Feb. 29, 2004
IOWA CITY, IA – For the first time in the history of the Penn State women’s track program, the Nittany Lions captured a Conference title by winning the 2004 Big Ten Women’s Track & Field Championships (February 28-29) in Iowa City.
Penn State scored 115.00 points to beat two-time defending champion Michigan (98.33). Iowa squeaked by Ohio State to capture third with 89 points, while the Buckeyes finished fourth with a total of 88.83. Indiana placed fifth with 68 points and Michigan State was sixth with 65. Rounding out the 10-team field was Wisconsin (63.13), Illinois (50.00), Minnesota (38.00) and Purdue (26.50).
“It was our first Big Ten team win in school history and we did it in a great fashion here in Iowa City,” said Penn State head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. “Consuela Moore has been a part of our team for five years. She went out in a blaze today. We couldn’t have gotten better senior leadership than we got from her. We got great support from our throwing and field events, and our sprinters and distance runners did outstanding today. We had a very well-rounded and successful team.”
Three athletes won two events at the 2004 Big Ten Women’s Indoor Championships. Penn State senior Consuella Moore won the 60 meters and 200 meters, and Wisconsin junior Hilary Edmondson placed first in both the mile and 3,000 meters. Ohio State junior Rosalind Goodwin took home titles in the long jump and triple jump.
“It feels great; these are my first medals in the 60 and 200 at the Big Ten Championships, Moore said. “At past Big Ten’s, I haven’t had that much luck, so this is very meaningful for me right now. It’s just a great feeling, and I hope I can carry it out the rest of the season.”
Ohio State swept the weight throw in the first event on Sunday. Keturah Lofton set a track record on nearly every throw, finishing with a best of 20.01m (65′ 7.75″), which is an NCAA automatic qualifier. Lofton’s throw eclipsed the previous track record, set by Purdue’s Serene Ross (18.00m) in 2002, by over two meters. Amarachi Ukabaum placed second at 19.33m and Shelaine Larson took home third on her last throw of 18.92m. Ukabam and Larson each qualified provisionally for NCAAs with their throws.
The Buckeyes continued their early dominance on Sunday with Rosalind Goodwin capturing the triple jump with a track record leap of 13.27m (43’6.5″), which was an NCAA provisional qualifier. Goodwin out-jumped defending champion Chi-Chi Aduba of Penn State who finished second at 13.14m. The Buckeyes also gained an NCAA provisional qualifier with third-place finisher Shayla Moore’s jump of 12.71m. Indiana’s Lauren Chestnut, who placed fourth, made it four provisional qualifiers with her jump of 12.66m.
In the mile, Wisconsin’s Hilary Edmondson captured the Big Ten title with a track record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:45.05. Edmondson finished just ahead of Michigan’s Lindsay Gallo, who also qualified provisionally for NCAAs with a time of 4:47.67. Illinois freshman Cassie Hunt continued to impress with her third-place finish of 4:51.80.
“It feels really good to win the mile. Wisconsin has a tradition of having good milers so I was glad that I was able to keep the tradition alive,” said Edmondson. “I knew coming into the race that Lindsey Gallo from Michigan was going to be my biggest competition. We were next to each other in the national rankings, and I knew if I could just stay by her then I’d have a chance to win the race.”
Shellene Williams of Iowa made sure she didn’t leave the Recreation Building for the last time without giving the crowd another track record to witness. Williams crossed the finish line in the 400-meter dash in 54.17, which proved to be good enough for an NCAA provisional qualifying mark as well. Michigan State freshman Cynetheia Rooks also qualified for NCAAs with a time of 54.38.
“It’s a pleasure winning the 400 meters at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, especially since it’s at home,” Williams said. “The atmosphere was nice; it’s special to win the title on my home track.”
Yet another track record fell in the 60-meter dash with PSU’s Connie Moore capturing her first of two Big Ten titles on the day. Moore’s time of 7.27 was a track record and an NCAA automatic qualifier. Indiana’s Ara Towns and Illinois freshman Yvonne Mensah each qualified provisionally for NCAAs with times of 7.34 and 7.44, respectively.
Mensah continued to impress as she set the track record and qualified provisionally for NCAAs in the 60-meter high hurdles. The freshman was timed at 8.32, just one-tenth faster than Michigan’s Robin Landfair, who also managed to gain NCAA provisional status.
Penn State’s Moore captured her second Big Ten title in the 200 meters in record fashion. Moore flew around the track in 23.44 seconds which marked a Big Ten Championships record, a track record, and an NCAA automatic qualifier as well. Iowa’s Shellene Williams and Michigan State’s Cynetheia Rooks gained NCAA provisional status with times of 23.97 and 24.14, respectively.
In the 800 meters, Michigan’s Theresa Feldkamp won with a time of 2:09.96, besting Iowa senior Michelle Lahann’s time of 2:10.72. The Wolverines also took home third place in the event as senior Anna Jones crossed the line in 2:11.01.
Michigan continued to mark its comeback as sophomore Katie Erdman captured the 600 meters with a track-record time of 1:29.57. Penn State freshman Briene Simmons was second with 1:31.46 and Wisconsin sophomore Tara Halls was third at 1:32.27.
Iowa freshman Peaches Roach gave Hawkeye fans something to look forward to over the next three years as she claimed the high jump with an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 1.81m (5’11.25″). A total of seven competitors were stopped at 1.73m, but going on attempts, three ended in a tie for second. Jennifer Kulchar (MICH), Jessie Stanger (OSU) and Angie Kolanko (WIS) finished second, which resulted in team scoring being given out in one-thirds of a point.
Controversy overshadowed Michigan State’s Jamie Krzyminski’s third consecutive Big Ten Championship in the 5,000-meter run. Krzyminski, who lapped competitors at will, ended up going so fast that the official lap count was actually one lap more than the athletes had to race. The Spartan’s time of 17:02.61 beat Iowa’s Nikki Chapple by nine seconds, but the race immediately came under an inquiry as one of the head coaches noticed an error in the laps. The judges of appeal met to discuss the inquiry and the official scorer went back on video to declare the official positions. In the end, it was deemed that the 25-lap race actually went 26 laps and that the times reflected were actually those of a 5,200-meter race.
The inquiry caused the final race, the 4×400 meter relay, to be delayed because Big Ten Conference rules state the race must be seeded according to results of the 5,000. With those results still under debate, action was delayed for nearly 40 minutes.
After the positions of the 5,000 meters became official, Iowa blazed around the track to finish first in the first of two sections with a facility record time of 3:44.47. That record was short-lived as Indiana claimed the second session of the race, bettering Iowa’s mark with a time of 3:41.80. Times from both sections were combined for places, and the Hoosiers claimed the final event of the 2004 Big Ten Championships. Iowa’s time was third best, due to Michigan running a 3:42.40 in the second session to finish behind Indiana.
For Iowa head coach James Grant, his Hawkeyes just nipped Ohio State in the final race for third place overall, which left him nearly speechless. Sunday marked the best finish for Iowa under their coach of eight years and also the best finish at the Big Ten Championships since a third place finish at the 1983 outdoor meet. Iowa finished ninth at last year’s Championships.
“I’m extremely happy right now. Words can’t really describe how great I feel for our team,” Grant said. “Our girls were really wonderful – they performed beyond the call. I knew we could finish third and a lot of people stepped up. It was really awesome to do this in Iowa City in front of our home crowd. Peaches and Shellene along with all of our girls were wonderful this weekend.”
In total, the 2004 Big Ten Championships produced two Big Ten meet records, two automatic and 25 provisional qualifiers for NCAAs, and an impressive 17 track records.