May 8, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's track and field head coach Jim Stintzi took part in UW Athletics' weekly news conference on Monday to provide updates on the Badgers and preview this weekend's 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
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Archived video of Stintzi's session from the news conference, as well as a complete transcript of his remarks, are available below.
Video: Stintzi addresses the media
STINTZI: I'd just like to echo Coach (Ed) Nuttycombe's sentiments. We're excited about having the Big Ten championships here at home. We're looking forward to some great weather and great competition. Obviously the Big Ten is one of, as Coach Nuttycombe had mentioned and on the women's side as well, one of the premier conferences in the country across the board. And I think we'll have a great crowd out there, so it will be, as he mentioned, certainly a home course advantage for us.
Question 1: I think we asked the same question ever since Dave Astrauskas has been here coaching the throws, but just the continued improvement of that group, you look at Taylor Smith, Megan Rennhack and the women he's coaching, how impressed have you been with the way that group's come along?
STINTZI: He's done a great job. And kind of the plan was when Dave came in on both the men's and women's side is that we're going to kind of focus on that area a little bit more than we had in the past.
And he's done a tremendous job of improving the throws at Wisconsin, but unfortunately the Big Ten Conference has improved as dramatically as Dave's group has improved.
We're looking forward, I think Ed would say the same thing, to some big performances from our throwers at the Big Ten championships, but you could look at the (hammer) throw on the women's side or the shot or the disc on the men's side, and you can go down person after person that are nationally ranked.
So we're looking for some big performances, and hopefully that will translate into some big points as well.
Question 2: Your pentathalon group, I see the first to go one, two, three for indoor. Maybe just talk about how they work together and maybe how they push each other and raise their level. And I'm sure they're hoping to do it again this weekend.
STINTZI: They certainly are. And they do actually raise the level for each other. They train together every day. They are at least Jess (Jessica Flax) and Dorcas (Akinniyi) came in at the same, Deanna's a little bit younger, but they're friends, but they're really competitors. When the meet starts, when that event starts, they both believe they're going to be Big Ten champions. Which is exciting. And it also tends to push them to higher levels.
So I think you can look forward to a really great competition between those three. And I wouldn't say who is going to win between the three, and certainly there's other people from other teams, but we feel very confident and that will be a strong area for us on Friday and Saturday.
Question 3: Jim, do you subscribe to the same mathematical theories as Ed regarding home field advantage? And, if so, how does that 10 points translate to your team and its impact? Does it put you in contention? How will that factor?
STINTZI: I'd like to get Ed's 10 points for us as well so we can get 20. I don't think he'll need it as much as we will.
I think if you look, as an example of what he's talking about, indoors for the women's teams, if you would have scored the meet in advance, you would have said Ohio State's going to walk away with it, and then it will be Penn State and maybe Nebraska.
But Nebraska won the meet fairly handily, and I think it was because they stepped up to the plate but also because they were at home and they had the home crowd advantage.
So I don't know that it's 10 points. I don't know where it is necessarily going to come from. I think that there is an advantage to being at home, being in a familiar setting, having the crowd there behind you. And I hope it's 10 points. I hope it's 20. If we're allowed to give a point, I hope it's 20.
Question 4: Is there more pressure being at home? Does that also translate into this?
STINTZI: Yeah. I think that from a coach's standpoint in terms of the presentation and in terms of trying to do the things that would be normal that you would do on the road would be easier to do on the road.
There's a little bit more pressure to make sure that stuff happens. You have the hometown crowd. I don't know if that's necessarily pressure. I think our athletes are going to look at it as a chance to kind of perform in front of the hometown crowd.
As Ed said, you don't have a chance too many times in your career to be at home. It's possible I think if you're certainly a track athlete you go through your entire career and never be at home for a Big Ten championship.
So I think our athletes are looking forward to it. I don't think they look at it as some kind of pressure situation.
Question 5: Coach, out of the group you work with every day, Caitlin Comfort, she was a runner up in cross country in the Big Ten this year, sitting atop of the league in the 10,000 meters and with a pretty elite time that most years would raise a lot of eyebrows but was in a pretty fast race, how does she look and what do you think her chances are for the Big Ten meet?
STINTZI: She's looking really good. She always trains well. She's a quintessential person you want to have in terms of leading your team and being there.
I think she will certainly be in the hunt. But in any race, at the Big Ten level, there's nothing that's for sure. There's another girl who won the 5K indoors, Kara Millhouse from Penn State, has got a wicked kick and who has a time not much lower than Caitlin's.
I think it's going to come down to those two. I think Caitlin will have to show up and Kara will have to show up. It's kind of a tossup. But she certainly should be in the race and it should be a fun race to watch.
Question 6: How would you break down the contenders in this particular get together?
STINTZI: We normally score it kind of the way Coach Nuttycombe says they did it already. We didn't do it this time. We had indoors, we felt we had a whole bunch of event leaders that had a little bit of a meltdown. I think it was because we go and we say this is the score we should be in.
And my philosophy this year is going to be, you know what, we have people in contention in a lot of events. We have a lot of people that can score. We can be in the hunt. Not necessarily to win, we could be if things go right, but what we need to do is take care of the things we need to do as opposed to who should score what and whether we're up five points here down five points there.
Nebraska is good again. Ohio State is very solid. Penn State is solid. Illinois and Wisconsin. I think we're I think those are probably the top five. But if some people show up for one team and don't show up for another team, those are the ones that will switch around.
As Ed mentioned, on the men's side, usually the difference between if not first and second and first and third is maybe 10 or 7 or 13 points or something like that, and then the next five usually are another 10 points.
So if you have a great event or two, one way or the other, if we go crazy in the (discus) or the 10K or steeple or something like that and somebody else falls down, boy, all of a sudden you're 20 points up on what you thought you should be.
I think there's five or six teams, and any one of those teams can be in the hunt.