five finishers.

"I knew it was close," Check said. "Me and Ricky Pinkney had a surge halfway through the race and that's when I picked him up out of the corner of my eye. It just came down to the lean and I out-leaned him for the line and won."

Despite competing in only two previous outdoor meets this season, senior Darren Niedermeyer won the pole vault Sunday with an outdoor personal best 16-feet 6 ¾ inches. He also won the event at the indoor conference championship this year.

In a surprise move, senior Matt Tegenkamp ran in the 1,500 instead of the 5,000, where he was seeded first. No matter. Tegenkamp, a two-time indoor conference champion in the 5,000, won his first outdoor conference crown, finishing the 1,500 in 3:44.52.

"I said we needed a good meet to win and that was beyond all expectations," head coach Ed Nuttycombe said. "That was a great day, probably as good a day as I've ever seen a track team compete from top to bottom.

"I knew that we had a pretty good team but I had no idea that we were going to do that well or that we were that good."

Sophomore Chris Solinsky placed second in the 1,500 in 3:44.87. Indiana's Sean Jefferson, who was the NCAA runner up in the mile during the indoor season, finished third in 3:44.94.

"The Big Ten meet is insane the depth at 1,500 meters," Tegenkamp said. "We didn't give ourselves too many points (before the meet) but that's what the Big Ten meet is all about; you don't worry about the time, you just worry about the places."

Also finishing second for the Badgers Sunday: sophomore Joe Thomas in the shot put, with a personal best 62-5 ¼; junior Alonzo Moore in the triple jump (52-1 ¾); and junior Nathan Brown in the javelin with a personal best 209-2, the third-longest throw in UW history.

During the indoor season UW used the 5,000 to clinch the conference crown. But Sunday the title was well in hand by the time the 5,000, the second-to-last event of the day, came around. With Tegenkamp and Simon Bairu sitting out the 5,000, senior Tim Keller represented UW and finished third (14:29.42).

UW wrapped up the meet with a sixth place finish in the 1,600 relay, with the team of Goesch, freshman Luke Hoenecke, Hanserd and junior Scott Hogseth.

Hanserd also finished seventh in the 100 (10.61) and sixth in the 200 (21.48). Despite running with cramps in his legs, Omole finished fifth in the 200 at 21.36.

Other UW scorers Sunday included junior Ben Gregory, who finished eighth in the 1,500 at 3:50.31; sophomore Derek Thiel, sixth in the pole vault (15-7); and junior Rick Bellford, fourth in the triple jump (50-8).

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