Feb. 25, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- Thanks to strong performances in the field events, the No. 17 Wisconsin women’s track and field team closed out a sixth-place finish at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday.
Wisconsin walked away with 58 points to take sixth, while host Nebraska took the crown with 114.5 points and Ohio State was second with a score of 106. Penn State came in third at 99 points.
Senior Monika Jakutyte, the defending Big Ten high jump champion, placed third in the event on Saturday. Jakutyte’s clearance of 5 feet, 9 1/4 inches fell just short of the title.
However, Jakutyte’s personal-best height of 6-0 from earlier this season has her ranked No. 4 nationally and in good position to earn a bid to next month’s NCAA indoor championships.
In the triple jump, senior Jordan Helgren leapt for a mark of 41 feet, 4 1/2 inches for fourth place. The personal-best performance ranks Helgren No. 2 all-time on UW’s indoor list.
The mile was a major bright spot for the Badgers on the track, thanks to sophomore Liga Blyholder and junior Ashley Beutler who raced their way into Saturday’s final with strong runs in the Friday preliminaries.
Beutler took sixth with a time of 4:47.53 while Blyholder followed in at 4:48.77 for eighth place.
“It was far from what I would call a good day for us, and we’re left with some things to work on as a team,” UW head coach Jim Stintzi said. “Still, I was happy with what we accomplished in the mile, and we got strong performances from our seniors in Monika (Jakutyte) and Jordan (Helgren).”
Junior Brittney Harper ran in the finals for the 600 meters and clocked in at 1:30.96 for fifth place and additional points to UW’s total.
Junior Taylor Smith had an uncharacteristic day in the weight throw, throwing for 65 feet, 11 3/4 inches to settle for fifth place. However, Smith’s school-record mark of 69-11 3/4 has her fifth in the nation and earned her an automatic bid to the NCAA championships.
Sophomore Angela Boushea took ninth in the weight throw with a personal-best distance of 60-9 1/2.
On the track, senior Dani Fischer took second in the unseeded section of the 5000 meters with a time of 17:15.03.
In the seeded section of the 5000 meters, junior Caitlin Comfort took 10th, crossing the finish line at 16:47.40. Freshman Gabrielle Anzalone competed in her first individual event at the championships to take 12th with a time of 16:54.74.
Competing in the 4x400 meter relay were senior Katie Duchow and junior Carrie Edmunds, Brittney Harper and Flax. The team placed 11th, but the quartet’s time of 3:45.46 ranks No. 3 all-time at UW.
The Badgers now look to next week’s Wisconsin NCAA Qualifier at The Shell, as well as the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame as they look to solidify spots in the NCAA championships.
“Looking ahead, I’m excited about the group we’ve qualified for the NCAA meet and we’ll focus on getting those athletes ready for the next step,” Stintzi said.