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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.

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.

In pictures: Big Ten outdoor championships


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

Titles on track propel Badgers to second at Big Tens


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!


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


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


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.

Multi-event update


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.