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Badger track teams gear up for Big Ten Indoor meets

first_imgThe men’s and women’s track teams have a lot to look forward to this upcoming weekend at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.The men are going for their sixth consecutive Big Ten Conference Indoor title in Iowa City, Iowa, whereas the women’s team prepares to host the 2006 Big Ten Conference Indoor Championships in the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center (the Shell).The men’s team has a lot to live up to, considering they are the predecessors to a team that has won five consecutive Big Ten Conference Indoor Championships.”I think, to a certain extent, there’s a certain amount of confidence; I think the athletes draw upon the history of the program,” UW men’s coach Ed Nuttycombe said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to go and compete in the championship. It’s something we’ve had some success with in the past, and we’re certainly hoping to continue that.”Nuttycombe is fairly confident in his team’s chances to succeed this weekend in Iowa City.”We’re one of about three or four teams that … has a chance to win, and it’s a matter of who competes best on their day.”A few of the athletes expected to excel on Saturday are Ben Roland and Nate Brown in the heptathlon, Alonzo Moore in the triple jump, Chris Solinsky in the 3,000 meters, and Demi Omole in the 60 meters. Nuttycombe will be looking to these athletes to guide his entire team.”We are one of a group of teams that has a chance to run for the championship and I think that the athletes reflect that,” Nuttycombe said. The women’s team will try to use their home advantage to upset the two favorites, Michigan and Illinois.”We’re excited about hosting the Big Ten Championships this weekend,” said UW women’s coach Jim Stintzi. “The Big Ten meet in track and field is a little different than other sports in that it all comes down to one day, so the Big Ten champion is crowned on that day.”Like Nuttycombe, Stintzi is optimistic that his athletes will find success at the conference meet.”We’re excited, and I think we’re moving in the right direction with our program,” Stintzi said. “The Big Ten has improved dramatically since last year. I looked at the [Big Ten performance] list today, and I think almost every [event] is substantially better than it was last year.”The Badgers will try to increase their standing from last year, when they placed eighth as an overall squad at the 2005 Big Ten Championships.”So while we’re better as a team, so is the rest of the Big Ten,” Stintzi said. “We’re hoping for an improvement on last year’s finish at the Big Ten.”Wisconsin will be led by pole vaulters Blair Luethmers and Jenny Soceka, who are currently ranked in the top five in that event. Distance runners Katrina Rundhaug and Maggie Grabow will also be in contention to place this weekend in the 5,000 meters.Stintzi believes his pole vaulters, which also include breakout freshman Amy Dahlin, are the strong point of the track team and will have the responsibility of earning some important points for the Badgers.”I think this year, to have both Blair and Jenny, as well as Dahlin, kind of pushing each other each week, has helped them to maybe vault more consistently and also jump higher at certain times. So hopefully that will help us in the Big Ten championship [meet].”Both Nuttycombe and Stintzi will be hoping to bring back a Big Ten Indoor Conference Championship and head into the outdoor season on a roll.last_img

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