Minnesota survived a hard charge from Indiana to win another Big Ten title on an eventful final day. Here are 5 Big Things Stood out on day 4.
1. Backbreaking DQ – Remember Friday’s 400 medley relay that would have given Indiana 28 points? It came back to bite the Hoosiers. Minnesota won the championship by 27.5 points. Yes, 27.5. It does not get much more backbreaking than that. Indiana essentially need a Gopher disqualification in the 400 medley relay to win, but that did not happen. Indiana took third in the relay and second in conference, while Minnesota finished fourth on the relay and conference champions.
2. Back to Back to Back To Back – Make it four for the Golden Gophers, whose seniors will graduate without knowing what it’s like to not be hoisting hardware at the end of the Big Ten championship meet, which is a solid way to go out. Looking ahead to the future, Minnesota only graduates a handful of scorers, but will be hurt by Kierra Smith’s olympic year redshirt. Much of the scoring will fall on Brooke Zeiger, and the Gophers will have an uphill battle to make it five.
3. Ivy Martin It’s no secret than Martin is good, but her three individual Big Ten championships, including several Big Ten records, are still impressive in a tough conference like the Big Ten. Second, Martin had a part on four of the Badgers’ championship relays in an effort that saw them win 4 of 5 total. That’s a perfect 7-7 for the Wisconsin senior, who put the Badgers on her back all weekend, leading Wisconsin to a fourth place team finish.
4. Speaking of Wisconsin – Four of five relays is pretty legit. If the Badgers can add more depth, they can make a run at the team title down the road, Although losing Martin and Aja Van Hout to graduation will hurt, the Badgers are still in a good position looking forward, as Chase Kinney and Annie Tamblyn will step into the sprint roles for Wisconsin. The Badgers were the most impressive team at the meet this season, and this could be something that’s said sooner than later.
5. Snodgrass runs the Big Ten backstrokes – Indiana’s sensational Brooklyn Snodgrass continued her domination of the Big Ten Backstroke events for the third straight year. The junior won the 100 backstroke on Friday, and followed up with a 1:50.60 performance in the 200 on Saturday night. Snodgrass still sits at fourth in the country, however, behind the likes of Elizabeth Pelton, Missy Franklin, and Courtney Bartholomew, but is starting to look like she could defend her title in the event next month in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Updated 2/24/15 to reflect Kierra Smith’s redshirt.