April 20, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- After two days of competition, the Wisconsin women’s track and field team’s trio of multi-event athletes found themselves in a very familiar position Thursday -- at the top of the Big Ten and the record books.
After strong performances in the heptathlon at the Mt. SAC Relays/California Invitational Combined Events, the Wisconsin athletes also landed themselves in favorable position for postseason competition.
Senior Jessica Flax, junior Dorcas Akinniyi and sophomore Deanna Latham all scored top-10 finishes.
Flax earned the Badgers’ top finish with a second-place showing and moved closer to an Olympic trials berth in the process by compiling a score of 5,662 points -- a total that is not only the Big Ten’s best mark this season, but also the best in Badgers history.
The defending Big Ten champion’s school-record effort surpassed the previous UW mark of 5,637 set by Melissa Talbot in 2007. It also moved Flax to fourth nationally in the heptathlon and surpassed the “B” qualifying standard for this summer’s USA Olympic Trials.
The field’s top mark in the javelin -- 151 feet, 7 inches -- helped propel Flax on the second day of competition. The performance also stands No. 2 in UW history in the javelin.
She had the eighth-best mark of the day in the long jump at 18 feet, 9 inches, and finished the competition with a run of 2 minutes, 19.88 seconds in the 800 meters -- sixth-best in the field.
Akinniyi finished just behind her teammate in third place with a score of 5,572, falling just 14 points short of matching her lifetime-best mark in the event. She ranks No. 7 nationally in the event.
In the long jump, Akinniyi matched her personal-best effort at 19-8, a mark that ranks No. 8 all-time at UW. Her mark was the second-best showing of any competitor in the field.
In the javelin, the senior threw 91-9 before ending the day with a time of 2:22.81 in the 800 meters.
Latham took sixth in the overall standings with a personal-best score of 5,451 points to jump to No. 12 in the national rankings. The performance also bumps Latham to No. 5 in the heptathlon all-time at Wisconsin.
In the main competition of the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., the Badgers saw performances in the open division of the 1,500 meters.
Four Badgers ran in a field of 124 athletes in the 1500 meters, with sophomore Liga Blyholder taking the top finish for UW in 50th place with a time of 4:28.43.
Sophomore Lavinia Jurkiewicz came next at 4:31.83 to take 68th.
Senior Megan Beers took 99th at 4:38.11 and senior Dani Fischer was just behind in 100th at 4:38.53.
Day 1 Recap
Akinniyi led the way for the Badgers as the first day of the Mt. SAC Relays/California Invitational Combined Events came to a close on Wednesday.
Akinniyi ended the first day of competition on top of the pack with a four-event score of 3,502 points -- including a pair of personal-best efforts.
Flax stood in fourth with 3,312 points and Latham seventh with 3,259 points.
In the first event, the 100 hurdles, Akinniyi was third-fastest, clocking in at 14.06 seconds. Flax took fourth at 14.08 and Latham ninth at 14.46.
Akinniyi tied for the field’s best mark in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, 9 1/4 inches. Flax matched her personal best at 5-5 3/4 and Latham picked up two feet for a new personal best of 5-5 3/4.
Akinniyi had her first lifetime-best showing of the day in the shot put, throwing 43 feet, 4 1/4 inches for the No. 3 mark in the competition. Flax threw 39-9 3/4 and Latham tossed the shot a personal-best distance of 39-8 1/2.
In the 200 meters, Akinniyi closed the day by running a personal-best time of 25.26 to continue her streak of top finishes among her teammates, taking sixth overall. Latham took the next spot in eighth place, clocking in at 25.31. Flax ran a personal-best of 25.33 to take ninth.
The Badgers look to continue competition Saturday at the Mt. SAC Relays, while also sending their throwers to compete in the Musco Twilight Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa.