Hawkeyes Host Big Ten Championships

Feb. 23, 2004

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THIS WEEK — The Iowa women’s track team will host the 2004 Big Ten Indoor Championships Saturday and Sunday in Iowa City, IA. All events will be held at the University Recreation Building. Tickets are $7 per day for adults and $5 per day for youth and students. All seats are general admission.

HAWKEYES CRACK TOP 20 — The Hawkeyes are ranked 13th in the nation in the most recent United States Track Coaches Assocation Team Power Ranking. Teams are assigned a point total and ranked based on quality of athletic performance, team depth and dual meet scoring potential. Iowa has earned a score of 258.89. Nebraska is ranked first with a 300.73 score. Other Big Ten teams ranked in the top 20 are Penn State (3rd-284.31), Ohio State (6th-270.32) and Indiana (10th-263.40).

WILLIAMS LEADS THE PACK — Hawkeye senior Shellene Williams is on track for another outstanding season at Iowa. In her first full indoor season with the Hawkeyes, Williams has automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 400 meters, and provisionally qualified in the 200 meters and as part of the distance medley relay. Her qualifying times in the 200 and 400 meters also set school indoor records. Williams also leads the team in the 60 meters. Her season-best time of 7.50 ranks second on Iowa’s all-time best performers list.

Williams is looking to carry momentum from her 2003 outdoor accomplishments into 2004 indoor post-season competition. She won the 400 meters and ran the anchor leg of Iowa’s winning 1,600-meter relay at the 2003 Big Ten Outdoor meet. She became the fourth female student-athlete in school history to win two events at the same conference meet. The 1,600-meter relay of Aisha Hume, Nicole Charles, Sarah Steffen and Williams went on from winning the school’s first conference title in that event to shattering the 15-year-old school record of 3:41.23 by almost five seconds. They ran a blistering 3:36.26 at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Williams has a chance to make a permanent mark in the Iowa record books. With two conference titles under her belt, and an indoor and outdoor meet left to compete in, she has the chance to catch Iowa’s four three-time champions and the Hawkeyes’ lone four-time champion, Vivien McKenzie. McKenzie won three consecutive 100-meter titles (1983-85) and the 1985 55-meter title. Williams and the rest of the squad have the chance to end Iowa’s drought at the Big Ten meet. Iowa’s last Big Ten indoor champion was Yolanda Hobbs, in the 55 meters, in 1995.

NCAA QUALIFIERS & INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS — Iowa has qualified nine student-athletes for the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships, to be held March 12-13 in Fayetteville, AR, in five individual events and one relay. Eleven athletes are ranked in the top eight in their respective events in the Big Ten.

2003 INDOOR BIG TEN REVIEW — Iowa placed ninth with 29.5 points at the 2003 Big Ten Indoor Championships in Bloomington, IN. Michigan won the team title. The Hawkeyes were led by Aisha Hume, who placed sixth in the 500 meters (1:32.90). Hume also ran the third leg on the 1,600 meter relay of Jessica Fouche, Nicole Charles and Sarah Steffen that placed fifth in 3:48.06. Michelle Lahann placed fifth in the mile (4:54.75) and anchored the distance medley relay of Becca Thompson, Shellene Williams and Atalie Barber to a fifth-place finish in 11:51.71. Jessie Strand also placed fifth in the pole vault (11-11 3/4). Tiff Pedersen placed sixth in the pentathlon with 3,451 points, Steffen placed seventh in the 60-meter hurdles (8.59), and Jiselle Providence placed seventh in the 200 meters (24.72) and eighth in the 60 meters (7.66).