The University of Wisconsin women's track team fell from second place to finish sixth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, after Sunday's final events. Illinois won the team portion of the meet with 135 points. Wisconsin, which finished with 67 points after being in second with 48 after Saturday's competition, improved upon its ninth-place finish at the 2004 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," first-year coach Jim Stintzi said. "I think the best thing is we're making progress overall as a team. It's not just one or two people scoring a lot of points. We're scoring points in a lot of areas. We still have a lot of holes to fill but I think that's how we're going to build a championship team."
Wisconsin's highest finish Sunday came from sophomore Michelle Bellford, who took fourth in the triple jump at 40 feet, 2 ¼ inches. Teammate senior Yael Paled took 10th at 36-10 ¼ and senior Christina Taylor took 13th with a best jump of 36-2 ¼.
Sophomore Shuntia Lucas took fifth in the 100-meter dash in 11.74 seconds; she also took seventh in the 200 in 24.34 seconds and competed with the fifth-place 400 relay team, which finished in 46.54 seconds. Junior Lisa Oikarinen, junior Melissa Talbot and freshman Alex McCannel were Lucas' teammates on that relay.
In the 5,000 meters, junior Linsey Blaisdell took seventh, earning an NCAA Regional qualifying time of 16 minutes, 51.01 seconds, while sophomore Katrina Rundhaug, who won the 10,000 meters Friday, took eighth in 16:53.66. Sophomore ‘A Havahla Haynes placed 10th in 16:56.84. Freshman Ann Detmer, competing in the 800 meters, took eighth in 2:13.78.
"It's a relatively young team; we don't have a lot of older leaders who are scoring a lot of points for the team," Stintzi said. "Athletes need to learn what to do at the Big Ten championships. They're learning and they're really stepping up at the right time of year so I'm pleased with that."
Softball: Badgers to host regionals
The Wisconsin women's softball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament Sunday and will host a four-team regional for the 64-team tournament at Goodman Diamond.
The Badgers (31-22) will host DePaul (40-18) Friday at 5 p.m. to open regional play. No. 8 Oregon State (40-14), the top seed in the regional, will face UW-Green Bay (26-16) at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Competition in the double-elimination regional will continue Saturday and Sunday. The winner of the Wisconsin regional will face the winner of the Notre Dame regional in a best of three series, dubbed a Super Regional, for the right to compete in the Women's College World Series June 2-5.
Lightweight rowing: Badgers win Eastern Sprints
The No. 2 Wisconsin women's lightweight rowing team upset Princeton's No. 1-ranked varsity eight boat at the Eastern Sprints in Camden, N.J., Sunday.
Competing on a 2,000-meter course with a tailwind that made for fast times, the Badgers' lightweight eight boat finished in 6:35, while Princeton took second in 6:39.70.
Wisconsin's varsity lightweight four boat placed second in its race in 7:37.70, behind Princeton, which finished 11 seconds faster, in 7:26.70. Wisconsin's novice four boat competed in the same race and finished sixth in 8:24.10.
In the novice lightweight eight race, the Badgers' boat placed third in 6:55.50.
"We'll be training pretty hard the next three weeks getting ready for the national championship, but for the first time in four years it was nice that the Badgers could take home Eastern Sprints' Lightweight Eight Cup," lightweight coach Mary Shofner said.
Wisconsin will return to the Cooper River—home of the Eastern Sprints—for the 2005 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships June 3-4.
Openweight rowing: Badgers take third
The No. 14 Wisconsin women's openweight rowing team placed third at the 2005 NCAA Central-South Regional Sunday, held in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on Melton Hill Lake.
Wisconsin's varsity four team finished third in 7:35.84, while Virginia won the event in 7:24.40. The Badgers finished fifth in the second varsity eight in 6:44.86, a race Virginia won in 6:33.30.
"It was a really great day. Everybody raced well," head coach Bebe Bryans said. "The varsity four was our medalist today—they came third in their race—but I think the highlight of the day was the varsity eight taking fourth. They raced extremely well in a very tight race from the first stroke of the race to the last. We're really pleased with them."
On Tuesday, Wisconsin will learn of its NCAA fate, as the 12-team field for the NCAA Rowing Championship will be selected. Four additional varsity eight boats will also make the championship.
Wisconsin competed in the 2004 NCAA championships after finishing fifth in the varsity eight, fourth in the second varsity eight and second in the varsity four at the Central-South Regional last year.
Men's rowing: Varsity eight 12th at Eastern Sprints
The Wisconsin men's second varsity eight boat raced to a literal tie with the Navy in a race at the Eastern Sprints on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., Sunday. The Badgers' boat tied with the Navy for second place in 5:48.919 in the first heat of the morning preliminaries. Powerhouse Timing, which times the races, used a photo finish, which is accurate to 1/1,000th of a second, determined that the teams tied.
In the finals, the second varsity eight boat placed sixth in 5:46.221, just edging out the Navy, which took seventh in 5:46.552. Cornell won that race in 5:41.622.
Wisconsin's first varsity boat, ranked No. 16 in the country, placed sixth in the petite final (out of six boats) and 12th overall in 5:46.924. Navy won the petite final in 5:39.094 and took seventh overall. Harvard won the Grand Finals in a record-setting 5:29.521.
The Badgers' third varsity eight placed third in the grand final, the highest finish of the day, in 5:53.899. Yale won the gold in 5:46.426.
Wisconsin next competes against the No. 7 Navy May 29 at the Walsh Cup in Annapolis, Md.