May 12, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If running 13.46 did this much for Deanna Latham’s confidence as a hurdler, imagine what 13.15 will do.
The Wisconsin junior walked out of Jesse Owens Stadium on Saturday comfortable in saying she could win the 100-meter hurdles final Sunday at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. That was on the heels of a personal-best effort of 13.46 seconds that easily won her preliminary heat.
Latham very nearly proved herself right with a tremendous effort in the final. Her time of 13.15 left her agonizingly close to the winning effort of 13.13 turned in by Evonne Britton of Penn State, who dived across the line to narrowly nip Latham for the Big Ten title.
Britton’s Nittany Lions won the team crown with 133 points, while the Badgers finished seventh after amassing 74.5 points.
“It’s certainly frustrating to walk away with a seventh-place finish when you have as many good performances as we did this weekend,” UW head coach Jim Stintzi said. “At the end of the day, we had the chance to pick up a few more points in several areas, but I’m proud of a lot of our performances individually.”
In settling for silver -- her first All-Big Ten performance -- Latham ran the fastest all-conditions time in Wisconsin history. She clocked in well under the school record of 13.45 set by Egle Staisiunaite at the 2011 Big Ten meet, but the 3.1 meters-per-second wind behind Latham’s effort is above the threshold of 2.0 allowed for record purposes.
Regardless of the conditions, the effort proved that Staisiunaite’s record won’t last long. Latham has improved her lifetime-best mark in each of her last three races.
On the heels of her 10,000 meters title on Friday, senior Caitlin Comfort was back on the podium Sunday after scoring a third-place finish in the 5000 meters.
Comfort completed the distance double with a run of 16 minutes, 13.68 seconds in some difficult conditions caused by gusty crosswinds. She ran at the front from the start and was part of a three-person breakaway late, but Comfort was unable to cover the final move by Michigan State’s Leah O’Connor late in the race.
O’Connor -- coming back off her win in the steeplechase Saturday evening -- won in 16:09.46 and brought Iowa’s Mareike Schrulle along in 16:12.66 for second.
“I said going in to the weekend that I thought Caitlin was the most consistent distance runner in the Big Ten and I think she showed that with what she was able to do,” Stintzi said. “Her performance in the 10K was outstanding and she did a great job today in the 5K of battling through some tough conditions for third with the brutal wind we had.
“I’m very proud of what she was able to accomplish.”
Senior Dorcas Akinniyi had company on the awards stand following her performance in the high jump -- the final conference event in her storied Big Ten career. Akinniyi cleared 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches to jam her way into a four-way tie for third place.
Indiana’s Emma Kimoto won with a clearance at 5-9 3/4, while Sara Nitz of Michigan took second by getting over at 5-8 1/2 on fewer attempts than Akinniyi and the other third-place finishers.
Akinniyi was clean on the opening height of 5-4 1/2 and then cleared 5-6 1/2 on her second attempt to stay in the hunt. It took a third-attempt clearance at 5-8 1/2 to put her on the podium.
The Badgers also picked up points in the discus, with senior Taylor Smith tossing 168-0 to claim fifth place and sophomore Kelsey Card posting a mark of 156-3 to take eighth.