2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships
May 11-13, 2012
Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex
4x400-Meter Relay - Penn State: Aaron Nadolsky, So.; Casimir Loxsom, Jr.; Brady Gehret, So.; Brandon Bennett-Green, So. (Interviewee and Anchor)
On how the race went: "It was a really good race. Aaron got us out there. Casimir held it and Brady scared me for a second because he stopped for a second. I thought he was going to go down. But he took it to first position, and I was able to hold them off. "
On holding off Wisconsin: "I didn't know who was on anchor, so I didn't know any of their times, whether they were fast or not. I knew someone was behind me because the crowd was really, really loud. I had to bring it home and give us the win."
Triple Jump - Troy Doris, Sr., Iowa
On his jump and his season: "My season has been getting a lot better as opposed to indoor. I really wasn't making any noise indoor in regards to nationals. For outdoor, every meet I have jumped, I have progressed, I haven't PR'ed [personal record], but I progressed in distances. Two PRs in one meet today, I was pretty happy about that."
On looking ahead to the postseason: "I should be fine. I am still working from a shorter approach from this meet. Regionals are in two weeks. I will squeeze the juice out of my stronger approach and finally put together my long approach. I should be set and ready to go for the meets to come. Definitely good momentum and a great confidence boost in my approaches. I have been feeling really good."
400-Meter Hurdles - Miles Ukaoma, So., Nebraska
On his race: "It felt pretty good. The first hurdle was real nice and it helped my momentum. I did something different than I usually do. I decided to switch my step after the fifth hurdle and it worked out for me. "
On his season: "It was doing pretty well, but this was definitely the highlight of my career. I am pretty happy with what I ran. "
On his transfer from Big 12 to Big Ten: "The Big Ten is trying to send a message right now. With these times, that's one of the strongest conferences right there. I think they are definitely trying to change the stereotype of the hurdlers in the Big Ten. "
800 Meters - Casimir Loxsom, Jr., Penn State
On fast start and race developing: "I tried to go with the pace and I felt like it was going to be fast. With 300 to go, I sensed that I could put it away and I never looked back. "
On his season so far: "Honestly, it wasn't going too hot until now. My iron was real low. I'm finally back, but I don't think I am at 100 percent yet. It is a great way to get the ball rolling. We won a couple of races at Penn Relays and that kind of lit the fire and made me want it. Now that I am back in my competitive mode, I am kind of getting used to being fit and winning races. There is a long way to go from here, but it is a good start. "
Shot Put - Joe Kovacs, Sr., Penn State
On his series: "It was a great competition day. The whole field is a really good field in the Big Ten. Luke Pinkelman from Nebraska, he put up a big throw early and I knew that I had to answer back. I knew I was ready for a big throw. I had some good warm-ups out there. The competition was great and everyone really pulled through."
On his preparation: "I definitely knew something big was there. My training has been going well. I have been throwing pretty decent throughout the year."
400 Meters - Brady Gehret, So., Penn State
On how his race went: "I just got out harder than I usually do. I was going to go for it today and see what happens. I went out hard and tried to finish. I just went after it. "
On his high national ranking: "My goal is to qualify for the (USA Olympic) trials and I just did that today. That was a huge goal for me. It feels great and shows all the hard work that I'm doing and it is finally paying off. I can't wait to keep it going."
100 Meters - Andrew Riley, Sr., Illinois
On winning the 100 meters and 110 hurdles: "The main goal for this year was to win the 100 meters and the hurdles. I got the work done. I stayed patient, passed the other guys and got the job done."
110-Meter Hurdles - Andrew Riley, Sr., Illinois
On winning the race: "At the start of the race, I felt some tightest in my hamstring. I was pretty nervous. I didn't want to risk it that much. After the third hurdle, that's where I started to keep my composure and finished to get 10 points, not two."
On momentum for the NCAA championships: "Just staying healthy is the main thing right now, so I can maximize everything that I value in training."
1500 Meters - Andrew Bayer, Jr., Indiana
On the start of the race having to restart and collecting himself: "It actually made me more relaxed. The first start, you have butterflies. After the restart, I came back to the line more relaxed. I just followed the whole time until the last 100 meters."
On his strategy with one lap to go: "My coach always says that the last one to make a move usually wins. I was just responding with as much relaxation as possible. When I got to where I knew I could take it, I went for it and never looked back."
3000-Meter Steeplechase - Craig Forys, Sr., Michigan
On the race's fast early pace: "I was expecting the pace. I wasn't expecting it to feel so comfortable though. The training and preparation was spot on and I was lucky enough to be in position where I could sit and relax and follow the guys. "
When to make his move: "I was trying to be real patient, and the hurdles on the last lap take a lot out of you. You don't really anticipate it the first couple times you run the race. Now that I am used to it, I had to wait a little longer and be real conservative, until I knew that I could extend the lead and keep it."
High Jump - Derek Drouin, Jr., Indiana
On his goal for the meet: "The major goal actually was the Olympic standard. I wasn't too worried about the other records, but they came with it."
On his preparation for the meet: "I've been struggling a lot actually and then, just in the past week, I've noticed and my teammates have noticed and my coaches have noticed in practice that everything kind of was starting to come together again - just in time, and I'm happy, ecstatic really."
Discus - Danny Block, So., Wisconsin
On winning the title as a sophomore: "It still hasn't sunk in. I still get goosebumps when I throw. It's just amazing."
On winning in an upset: Going in (ranked) fifth, I felt like I had no pressure on me, because last year, I was the heavy favorite which kind of got to me as a freshman. This year I just went into it with no pressure -- just whatever happens, happens."
On if he saw the breakthrough coming: "I hoped and prayed it was coming. But I, (Nebraska's) Chad Wright, (Nebraska's) Tyler Hitchler, they're amazing athletes. Like I said, it hasn't sunk in. I didn't see it coming, that's why it's extra nice. The whole family's here to watch."
Long Jump - Mike Hartfield, Jr., Ohio State
On the series and how it progressed: "The first jump, it was a big foul. This was my first meet jumping off my left leg the entire season so I wasn't sure how it would go. So my first jump I got so much height I didn't know what to do with it. So I kind of just landed all kind of crazy but ended up faulting anyways. But then the next one I got in control a little bit and that was the winning jump with 7.96, which is actually a PR by .01. So to come out with a PR after a season of jumping off the opposite leg ... I mean this is really a blessing."
Did you win last year? Is that what I heard?: "Yeah I won last year too."
On how it feels to defend the title: "It feels good especially after getting your behind kicked all year, you know. To come back at Big Tens and really make a statement, you know it feels good."
Decathlon - Bjorn Barrefors, Jr, Nebraska
On feeling of winning first Big Ten title: "It feels pretty good. It's like two less than winner of Big 12 ... I'm just kidding, it felt great [laughing]."
On which events were key to winning: "The long jump yesterday and discus today. Huge PRs definitely set the pace for this decathlon."
On the decathlon competition: "It's the meet with everything, I mean the weather, the winds, the competition, nice guys, we were all pushing. I think the top three broke the earlier Big Ten meet record.
My own teammate, Teran Walford, just pushed me all the way. He had a great meet, too, so there were a lot of factors that went into today."
10,000 meters - Zachary Mayhew, Jr., Indiana
On Wisconsin runners pushing the pace early: "My coach and I kind of talked about that a little bit. We knew that coming to Wisconsin they were going to have some tactic. I suspected with three strong guys in the race, they might try to take it out and see if they could drop everybody. My race plan was just to kind of stick around, stick around, stick around. I knew that if I could stay with them until a lap or two to go, I had a shot at winning."
On kicking with 300 meters to go: "All year, I've been doing the same thing - get to that last lap and give it everything I got. I just went around with 300 to go, try to not look back and put everything I had into it."
Hammer Throw - Quentin Mege, Jr., Minnesota
"I was feeling really good today. (I had) a really great warmup so I quit after only two warmups because I didn't want to get a big one out there during warmup. First throw of the competition was a little tight. My second throw was getting pretty good and the third throw was a big mark. That was feeling really good."
On defending his title: "I think that's why I was a little tense on the first throw because I knew I was coming with the first mark and I was last year's Big Ten champion. It's even better to win it twice."
5000-Meter - McKenzie Melander, Sr., Iowa
On her race: "It was pretty good. I stayed patient; that was my goal. I just had to hang back a little bit until I could see how I was doing in the race and see if I could keep picking things up."
On how she felt after her double: "I was a little nervous about having that double. I have never done the 10K before, so I wasn't sure how I would feel. I went out there and everything was feeling pretty good. "
On when she made her move: "I broke out of the pack half-way through the race, and then my goal was at the 800 (meter-mark) to start picking it up and then at the 600 to really get going. A longer kick works a lot better for me."
4x400-Meter Relay - Illinois: Ryisha Boyd, Sr.; Ashley Kelly, Sr.; Latoya Griffith, Sr.; Ashley Spencer, Fr. (Interviewee and Anchor)
On how the race went: "The race went really well. Ryisha Boyd gave us a good run, a good split. Then our second leg, Ashley Kelly, gave us a nice, solid leg along with Latoya. She gave a nice leg and caught the lead runner and then I just brought it home. We really wanted it, and we are so blessed to have perfect weather and be around such wonderful athletes. I just can't be happier."
800-Meter - Ashley Miller, Sr., Nebraska
On a busy day, going from one race to the next: "You just have to take it one race at a time. Between races, it was a combo warm-up and cool-down all in one. I just tried to stay calm and relax."
On moving up to the 5K: "It was the hardest part for sure. I was just hanging in there, trying to be in scoring position as long as I could. I just wanted to get those valuable team points. It was the reason I was in there in the first place. A lot of good girls were running fresh, so realistically I wasn't going to cross the line first. I just wanted to stick my nose in there and be up there as long as I could."
Pole Vault - Stephanie Richartz, So., Illinois
On her performance: "I had an awesome indoor season. When I came outdoors, the transition was kind of hard for me. Even though I was seeded fourth or fifth, I knew that I was capable of a lot more than what I had shown at previous outdoor meets. I was really excited to come out here and do my best. If I did my best, I would be happy with that. It was icing on the cake to be able to call myself the Big Ten
On her issue with the vault pole: "Thankfully it was on my last jump of the meet. I agreed with my coach that, whether I made it or not, I would not take any more jumps. It startled me because it has never happened to me before. I will be OK. It wasn't that big of a deal, just a bruise on my hand."
400-Meter Hurdles - Latoya Griffith, Sr., Illinois
On her race: "I am so happy right now. My race today was a better race because I PR'ed. I changed my stride up a little, but it worked for me. "
On yesterday compared to today: "I felt better today. I was fresh. Today I just had the hurdles. I gave my all on the track."
On her push for the NCAA championships: "I have a big confidence booster. I feel that I will have better competition than regionals. I am just excited to get better."
100 Meters - Christina Manning, Sr., Ohio State
On winning the race: "It went pretty well. I tried to get a better start than I did in my hurdles race because I know my teammates have been getting good starts, and I tried to get out with them."
On how her season is going and looking ahead: "It is going very well. I am being very persistent and that is really good for me. Nationals is what I am thinking about right now. I need to win nationals. I have to."
400 Meters - Ashley Spencer, Fr., Illinois
On winning as a freshman: "It has been such a blessing. I have worked very hard and it has been a big, huge blessing. It was unexpected, but it was very exciting."
100-Meter Hurdles - Christina Manning, Sr., Ohio State
On winning the race: "It was really good. It's my senior year. I wish I could have run a faster time, but it's okay."
On the momentum it gives her going into nationals: "It's great because I am trying to win there, too, at nationals. Everything feels really good, I am running consistently."
Triple Jump- Anna Weigandt, So., Nebraska
On her preparation coming into the meet: "I did feel really nice and loose. The weather was perfect, no cold or rain. I have been preparing all season and have been peaking pretty well the last few meets. It came together at the right time."
On her series and her winning jump: "My first three jumps weren't bad, but they weren't good for me. It put me in fourth going into finals. I had coaches, family and teammates telling me to get it together. I knew I had to. I told myself to forget about prelims and pretend that it was a whole new meet. My first jump in finals was the winning jump. "
On having a competitive teammate in Mara Griva: "It is awesome. We are always pushing each other because we are always back and forth. It was great to see us go 1-2 because our team needed those points so badly."
Discus- Erin Pendleton, Jr., Michigan
On her performance and how it developed: "I started off with my farthest throw. I get a little nervous and the nerves help me with (starting fast), but I also have been working on my finish. I am very excited."
On beating her older sister and teammate, Emily Pendleton: "I was a little nervous because Emily always makes me nervous. I am very happy with how she did. She got second place, sisters going 1-2. You couldn't ask for anything else."
Long Jump- Leah Eber, Sr., Purdue
On some struggles with injury: "I have been dealing with some slight injury in my ankles. What really helps me overcome that is knowing that this is my last time, my last chance ever to do this. I always had that in the back of my mind this whole competition, and I told myself that I was going to win. That's what got me through it."
On her jumps: "It didn't start out as well as I wanted to. I was able to pick it up in the finals, and my last jump of the prelims as well, and get better."
3000-Meter Steeplechase- Leah O'Connor, Fr., Michigan State
On if her title came as a surprise:"This is my fourth time ever racing steeple. I wanted to stay connected to the top pack and see what I could do at the end. It was an awesome surprise and an amazing feeling. I am looking forward to the meets to come."
On moving up from third place with 200 meters to go: "I love to compete and I love that last lap and that last 200 meters. Just seeing that I could go for it, I couldn't hold back. I just wanted to see if I could do it, and it turned out really well."
Javelin - Laura Loht, So., Penn State
On her performance: "My prelims were a little rocky, technical stuff. Finals came along and I was going in No. 1 and my teammate was No. 2. We started putting on a show and, on my last throw, I got one just a little bit better. "
On having a competitive teammate in Lauren Kenney: "It is awesome. I couldn't ask for a better training partner. She knows how to throw. She's throwing a bigger number, so I feel that I have to come out and throw a bigger number. It is awesome going 1-2. It is a little bit surreal."
Shot Put - Dani Bunch, So., Purdue
On setting an outdoor personal best: "It was awesome. It was a great competition today. A lot better than last season and the rain in Iowa."
On her winning throw: "It was actually like everything was really connected. I had a little bit of a lag in my arm, I guess, but it was still a great series for me. It was awesome."
On how she was feeling: "I think this was the first meet I've ever had no doubt in my mind that I was ready to go. My body felt right, it kind of felt numb, and it's kind of weird to explain it, but it never has felt like that before. I felt really athletic and ready to go."
On the competition: "It was great. Tina [DeLakis] from Minnesota had her lifetime PR. Having three people over 16 is something you hardly see during a conference meet. That's something you see closer to a regionals or NCAA meet. NCAA's are a little bit farther than that, but that's something you hardly ever see in a conference meet, so it was awesome. Tina [DeLakis] and Mo [Monique Riddick] did great, too."
Heptathlon - Jessica Flax, Sr., Wisconsin
On Wisconsin's 1-2-3 sweep: "It feels really good. It's an honor for us all three to go 1-2-3 and all of us to get on the podium. Last year was kind of an upset but this year we pulled through with the 1-2-3, so I'm very happy about that.
On her key events: "It stinks that a lot of them were wind-aided, but the hurdles were good. The 200 was good. Today the javelin went well. I'm glad I had a mark in the long jump and not a scratch and,
then, the 800 I PR'd at 2:15 so that was really exciting that I could do that."
10,000 meters - Kara Millhouse, Sr., Penn State
On making a move to pick up the pace: "My coach and I talked about getting one quick lap in there to break away from the pack. Sure a couple of runners might come along, but get it a smaller pack. That's why I did that."
"I knew Mackenzie (Melander) was coming. I heard my coaches yelling and all of the Iowa people cheering. I wasn't really surprised. It's hard to be surprised by anything that happens out there. It's a long race you have to be ready for anything."
On her kick: "It's always been something I could always rely on. I guess I'm just lucky."