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May 2010 Archives

In pictures: NCAA prelims day 1

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Be sure to check out a photo gallery from Thursday's opening day of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round on UWBadgers.com:

Photo Gallery: NCAA Preliminary Round - Day 1

Ahmed races way to Eugene

Ahmed_Mohammed_BT_Out_10_Blog.jpgCheck back to UWBadgers.com for a full recap of Thursday's events.

Freshman Mohammed Ahmed's outstanding freshman season continued Thursday, as he earned a spot in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA preliminary round in Austin, Texas.

Racing in his first NCAA event, Ahmed clocked a time of 29:38.85 to take fourth and earn one of the 12 spots that advanced to the 10K final in Eugene, Ore., in June.

The performance came on the heels of Ahmed's Big Ten championship in the 10,000 meters two weeks ago, a win that came in his outdoor debut for the Badgers. His second-ever outdoor race went nearly as well.

Oklahoma State's John Kosgei claimed the win in 29:36.55, with Ahmed just two seconds back.

Redshirt freshman Elliot Krause came agonizingly close to earning a ticket to Eugene, as well. He ran a time of 29:50.26 but fell two spots short of a qualifying spot in 14th.

Junior Landon Peacock was just behind in 18th place with his time of 30:03.77.

Staisiunaite on to quarterfinals

Staisiunaite_Egle_BT_Out_10_Blog.jpgJunior Egle Staisiunaite is on to the quarterfinals of the women's 400-meter hurdles after her first-round performance Thursday at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas.

Staisiunaite grabbed the third and final automatic qualifying spot in her section by claiming third in the heat, running a time of 1:00.19. She was the only qualifier that failed to crack the 1-minute mark, but she is just two weeks removed from running a 58.59 to claim fourth at the Big Ten championships.

She will race in the quarterfinals Friday looking to finish among the top 12 that will earn a spot in the national semifinal at the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore., in June.

Sophomore Jenna Severson, in her first NCAA competition, finished 34th overall with a time of 1:01.30 and did not advance out of the first round.

Also Thursday, senior Amanda Donath wrapped up her career by running a 2:20.92 in the 800 meters.

Groce, Rucks advance at NCAAs

Groce_James_BT_Out_10_Blog.jpgSenior James Groce advanced to the quarterfinals of the men's 400 meters and junior Luke Rucks moved through to the quarters of the men's 800 meters for the Wisconsin men's track and field team Thursday at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas.

Both were forced to anxiously watch the scoreboard after their races, as neither was an automatic qualifier based on finishing position. Both earned the right to advance based on time.

Groce clocked in at 46.87 -- his second-best effort of the season -- to advance in the 400 meters. Sophomore teammate Kyle Jefferson's time of 47.10 did not hold up, however.

Groce was among the 20 athletes in the 48-man field that cracked the 47-second barrier, with the top four finishers each clocking in under 46 seconds. Texas A&M junior Demetrius Pinder was fastest overall at 45.39.

In the 800 meters, Rucks used a personal-best time of 1:49.07 to race his way into the quarterfinals. The performance dropped two tenths of a second off Rucks' month-old best of 1:49.27 and ranked him 12th-fastest in the field.

It also placed the first-time NCAA qualifier a step away from a trip to June's NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore. The top 12 finishers in Friday's quarterfinals will advance.

Rucks' teammate, junior Zach Beth, did not fare as well and missed out on a quarterfinals berth by finishing 28th overall in 1:50.00.

Badgers go 3-for-3 in 1500 meters

Finnerty_Rob_BT_Out_10_Blog.jpgThings went about as well as they could have for the Wisconsin men's track and field team in the 1,500 meters Thursday at the NCAA preiminary round in Austin, Texas.

The Badgers saw seniors Craig Miller and Jack Bolas and redshirt freshman Rob Finnerty each advance through to the quarterfinals of the 1,500 with strong runs in their first-round races.

Miller clocked in second-fastest overall in the 48-runner field, clocking a 3:42.82 that trailed only the 3:42.76 laid down by Oregon junior A.J. Acosta. Miller now looks to finish among the top 12 in Saturday's quarterfinal to earn a spot at the NCAA outdoor championships in June -- where he can chase an eighth career All-America honor.

Bolas moved through to the quarterfinals with a time of 3:44.00, while Finnerty -- a first-time NCAA qualifier -- wasn't far back in 3:44.10.

Interestingly, the Badgers' three qualifiers for the quarterfinals are more than all other Big Ten teams combined, with Iowa's Jeff Thode and Minnesota's Ben Blankenship also advancing.

Soceka first to punch ticket for Eugene

Soceka_Jenny_BT_Out_Blog.jpgSenior Jenny Soceka, fresh off her Big Ten title in the pole vault, became the first member of the Wisconsin women's track and field team to earn a trip to the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Soceka survived a pole vault competition that included 48 competitors and lasted more than four hours Thursday at the NCAA preliminary round in Austin, Texas, and advanced to the national final as one of the top 12 finishers in the competition.

Soceka cleared 13 feet, 9 1/4 inches on her third and final attempt at the height to place eighth Thursday. She was clean through the three bars that preceded the final height, with first-attempt clearances at 13-1 1/2, 13-5 1/4 and 13-7 1/4.

The performance sets up a return to the national championship meet for Soceka, who earned All-America honors with a seventh-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships. She redshirted the 2009 season.

East Coast swing

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins checks in weekly updating fans on the women's soccer team, what's going on in Madison and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

Wow!  What a weekend! It was very nice to have two days off, and I truly enjoyed my vacation. I was speaking with a friend, and I mentioned how I enjoyed the time off and I felt refreshed after a vacation. She immediately said, well what you experienced was what most people call a weekend. Free weekends are so rare that they generally feel like vacations. I am off this weekend to a very big tournament in New Jersey, so I won't have the opportunity to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.  I will get the chance, however, to see my family for a very short amount of time (which in their eyes is probably just enough time). I am excited to experience one of my favorite places back east, Wegman's. If you aren't from the Northeast you might not know what Wegman's is, but it is an awesome grocery store that I love to shop at. I know what you are thinking, how exciting can a grocery store be?  Well, for me it's about getting new ideas for cooking and buying fresh food. I love it!
 

A look at the women's NCAA start lists

Comfort_Caitlin_BT_Out_10_Blog.jpegSome thoughts on what the start lists for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round mean for the Wisconsin women's track and field team...

Start lists: Men | Women

- Senior Amanda Donath won't have to wait long for her first-round race in the 800 meters. She runs in heat 1 of the event, which runs at 8 p.m. Thursday. Her section includes BYU's Nachelle Stewart, who is the No. 5 overall seed in the 800. Donath will be racing for a spot in Friday's quarterfinal.

- Redshirt freshman Caitlin Comfort will be part of the mass of humanity that is the 10,000 meters semifinal Thursday. She enters the race seeded No. 20, which places her in the middle of the massive pack of 48 runners that all will compete in a single section. They are racing to be among the top 12 and advance on to the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene.

- Junior Egle Staisiunaite is the No. 2 seed in her section of the 400-meter hurdles, and she will run out of lane 6 in the fourth of six heats. That puts her in a good position to advance to Friday's quarterfinal, as the top three finishers in each heat automatically move on.

- Sophomore Jenna Severson, who went under 60 seconds in back-to-back races at the Big Ten championships, is seed fourth in the opening section of the first round and is one of four in her heat to crack the 1-minute barrier this season. Among her competition is No. 1 overall seed Angele Cooper of Texas, who has run 56.52.

- Start lists don't usually mean a whole lot for field events, but the vertical jumps at the NCAA preliminary round are an interesting exception. With 48 competitors in the field for the high jump and pole vault, it could be a long day for Jenny Soceka in the vault Thursday and for Megan Seidl, Monika Jakutyte and Dorcas Akinniyi at the high jump Saturday. The setup for both events involves dual pits running simultaneously, with 24 competitors at each.

A look at the men's NCAA start lists

Beth_Zach_Twilight_10_Blog.jpgThe start lists for this week's 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round have been posted. Check out the complete start lists: Men | Women

Some quick observations from my first glance over the men's lists...
- James Groce and Kyle Jefferson will both race in heat 4 of the men's 400 meters first round, with Jefferson getting a prime draw in lane 5. The top three finishers from each section automatically advance to the quarterfinals Friday.

- Luke Rucks has the fastest seed time of the entries in his section (heat 4) of the men's 800 meters Thursday. Zach Beth will race in heat 5 against the No. 5 overall seed for the meet and defending NCAA champion Andrew Wheating of Oregon. The top three from each section automatically advance to the quarterfinals Friday.

- Wheating will be running his second race of the day, however, since he'll match up against UW's Jack Bolas in the first heat of the men's 1,500 meters first round. Wheating is the top seed in the 1,500. Also in Bolas' section is Minnesota's Ben Blankenship, who finished third to Bolas and teammate Craig Miller at the Big Ten championships.

- Miller is the second-fastest qualifier in heat 3 of the 1,500, with his best competition (on paper) Oregon junior A.J. Acosta, who is the No. 3 overall seed in the event. The top five in each heat of the 1,500 advance to Saturday's quarterfinal.

- Senior Ryan Gasper is seeded second-fastest in his section of the 3,000-meter steeplechase (heat 2) Friday and is one of three in the heat to break the 8:45.00 mark this season. He will be racing directly for a spot in Eugene, as the top three finishers in each heat and the next three fastest overall times (12 total) advance to the NCAA championships. Sophomore Phil Thomas also will run in heat 2.

- Redshirt freshman Maverick Darling is seeded seventh-fastest in heat 2 of the men's 5,000 meters Saturday, and he will be battling to finish among the top five in his section to advance to Eugene.

- The men's 10,000 meters is borderline ridiculous. The race will consist of one heat, with all 48 athletes on the track at the same time. Good luck to the lap counters for this one. Freshman Mohammed Ahmed, redshirt freshman Elliot Krause and junior Landon Peacock will race to be among the top 12 to earn a spot in the final in Eugene.

- Senior Nate Larkin is familiar with his competition in the final heat of the men's 110-meter hurdles first round Friday. Illinois' Andrew Riley, to whom Larkin ran runner-up at the Big Ten championships both indoors and outdoors, also races in his section. The top three in each heat automatically advance to the quarterfinals Saturday.

- The Badgers' 4x100-meter relay has its work cut out for it Saturday. UW drew lane two in the opening section of the race and is seeded fourth-fastest in the heat. No. 2 overall seed Baylor (39.18) will be the team to beat for the Badgers (40.15), who need to be among the top three in their heat or one of the next three fastest times to advance to Eugene.

- Wisconsin also faces off against Baylor in the 4x400 relay later in the day Saturday, as the Badgers drew lane 8 for the final section of the event. They own the slowest seed time in their heat at 3:09.59, with Baylor's 3:02.70 the class of the section and ranked No. 2 overall coming into the weekend.

Up and away

The Wisconsin men's and women's track and field teams are officially on their way to the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas.

Not without incident, however.

After the women's team successfully departed the McClain Center for the Dane County Regional Airport at 8:15 a.m., a severe thunderstorm rolled through the area.

That meant, by the time the Meister Coaches bus returned to shuttle the men's team to the airport, what was a sunny morning had turned into a downpour with plenty of thunder and lightning. The early arrivers to the McClain Center stayed dry, but several -- namely Craig Miller and Ryan Gasper -- were a little damp after walking through the deluge.

The men rolled out on schedule at 9 a.m., but freshman Mohammed Ahmed still cut things close. A Canadian citizen, Ahmed boarded the bus without his passport and was forced to snag a taxi and go back to pick up his required identification.

As of 10:05 a.m., assistant coach Mark Guthrie reported that Ahmed had just arrived at the entrance to the TSA screening area, giving him enough time to make the Badgers' scheduled 10:36 departure from Madison for a connecting flight in Denver.

Ahmed -- fresh off winning the Big Ten title in the event -- will run the 10,000 meters at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. He is one of 23 athletes representing the Badgers on the men's side at the preliminary-round meet.

A total of 13 athletes are on their way to compete for the Badger women.

Follow the preliminary round with live video streams, available at ncaa.com, and look for a complete preview of the Badgers' entries Wednesday on UWBadgers.com.

Talented Jorgensen tackling triathlons

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Jorgensen_Gwen_NCAA_Reg_09_Blog.jpgA year removed from her final season competing for the Badgers, former UW All-American Gwen Jorgensen remains a competitor. She won the won the Crazylegs Classic in Madison a month ago -- in record time -- and has been training to compete in triathlons.

In fact, she's done more than just train for the the three-event competition that blends swimming, running and cycling. Recruited by USA Triathlon to take up the sport, she already has achieved elite status based on her performance at the USAT Elite Development Race held in Clermont, Fla., in March.

Now, she's heading to the World University Triathlon Championships, which is set for Sunday in Valencia, Spain. The competition, sponsored by the International University Sports Federation, consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.

Jorgensen is one of five women on the 10-person U.S. team for the event, which is being contested to Olympic standards.

A swimmer for the Badgers before making the transition to cross country and track, Jorgensen seemingly has two-thirds of the triathlon game figured out, and she is training on the cycling end of things with the Team GEARGRINDER cycling club.

Tom Held of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught up with Jorgensen to profile her transition from track to triathlon. You also can read the full release on the World University Championships from USA Triathlon and, if your Spanish is good enough, check out the meet's home page.

A weekend off

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Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

Madison is having some of the most amazing weather right now, and it's hard for me to sit in the office when it looks so beautiful outside. I am excited for this weekend, as it is one of my first weekends off in a very long time.

On Madison.com today, Mike Lucas has the inspirational story of former Wisconsin football player Lawrence Johnson who recently earned his degree from the University at the age of 52. Johnson, a former second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, initially left UW without a degree but returned to get his diploma and is now looking forward to his time in graduate school.

Read the full story: Ex-Badger Johnson finds another degree of success.

In pictures: Big Ten outdoor championships

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The men's and women's photo galleries from Sunday's action at the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships have been posted on UWBadgers.com. Check them out below, along with the galleries for Friday and Saturday, in case you missed them.

As you can see above, the photos are Nate Larkin-approved.

Day 3 - Sunday, May 16
Men's Photo Gallery  Women's Photo Gallery

Day 2 - Saturday, May 15
Men's Photo Gallery  |  Women's Photo Gallery

Day 1 - Friday, May 14
Men's Photo Gallery  |  Women's Photo Gallery

Gant and D'Alie are latest UW graduates

Teah Gant and Rae Lin D'Alie became the two most recent UW women's basketball players to receive their degrees when the University of Wisconsin held its spring commencement ceremonies over the weekend.

Earning a degree from the UW is impressive on its own. To do so in four years while not only competing, but starting, for the Badger women's basketball squad warrants extra attention. 

Trevon Hughes' NBA journey starts with Bucks

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Hughes_Penney_Bucks.jpgTrevon Hughes didn't have to travel far for his first steps into the NBA waters. Hughes was one of 12 NBA-eligible players invited to the Milwaukee Bucks first pre-draft workout at the Bucks Training Center Monday.

Hughes and the other prospects were put through several drills as well as live action competitive situations in front of scouts and Bucks executives.

"I think it went pretty well," Hughes told reporters after the session. "We ran up and down. We played one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three with some shooting drills. I felt good about it."

Other notable invitees to the Bucks' pre-draft workout included: Craig Brackins (Iowa State), Jerome Randle (Cal), Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Derrick Caracter (UTEP), Trevor Booker (Clemson) and Jerry Smith (Louisville).

When asked about the prospects of potentially staying in Wisconsin for his professional career, Hughes admitted that it would be a great fit.

"I went to high school out here. I went to college out here. The best way to end it is to stay, right?"

Hughes also said Monday that he has three more workouts scheduled with NBA teams and more could follow. The NBA draft is June 24.

Coincidentally, former Badger Kirk Penney was also in attendance Monday as he is using the Bucks facility to train. Here are the comments Hughes and Bucks Assistant General Manager Jeff Weltman after the workout:

Jeff Weltman - Assistant General Manager

On Trevon Hughes...
"Trevon worked really hard today and we were happy to have him in as a local kid in our first visit. We thought that was good for him and good for us. He'll get his chance to show his talents to a lot of teams because he's a very competitive player."
 
On the positives about Hughes...
"We like his toughness and competitiveness and he got better every year and he's a winner. We were eager to have him in and he's a guy we've liked for a while."
 
Trevon Hughes

On the workout...
"I didn't know what to expect. That's what I was anxious for, to come in here and show them what I've got."
 
On how the session went...
"I think it went pretty well. We ran up and down. We played one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three with some shooting drills. I felt good about it."
 
On his expectations...
"I don't have any expectations. I just want to workout to the best of my ability, show them my athleticism and take it from there."
 
On how many workouts he has planned...
"I have about three more right now that are scheduled. More to come, I'm pretty sure. Right now it's a dead-week with the NBA pre-draft camp coming up on Wednesday."
 
On what he needs to work on...
"Developing a more consistent jump shot. I can shoot it but the (3-point) line is further back. (I'll) keep working out there and make better decisions offensively and in the one-on-one game, because it's not like high school and college anymore. There's more one-on-one in the NBA."
 
On how his experience with Wisconsin prepared him for the next level...
"Playing at Wisconsin taught me how to play a slow-paced game in a half-court, offensive setting, ball screens and getting everyone involved. (Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan) was big on that because he was a guard in college."
 
On if he wants to be a Buck...
"Definitely. I went to high school out here. I went to college out here. The best way to end it is to stay, right?"
 
On how much his intangibles help...
"Just being vocal out here (helps). Everybody is competing with one another but at the same time everybody wants some feedback so they can get through the workout. So when you see somebody struggling, be that vocal leader. Or sometimes lead by example, be the first one." 

Soceka's title highlights big day in field for Badgers

Soceka_Jenny_BT_Blog.jpgComplete Results

Check back to UWBadgers.com for a complete recap Sunday evening.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The road had a few more dips than she'd anticipated, but Jenny Soceka completed her path to the top of the Big Ten Conference on Sunday.

Soceka took her spot atop the podium on the final day of the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships after winning her first conference title in the pole vault.

The performance verified Soceka's place atop the conference standings in the event, as she cleared 13 feet, 5 1/4 inches to easily out-pace runner-up Kelsie Ahbe of Indiana and third-place finisher Alicia Rue of Minnesota, who both cleared at 13-1 1/2.

It also led the way for the Badgers' outstanding final day in the field events, as Wisconsin racked up 101.5 points to claim a third-place team finish.

The performance, which trailed only champion Penn State's total of 133.5 and runner-up Minnesota's 123 points, marked the Badgers' best Big Ten finish since finishing third in 2000.

The pole vault championship came two years after Soceka earned runner-up honors in the event in 2008. She redshirted the 2009 season to continue her development and then struggled down the stretch of this year's indoor season, ultimately failing to clear a bar at the Big Ten indoor championships.

She bounced back in a big way outdoors, however, and came up big for the Badgers this weekend. In addition to her pole vault title -- just the second in UW history, joining Tara Clack's 2003 crown -- she also posted a fourth-place finish in the heptathlon.

The Badgers also scored big in the triple jump with senior Chavon Robinson taking runner-up honors, sophomore Jordan Helgren finishing third and senior LaQuita Brazil grabbing a fifth-place finish.

Robinson leapt 41 feet, 10 3/4 inches on her final attempt to hold down second place, while Helgren's penultimate jump was her best at 41-6 1/2. Brazil boasted a lifetime-best leap of 40-9 3/4 to take fifth.

In the high jump, sophomore Monika Jakutyte tied for third at 5-9 3/4, while senior Megan Seidl took fifth with same clearance on the criteria of misses.

Titles on track propel Badgers to second at Big Tens

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Check back to UWBadgers.com for a full recap Sunday evening.

Day 3 Results

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Championship performances in the 1,500 meters and 4x100-meter relay to start the day set the stage for the Wisconsin men's track and field team to score a runner-up finish at the 2010 Big Ten Conference Outdoor Championships.

In all, the Badgers totaled seven All-Big Ten performances and placed nine different athletes on the awards stand. It was good enough for second place in the team standings, as UW's total of 124 points stood second to Minnesota's championship-winning score of 145.

It was the Badgers' ninth top-two finish in the last 11 years at the Big Ten outdoor meet and represented their best team score since tallying 145.5 points to win the title in 2007.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

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Live Results  |  Championships Home  |  Twitter

Sunday has arrived at the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, and the Badgers have used the first two days of competition to put themselves in the hunt for the team championship on the men's and women's sides.

The day gets going with Chavon Robinson going for the season sweep of the league's women's triple jump titles at 10 a.m. Other early events include the women's discus (10 a.m.), with freshmen Taylor Smith and Jasmine Boyer looking to score in a second event after finishing fifth and sixth yesterday in the shot put.

Senior Jenny Soceka comes into the meet with the Big Ten's top mark in the women's pole vault and will go for her first conference title at 11 a.m. Fellow senior Megan Seidl will go for her second crown -- she won in 2008 -- in the high jump at 11:30 a.m.

On the men's side, things really get going with the 4x100-meter relay at 11:55 a.m. From there, it gets fast and furious on the track as more than a dozen events will be decided over the following three hours.

The Badger men also have title contenders in the javelin (Robert Dehn, 12:30 p.m.) and 110-meter hurdles (Nate Larkin, 12:35 p.m.), both of whom were All-Big Ten with runner-up finishes in their events last year.

Kyle Jefferson and James Groce are contenders in the 400 meters (12:45 p.m.), as is Zach Beth in the 800 meters (1:08 p.m.). Gavin Robertson runs the 200 meters at 1:42 p.m., with a host of Badgers looking to continue UW's distance tradition in the 5,000 meters at 2:11 p.m.

That includes Landon Peacock, who seeks a season sweep of the Big Ten's 5,000 meters titles after winning the crown indoor.

The 4x400-meter relay wraps things up at 2:45 p.m.

Catch the Badgers on TV Sunday

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You'll have to wait a week to watch what unfolds today on the final day of competition at 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships on TV, but Big Ten Network will help tide you over a little bit tonight.

The network will air its tape-delayed broadcast of the Musco Twilight Invitational at 6 p.m. (CT) tonight, and you can expect to see plenty of the Badgers. Wisconsin won several events at the meet in Iowa City on May 1, including both the men's 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays.

So, be sure to tune in tonight. Or, if you'll be on the way home from Bloomington (like me), just remember to set your DVR.

Big Ten Network: Programming Schedule | Channel Finder

Akinniyi completes multi-event sweep

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All she could do was shrug. And smile.

A win was likely already in hand, but Dorcas Akinniyi's explosive personal-best throw in the javelin propelled her to an outstanding score of 5,584 points and a Big Ten Conference title in the heptathlon.

The victory completed a season sweep of the Big Ten's multi-event titles for Akinniyi, who also claimed the indoor pentathlon title at the conference indoor meet in March.

Ahmed claims Big Ten title in 10K

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Talk about an opening statement.

Freshman Mohammed Ahmed, in his first race of the outdoor season, laid claim to the Big Ten Conference championship in the men's 10,000 meters Friday night in Bloomington, Ind., leading the way as the Wisconsin men's track and field team grabbed three of the top five places at the conference meet.

Ahmed ran away with his first Big Ten title -- and the Badgers' first in the 10,000 meters since Tim Nelson claimed the top spot in 2005 -- with a time of 29:03.71. The performance represents a new Canadian junior record in the event for the St. Catharines, Ontario, native.

The Badgers' showing, which also included an impressive fourth-place showing for redshirt freshman Elliot Krause (29:12.53) and a fifth-place finish for junior Landon Peacock (29:15.63), has Wisconsin staked to second place in the team standings after the opening day of the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Halfway home, Akinniyi holds down heptathlon lead

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Live Results | Women's Photo Gallery

A career-best opening day has Dorcas Akinniyi holding down the lead in the women's heptathlon at the Big Ten outdoor championships in Bloomington, Ind.

The redshirt freshman racked up 3,357 points on the opening day of competition and holds a 121-point lead over second-place Alecia Beckford-Stewart of Illinois with four events in the books.

Akinniyi's first-day total has her 99 points ahead of the pace she set in her first heptathlon at the Mt.SAC Relays in April, when she established her career-best total of 5,245 points.

She headlined an outstanding opening day for the Badgers in the event, with sophomore teammate Jessica Flax third with a four-event score of 3,222 points and senior Jenny Soceka fourth at 3,164 points.

Multi-event update

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Women's Photo Gallery | Men's Photo Gallery

The men's decathlon is on to its fourth event of the day at the Big Ten outdoor championships, while the women's heptathlon is in its third event.

Redshirt freshman Dorcas Akinniyi, the Big Ten indoor pentathlon champion, is the leader through two events in the pentathlon at 1,910 points. She had the top mark in the high jump by clearing a personal-best 5 feet, 10 inches.

Sophomore Jessica Flax cleared 5-3 in the high jump and stands No. 4 at 1,709 points, while senior Jenny Soceka is fifth at 1,648 points after clearing 5-1 3/4.

In the decathlon, David Grzesiak leads the way for the Badgers in sixth place after the 100 meters, long jump and shot put. His total of 2,165 has him just ahead of seventh-place teammate Seth Pelock (2,160 points), while Derek Steinbach is ninth at 2,049. Ian Jansen (pictured above in the long jump) is 14th at 1,969.

On the road again

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It's been awhile, and I know I have been slacking. I have been all over the country over the past two weeks, and I have not found time to catch up on my blog. First and foremost, I have to wish all the mothers out there a very happy and belated Mother's Day. Even though I was on the soccer field all day in Temecula, Calif., I found the time to call my mother and wish her a very happy Mother's Day. 

My mother has always been my biggest supporter, and I don't remember her ever missing a game when I was palying in high school and club soccer. Her and my father would leave at 3 a.m. in the morning to drive to Amherst, Mass., to watch me play in college, and sometimes drive home the same day (a total of 14 hours of driving). I have been blessed with great and supportive parents, and I know I would not be where I am today without their love, support, and sometimes honest evaluation of my playing and coaching!

Big Ten championships underway

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With the men's decathlon 100 meters and the heptathlon 100-meter hurdles, the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships are underway at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind.

Follow along with Live Results and on Twitter.

The Badgers are off to an especially strong start in the women's hepathlon, with sophomore Jessica Flax, redshirt freshman Dorcas Akinniyi and senior Jenny Soceka posting the three fastest marks in the 100 hurdles.

All three posted personal-best performances, led by Flax's time of 14.04 seconds. The trio stands 1-2-3 in the heptathlon standings after the first of seven events.

In the decathlon, Grzesiak leads the charge for the Badgers after the 100 meters. His time of 11.42 has him sixth after one event in the 10-event competition.

Looking back on 2009-10

Tracey DeKeyser has been with the Wisconsin women's hockey program since its inception in 1999. DeKeyser has filled the roles of a recruiter and assistant coach, but was faced with a new challenge at the start of the 2009-10 season.

DeKeyser's task was daunting. Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson led the Badgers to a national championship in 2009 and then took a one-year sabbatical after being named head coach of the 2010 Olympic U.S. women's hockey team. With Johnson gone, DeKeyser was called on to fill in as the interim head coach in his absence.

DeKeyser led the Badgers to an 18-15-3 overall record, but ended the season with two-straight first-round playoff losses to Ohio State.

Johnson will return as the Badgers' head coach at the start of the 2010-11 season, and DeKeyser will resume her duties as an assistant coach.

What was it like to fill in for someone's spot, knowing they would shortly return? Justin Mozer from the UW Athletic Communications office looks back on the season with DeKeyser as preparations for the 2010-11 season have already begun.

 

Nuttycombe hits the airwaves

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Men's track and field head coach Ed Nuttycombe hit the airwaves this morning to talk about the accomplishments of Badgers past and present.

Nuttycombe was a guest on the "Lucas and Lepay" show on WTSO-AM in Madison, with Chris Solinsky's American-record run in the 10,000 meters last weekend the topic of the day for hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay.

The conversation also turned to Nuttycombe's current squad, namely the recent success of two-sport athlete Kyle Jefferson, and the cooperation between the Badgers' football and track programs.

A podcast of the show is available in mp3 format (Nuttycombe's interview begins at the 29:30 mark).

Nuttycombe is also scheduled to appear on the "On Wisconsin" show with Brian Posick on WTSO later this week. The show airs from 2-3 p.m., and is available online at TheBig1070.com.

Badgers position themselves for NCAAs

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With just this weekend's Wisconsin Twilight standing between the Badgers and college track and field's version of the postseason, a number of UW athletes have positioned themselves to compete at the NCAA championships.

Last weekend's Musco Twilight in Iowa City, Iowa, and Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., had a major impact on the postseason hopes of a number of Badgers because of changes to the qualifying format for the NCAA championships.

More on Solinsky's dazzling debut

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Former Badger Chris Solinsky remains in the spotlight as the track and field world continues to process his American-record run in the 10,000 meters Saturday.

Here are some highlights of the coverage in the wake of Solinsky's performance:

- Jason McMahon of Madison.com caught up with Solinsky and teammate Simon Bairu and put together a couple of great pieces:

Madison.com: Solinsky, Bairu like the sound of broken records
Madison.com: Blog: A victory lap with Solinsky and Bairu

- Columnist Andy Baggot also talks Solinsky on Madison.com today, linking his feat with those of fellow Stevens Point (Wis.) High School and Wisconsin athlete Joe Pavelski, who is tearing up the Stanley Cup Playoffs for San Jose:

Madison.com: Baggot: Pavelski, Solinsky feats linked by coincidence

- Ken Goe of The (Portland) Oregonian caught up with Solinsky and even the elusive Jerry Schumacher after Saturday's race, using some of their comments in his track and field notebook:

The Oregonian: OTC Elite's Chris Solinsky runs past the pain, shatters U.S. record in 10,000

- Curtis Anderson of the The (Eugene, Ore.) Register-Guard is already looking ahead to Solinsky's next race at the Prefontaine Classic in July, when he hopes to take a shot at the American record in the 5,000 meters, as well:

The Register-Guard: Next for Solinsky: American 5K record at July's Pre Classic

- Larry Eder breaks down the "geek analysis" on RunBlogRun with perspective on where Solinsky ranks among athletes making their 10K debut, as well as lap-by-lap splits from the race:

RunBlogRun.com: Chris Solinsky's 26:59.6 - the Geek analysis

Putting Solinsky's performance in perspective

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You knew it was going to be fast, but...

When the declared entries were posted for Saturday's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, it was immediately clear that the men's 10,000 meters was going to be a world-class race. The only question, really, was, "How fast will it be?"

That seemed to hinge on whether or not Galen Rupp, the seven-time NCAA champion while at Oregon, would run at Angell Field. His much-publicized attempt at the American record in the 10K would either take place in Palo Alto or on what is essentially his home track in Eugene, Ore.

In the end, Rupp chose Stanford's surface and joined an elite field that included former University of Wisconsin stars Simon Bairu, Tim Nelson and Chris Solinsky.

Of the three, Solinsky seemed least likely to make noise in the race, seeing as how he would be making his 10K debut. How wrong that assumption would turn out to be.

Jack is back

Bolas.jpgI had a nice conversation with senior Jack Bolas on Thursday as he and the rest of coach Mick Byrne's distance crew prepared to leave Madison for Palo Alto, Calif., and tonight's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational.

Jack has been watching from the sidelines ever since the Big Ten indoor championships in early March because of a leg injury. In that last meet, he anchored  the Badgers to a conference title in the distance medley relay.

For someone who has competed at an All-America level since coming to Madison four years ago, it was interesting to hear that, for Jack, the worst part of being injured was missing out on traveling with his teammates.

He says he's going to make the most of what's left of his senior season, both on the track and in the time he has left with his teammates.

Read the full story here
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ON WISCONSIN