May 11, 2012
Championship Central | Photo Gallery
MADISON, Wis. -- Junior Caitlin Comfort was the first member of the Wisconsin women's track and field team to take the podium at this year's Big Ten championships, but she hopes she won't be the last.
With a huge crowd cheering her and the other Badgers on Friday night at the Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex, Comfort ran to a third-place finish in the 10,000 meters.
"It's great to have the home crowd here cheering for us Badgers," said Comfort. "You have a lot of family out here and friends who are rooting for you every step of the way. It makes a big difference."
Starting off in the front of the pack, Comfort maintained a solid top-five lead for most of the race. At the 5-kilometer mark, the pack began to thin out, leaving Comfort and a few others leading the race after Penn State's Kara Millhouse turned up the tempo in the race's late stages.
Rounding her 21st lap, Comfort pulled away, taking Millhouse and Iowa's McKenzie Melander with her.
Millhouse broke away with a huge kick just after the leaders took the bell, overtaking Comfort on the backstretch before pulling away down the homestretch.
Millhouse crossed the finish line in 34 minutes, 25.78 seconds, with Melander and Comfort close behind.
Comfort clocked in at 34:33.13 to take third place and secure six valuable team points for the Badgers.
"I just sat behind the leaders, stayed really relaxed. Until about nine laps to go, then Kara Millhouse took it out and I just responded," Comfort said. "Unfortunately she had the better kick tonight.
"I hung on for third so I'm happy with that."
However, Comfort wasn't the only Badger to break into the top 10.
Also picking up points for Wisconsin was Theresa Selestow. The top-finishing freshman in the field, Selestow clocked in at 35:09.58 to take seventh.
Senior Kyla Chapman also ran in the 10,000 meters, placing 12th with a time of 36:04.37.
On the field, sophomore Abby Lueck was the Badgers' sole competitor in the hammer throw.
Lueck threw for 174 feet, 7 inches and came away with 16th in the event.
Day two of the Big Ten championships begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (CT) with the final three events of the heptathlon. Live results can be found on UWBadgers.com.