March 21, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women’s track and field team opens the outdoor season this Friday at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge in Starkville, Miss.
The Badgers will compete with fellow Big Ten team, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue to take on SEC opponent, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Ole Miss. All points earned by athletes will contribute to their conference’s score rather than team in a head-to-head completion between leagues.
The competition opens Friday with the field events. Junior Taylor Smith will come in strong to the hammer throw, as she currently owns the No. 3 throw in Wisconsin history with a launch of 175 feet, 9 inches.
Smith will also compete in the shot put, one of two events in which she holds the school record.
Smith’s second record is in the discus, her final event of the day. Smith’s throw of 172-10 last season shattered Kayla Schultz’s four-year-old mark by close to five feet.
Freshman Kelsey Card will debut in her first collegiate outdoor meet in the shot put, an event she dominated on the indoor circuit, breaking the school record and earning All-America honors. Card will also compete in the discus with Smith.
Big Ten pentathlon champion Dorcas Akinniyi will throw in the shot put, putting in some work for upcoming outdoor heptathlons.
In the final throws event, another school-record holder comes out for the competition, as senior Megan Rennhack will compete in the javelin.
Newcomer senior Natasha Smith’s performance in the javelin on Friday will also be her first as a Badger.
The Badgers also send three athletes to compete in the horizontal jumps. Senior Jordan Helgren will represent in the triple jump, while senior Jessica Flax and freshman Laura McGinnis perform in the long jump.
Senior Monika Jakutyte will appear in the high jump. Flax stacks up alongside fellow multi-events athlete Deanna Latham in the high jump as well.
In the running events senior Dani Fischer and junior Hanna Knurr open the day with the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Junior Ashley Beutler and sophomore Liga Blyholder will run in the 1,500 meters.
The multi-event specialists Flax and Latham will return for the 100 hurdles.
Junior Brittney Harper will compete in the 800 meters.
The SEC/Big Ten challenge starts at 9 a.m. (CT) on Friday. Live results can be found on UWBadgers.com.