The Minnesota Golden Gophers took a narrow lead ahead of a tight pack of teams after the second day of competition of the 2010 Big Ten Championships in Lafeyette, Louisiana.
Minnesota’s first-place total of 204.5 is just ahead of Michigan at 195.5. They are followed by defending champ Indiana with 191, hosts Purdue with 182, Wisconsin (150.5), Penn State (144), Ohio State (139.5), Northwestern (101), Iowa (63), Michigan State (50), and Illinois (27).
Wisconsin, despite their fifth place standing, started off the day’s finals by winning the first relay of the meet, the 200 free relay. The combination of Becca Thompson, Margaret Meyer, Kelsey Gergin, and Ruby Martin, who finished in 1:28.97, which is just shy of an NCAA ‘A’ cut. The Michigan women were second, and Minnesota was third.
Minnesota, who was in second after a short day-1 schedule, wasted no time taking the lead, as they jumped ahead of the field thanks to a 1-3 finish by Ashley Steenvorden (4:39.47) and Hannah Whitehead (4:42.76) in the 500 free. Minnesota added a win in the 1-meter diving, thanks to Kelci Bryant, who threw up a massive 348.20 to break the pool and Big Ten Championship records. Bryant’s score topped the next-closest competitor, Bianca Alvarez of Ohio State, by more than 20 points.
In the 200 IM, Michigan’s Margaret Kelly ran away from her competitors with a 1:56.01 to claim her sixth career Big Ten title. The time also crushed the Big Ten Championship record of 1:56.80, which Kelly previously set at the 2008 meet, and was an ‘A’ time, guaranteeing her a spot at the NCAA championship meet.
Becca Thompson claimed her, and Wisconsin’s, second crown of the meet when she won the individual 50 free in 22.23. Thompson, who is the Big Ten record holder in the event, led the race virtually from start to finish. Ariel Martin of Purdue finished second in 22.50, and Natasha Moodie of Michigan finished third in 22.53. Not surprisingly, given their victory in the relay, Wisconsin was the only team to have multiple A-finalist, as Margaret Meyer finished fourth in 22.58.
The biggest race to look out for tomorrow is the 100 backstroke, which will see Wisconsin’s Margaret Meyer go head-to-head with Indiana’s Kateryna Fesenko. Both women have NCAA ‘A’ times this season, and were ranked first and third in the country coming into the weekend.
See Big Ten Championship Central for Full Day 2 Results, live video, and updates.