Feb. 18, 2013
• Watch Stintzi Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's track and field head coach Jim Stintzi met with members of the media Monday to look ahead to this weekend's 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Stintzi's remarks can be found below.
STINTZI: I guess the first thing to say is this will be the first Big Ten championship ever that's hosted at an off campus site in the Big Ten. We're going to the Spire Institute, which is a relatively new facility, 300 meters. First time we've ever run a 300-meter track in the Big Ten championship. We're looking forward to that opportunity to run some fast times and be in a new environment that will change the way the Big Ten meet is run and may change it permanently.
We're excited to be heading to the Big Ten championships. We're healthy and ready to go. The Big Ten has changed a bit over the last few years in terms of depth and quality, and I think this year's meet will be about who can put together their event groups and score the most in two or three event groups rather than having people score across the board as they have in the past. With the addition of two new teams in the future, I think this is kind of the way the Big Ten meet is going to go.
We're hoping our pentathletes, our throwers, our people in the three (3000 meters) and the five (5000 meters) and our hurdlers will come through and put us in the mix.
QUESTION: Jim, what are some of the benefits of moving to the oversized track for the Big Ten championship from your perspective?
STINTZI: The track, in itself, is simply faster than any of the tracks that we have on campus sites. Certainly, we can host a combined men's and women's meet with the spectators and the number of teams there without having to keep people outside the venue.
But in terms of the quality performances, I think we'll see. If we don't see all the records fall, we'll see a lot of records fall, even in this one championship. The Big Ten is near the top of its game, both on the men's and women's side. So we're going to see great performances anyway. But when you put us on the super-fast track, you're going to see some really outstanding performances.
QUESTION: Do you think it will change -- being on the big track, do you think it will change the way people approach what's traditionally been the last chance weekend, the weekend after the conference championship meets?
STINTZI: I think the Big Ten coaches would hope so. I don't think you want to have to put your athletes in the spot of competing the week before the nationals. I think it puts us on the same level as other conferences who have competed on bigger tracks or banked tracks in the past. So hopefully, we'll get a chance to qualify people this weekend as opposed to having to wait until the last chance.
QUESTION: Jessica Flax is a name a lot of people know because she's won a couple of Big Ten championships and she's a senior. What about Deanna Latham? Have you been surprised by her progress this year?
STINTZI: I think these are things we expected from Deanna, but she has made a really big jump this year. Obviously, Jessica is incredibly consistent both at the Big Ten level and at the national level. I think this is the start of the transition from Dorcas Akinniyi and Jessica Flax to now Deanna is going to kind of -- she's a little bit younger than these two -- this is their last year -- so I think it will be her chance to maybe unseat Jessica. That would be fun to watch. Or certainly carry on that tradition.
QUESTION: As far as the neutral site goes, will that factor allow for more parity in an event like this, do you think?
STINTZI: There's certainly a home-track advantage, the fact that it's in Ohio, though, you could argue it would be an advantage for Ohio State or maybe the Michigan schools.
I think the size of the facility and the size of the track makes it a more neutral facility, as well. They're actually outdoor sized lanes. There's eight lanes instead of six. You're not going to get all the pushing and shoving and bumping that you might normally get. I do think it will be definitely a fair facility for everybody to compete in.
Whether it takes away that hometown advantage, hopefully, it's a more neutral site than we've had in the past.
QUESTION: Your distance group has a pretty good mix of experienced runners and then some new faces. What are you looking for out of that group this weekend?
STINTZI: Well, like I said before, I think you have to kind of maximize those areas that you can score in. I think we have to get some good quality performances from Caitlin Comfort and Gabi Anzalone and Ashley Beutler in the three and the five and the mile. That's really kind of what we're looking for. The bottom line isn't PRs or anything like that, it's really getting in there, mixing it up, and scoring some points. Same thing in the pentathlon, same thing in the hurdles, same thing in the throws.
It's true of any team. You're down to maybe 10 to 15 athletes that really have to come through for you to be in the hunt. So those athletes have to come through and score some big points for us.