May 15, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women’s track and field team will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, for the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships this weekend at the Rankin Track and Field.
A squad of 21 will compete at the three-day meet, looking to build off the Badgers’ seventh-place finish a year ago at the conference championships.
“It's kind of a chance for our younger athletes to actually be kind of put into a baptism by fire situation because they're going to be the ones who are really we're going to rely on at the Big Ten and beyond this year, and who we have relied on so far,” UW head coach Jim Stintzi said.
The Badgers enter the weekend without the services of Deanna Latham and Kelsey Card, who are both redshirting this year. Both scored for Wisconsin last year at the Big Ten outdoor meet, and Latham was the 2014 Big Ten champion in the indoor pentathlon.
“The reason we did that is we did a little bit of a gamble that the future will be brighter with our young athletes that are going to carry us this year and with the addition of Kelsey and Deanna next year,” Stintzi said. “It's the opportunity for the young athletes to carry the team, really, and put them in pressure filled situation of the Big Ten championships and beyond. And on the other hand, it's a chance for us to build for the future.”
Brianna Bower and Angela Boushea pace the UW throwers, as both have Big Ten championship experience. Bower placed sixth a year ago in the javelin, and looks to break her lifetime best of 157 feet, 6 inches, set earlier this year at the Triton Invitational. That throw not only ranks third in program history, but sixth in the conference on the season.
“Brianna came to us really more as somebody we thought was going to be a multi-eventer under Coach (Nate) Davis, and quickly we discovered that she can really throw the javelin,” Stintzi said. “She has made tremendous strides in a few seasons, certainly in the mix in the Big Ten and at the regional level.”
Boushea set a personal best of 189-10 in the hammer throw last week at the Wisconsin Open, which ranks her seventh in the Big Ten. Boushea also has the league’s 12th-best shot put mark with a throw of 47-6 1/2.
“Angela is one of those people who regardless of what happens during the regular season, she will come through,” Stintzi said. “She has come through every single Big Ten meet that she's thrown in. And that is obviously the type of athlete that you like to have.”
Boushea wasn’t the only Badger to excel at the team’s lone home meet, as Laura McGinnis set a huge personal best in the triple jump by leaping 41-1 3/4 last weekend, marking the third time this year she has broken the 40-foot mark.
“Laura has been a really steady, consistent jumper for us for all four years, and I'm really excited to say that she had a breakthrough meet this past weekend at our home meet at exactly the right time,” Stintzi said. “She has always hovered around the 40-foot, 39-high mark. And that's kind of on the borderline of scoring every year in the Big Ten and doing something at the regional.
“I think she's on top of her game and she's poised to do something really special at the Big Ten.”
On the track, sophomore Molly Hanson leads the Badgers. The Dodgeville native ranks fifth in the conference in the 1500 meters with a time of 4:19.98, which she ran at the Drake Relays on April 23.
“I knew that Molly had a really big upside, but I wasn't sure that she would have this quick of a progression at the Big Ten level (in) middle distance running because it's very, very competitive,” Stintzi said. “I think Molly will be a factor in the 1500 meters at the Big Ten championships.”
Emma-Lisa Murphy, Sarah Disanza and Erin Cawley also look to score for UW in the distance races, as Murphy will compete in the 5000 and 10,000 meters, Disanza will focus on the 1500 and Cawley will run in the steeplechase.
Murphy, an All-American in cross country, was sixth indoors in both the 3000 and 5000 earlier this year. Disanza will run her first 10,000 at the collegiate level, while her team-best time of 16:24.00 in the 5000 meters ranks 10th in the league. Cawley, who ran the fifth-best steeplechase time in program history earlier this year, enters the weekend 12th in the conference with a PR of 10:30.80.
Freshman Georgia Ellenwood looks to continue the Badgers’ success in the multi-events, as she will open things up for UW on Friday with the heptathlon. The Badgers have won the past nine Big Ten combined event titles, a streak that dates back to the pentathlon at the 2010 indoor meet.
“She's only a freshman,” Stintzi said of Ellenwood. “With that said, she is an elite athlete already in her freshman year. I think it would be a big task to ask her to win a Big Ten championship this spring, but she's a competitor. She's only done one heptathlon for us, and I see her making it to the NCAA championships and being in the fight for that Big Ten crown.”