Looking down the lists for Day 2

The second day of the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships began few minutes ago, so here's a look at what to expect today inside the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse.

The opening day of the meet was not a particularly good one for the Badgers but, after some reflection last night, it became clear that yesterday's prelims gave UW plenty of opportunities for today, especially on the track.

Let the event-by-event breakdown begin! (For those with shorter attention spans, I've bolded the athletes' names so you can skip past my analysis more easily. For those with really short attention spans, here are the start lists for today).

The foursome of heptathletes David Grzesiak, Derek Steinbach, Seth Pelock and Ian Jansen are set to go first with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles. After a break, they'll head over to the pole vault for what could become a marathon event.

The heptathlon vault is fully expected to take at least three hours, thus our earlier starting time today. The rub is that, if the vault takes long enough to bump the start of the heptathlon 1,000 meters, there will be a lot of downtime (or "dead air" for the folks from Big Ten Network) before the 4x400-meter relay can get going.

Hopefully, that won't happen and the Badgers can be on their way back to Madison as expected.

The first field event of the day is the high jump, which kicks things off at noon. We won't have action on the track until 1:50 p.m., when the mile goes off. Over the next hour-and-a-half, however, there will be plenty decided for the Badgers on the track in six separate events.

Senior Craig Miller has the top seed for the mile after running fastest in yesterday's prelims, and he will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing ninth-place finish in the 3,000 meters yesterday.

Senior Jack Bolas also is in the field and said he's feeling pretty good after his 1,600-meter anchor carry on the Badgers' winning distance medley relay Saturday. No argument here. Jack looked smooth and composed as he coasted UW to the win.

The Badgers have no entries in the finals of the 400 meters at 2 p.m, after senior James Groce came up short yesterday in the prelims thanks largely to a sore hamstring. Same goes for the finals of the 60 meters, which are up next at 2:10 p.m.

Things get very interesting for the Badgers from there, though. Junior Luke Rucks, who ran well as part of the winning DMR, and freshman Zach Mellon, who looked very good in running a track-record 1:50.18 to nab the top seed, both run in the 800 meters at 2:20 p.m.

Rucks was extremely disappointed in his run in the prelims, but he got into the field as the ninth-fastest finisher and told head coach Ed Nuttycombe last night at dinner that he has a good race left in him. As a native of Buffalo, Minn., Mellon is running in front of a lot of familiar faces and wants to repeat his field-leading performance from yesterday. Both have something to run for today.

Senior Nate Larkin is once again in position for an All-Big Ten performance in the 60-meter hurdles, which go off at 2:30 p.m. He carries the No. 2 seed mark into the final after running a 7.99 on Saturday. The Badgers captain was third in this race last year and earned a runner-up finish in the 110 hurdles outdoors last year. He's ready for another strong run.

The 600 meters, which begin at 2:40 p.m., should be interesting for the Badgers, as well. Junior 800 meters specialist Zach Beth is in the final, but he's in the "slower" first heat and will have to push the pace in anticipation of what others may do in the second section. A regional runner-up in the 800 last year, Beth has proven himself a strong racer and is certainly someone to watch.

After a re-draw of the field this morning based on conference rules (the Big Ten manual is packed with exciting procedures and protocols), the Badgers duo of sophomore Kyle Jefferson and freshman Gavin Robertson are seeded into the second heat of the 200 meters. The event begins at 2:50 p.m., with Robertson the No. 5 seed and Jefferson the No. 6 seed after yesterday's prelims.

The Badgers did not score a point in the short sprints at last year's Big Ten indoor meet, but Jefferson and Robertson are in position to change that today.

The 5,000 meters has traditionally been a hallmark of Wisconsin track and field, and carry the torch this year are redshirt freshman Maverick Darling, junior Landon Peacock, freshman Mohammed Ahmed and senior Ryan Gasper.

Peacock is one of just two runners in the field that's broken 14 minutes this year, and he will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the 3,000 yesterday when he was tripped and finished 16th

Ahmed, who is on tap for possible trips to the NACAC and IAAF World Cross Country Championships in the coming months, has been strong as a freshman, as has Darling in his first season of track.

Gasper is no stranger to stepping into the 5,000, either. He doubled outdoors last year after winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase and gutted out a fifth-place finish in the 5,000 to add valuable points to the team's tally.

Then there are the field events. The high jump is up first, with redshirt freshman Paul Annear and freshman Collin Taylor competing for the Badgers. Annear has battled injuries and is looking for a breakout performance, while Taylor wants to continue his strong rookie season.

The lack of competitors in the triple jump and weight throw will set the Badgers back as far as team points, however.

With that in mind, sit back and follow along with blog updates and live results. You can catch everything through the magic of moving pictures when Big Ten Network airs the championships in tape-delay format at 7 p.m. on March 10.

ON WISCONSIN