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Stintzi meets media to preview Big Ten championships

<b> Badgers head coach Jim Stintzi met with the media on Monday </b>

Badgers head coach Jim Stintzi met with the media on Monday

Feb. 21, 2012

Feb. 21, 2012

Watch Stintzi Press Conference Small Video Graphic

Madison, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's track and field head coach Jim Stintzi reflected on the Badgers' season and looked ahead to this weekend's Big Ten indoor championships in Lincoln, Neb.

Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Stintzi's remarks can be found below.

Jim Stintzi: Thanks, Brian. Well, as Brian said, we're excited about the inaugural combined men's and women's Big Ten Championships this year at Nebraska. It will put a little different spin on the meet having both the men and women there, a little bit different in terms of timeframe and doubling. So we expect the meet to be interesting and extremely competitive, as always. We're excited to have a number of event leaders and a couple more people in second, sitting in second going into the meet, and we're looking forward to a tough competition, but a good competition, and I think the Badgers are ready to go.

QUESTION #1: Is this kind of where you thought your team might be right now, with the success you've had?

STINTZI: I'm not sure where we are until after this weekend, then I'll tell you, then I'll answer the question. I think we're in a good position. It's always nice to have a number of event leaders going into the meet. We feel like we've got, as long as people stay healthy and do thing, what they're capable of doing, we feel like we have people that are in very strong positions, and that gives us kind of a chance to kind of be in the mix, let's put it that way, as long as those people come through.
But it comes down to, as Coach Nuttycombe can tell you, with his ten million Big Ten championships, you have to have a lot of people come through. You can't just have those few people that are leading their events come through. You have to have a lot of role players come through. So, and that's true for us or for any other school, you know, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, all those schools have to have the same thing.

QUESTION #2: Speaking of my favorite events in the throws, possible to maybe get like a one, two, three type of sweep or, especially in the shot put and weight throw?
STINTZI: Anything is possible, Diane. I will say this, our throwers are on top of their game, they're healthy, they're confident, but the Big Ten is extremely competitive, more competitive in the throws, I think, than it's been in a long, long time. We're confident going in there that we're going to be very competitive. It would be wonderful if we did that, but I don't think that we're going in there telling those athletes they have to do that. We want them just go in there be loose and to do their best. And I think if they do, then we'll get a number of points out of those events.

QUESTION #3: What do you think the biggest benefit of having the men and women's meet at the same place is?

STINTZI: Well, I think there's some benefits and there's some questions that we don't know whether it's good or bad for our individual team. But changing the time schedule could be great, it could be not so great, depending on whether you have people that can double or that you risk them in the double, mostly in the running events. Having both the men's and women's teams in one site certainly makes for a more exciting meet. We've kind of, in terms of the number of people that will be there, in terms of the teams kind of getting around the track and cheering for each other, we've seen that at outdoor meets.
But it will, you know, it lengthens the meet a little bit, so that's sort of a detriment, but in terms of, you know, the overall impact, we don't know. And it's been something that's been up in the air for a long time. There have been programs that have really wanted this and pushed it and other programs that felt that having that one meet that was different than all the rest of the meets across the country was special. So it will be interesting to see what happens. It will be interesting to see how the fans react to it and basically what happens on the track and in the field events.

QUESTION #4: Have you set goals as far as where you think the team will finish and/or, you know, what teams you're looking to challenge for possible titles?
STINTZI: Yeah. You know, it's really difficult, and I'm not trying to dodge the question. Just because of the way the meet's changed in terms of who might double and who might not double, so you can't just go and score out the meet based on the descending order list because there's people that will be in the 5K that aren't even on the list right now. There might be people that will be in the 800/600 that you wouldn't even think would double there, and it changes the whole thing.
    So I will say this, I think that we can be very competitive if our people in those, our event leaders come through and then our role players do what they need to do. So it's going to hinge on really a couple of key events, but are the people that we're competing against, in my mind, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, maybe Ohio State, Nebraska, all have the same issues. They have strong events and then they have some events where they really need people to come through. So it's going to be, it's going to be a dogfight, and the team that has those, you know, those kind of mid-level people come through, I think, is going to be the team that wins.

QUESTION #5: That being said, do you have a deep team?

STINTZI: We have a team that's strong in a number of areas, and then we have the throws, the multis are going to be very strong for us, the high jump as well. In some areas where we're not going to get very many points at all, kind of the sprints. And so it's going to, for us it's going to come down to what we do in the middle distance and the distance and a couple of the relays, and that's true kind of for the teams that we're competing with. I mean, Penn State, Ohio State, they're stronger in the sprints. Ohio State is not as strong in the distances. Penn State is not as strong in the throws. So everybody has got their niches, and you have to come up with your big points in your niches.
It's a little different than it used to be where you might have a team that would be just balanced across the board. It's now really more about kind of, I don't want to say superstars, but your stars coming through, and then those nickel and dimers really kind of stepping up a level and scoring maybe fourth and fifth instead of sixth and seventh, so.

QUESTION #6: I know Taylor Smith was an All American a year ago. How much has she improved? And then Kelsey Card as a freshman doing what she's doing, pretty impressive.
STINTZI: Well, Taylor's improved a lot, and she was, and she'd improved quite a bit from the year before. You know, talking to Dave Astrauskas, who is our throws coach, you know, he's not a, he's not a guy who paints an overly rosy picture, but he sees Taylor as somebody that's only going to get better. We had a really kind of question in our mind as to whether we would redshirt her this year just because of the future that she's going to have, and my thought was it's kind of silly to redshirt somebody who can win a Big Ten championship, so that's why she's throwing right now. But, yeah, she's going to get better, even this indoor season, I think. She hasn't had her best throw yet.
    Kelsey Card, we kind of knew that we had a star in Kelsey coming out of high school last year. She was the number one shot putter in the country, but I think she's even exceeded our expectations a little bit. So with that said, Big Ten is competitive in both of those events and really tough, and they're going to have to have great throws to come through and win.

QUESTION #7: In the pentathlon, you have two very good events in Dorcas and Jessica. How much does that help them, especially when they're competing in the five events?

STINTZI: How much does it help them?

QUESTION #7: To be together, to have two competitive athletes.

STINTZI: Yeah, I think it helps a lot. And, you know, Deanna Latham has been a scorer outdoors for us as well. I think the interesting thing this year is the Big Ten got much more difficult in the pentathlon with the addition of Nebraska. Traditionally, they're very strong in the multi events, and they will not only give Dorcas a run for her money, but they will make Jessica be at her A game as well to kind of get the points that we're used to getting out of those events. So it will be interesting. It's definitely great to have those two together to kind of push each other, but now they have a couple other people that are going to push both of them as well.

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