Badgers head to Gatorade Classic

first_imgThis weekend, the Wisconsin men’s track and field team will be heading to the University of Tennessee campus to compete in the Gatorade Classic.This will be the Badgers’ fifth outdoor event of the season as they begin preparation for the Big Ten and National championships. UW currently ranks 11th in the nation with Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp ranked second and fifth, respectively, in the 5,000-meter event, Demi Omole ranked fourth in the 100-meter event, Alonzo Moore ranked fourth in the triple jump, and Simon Bairu and Tim Nelson ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in the 10,000 meter event.As Wisconsin heads to Knoxville, Tenn. it will be seeking to improve upon its ranking as a top-3 team during the indoor season, as well as pick up as many NCAA qualifying marks as possible.At the 33rd Gatorade Classic, the Badgers will be facing Big Ten foes the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Penn State Nittany Lions as well as hosting the Tennessee Volunteers and their SEC counterparts, the South Carolina Gamecocks and Kentucky Wildcats.The meet will be run just like any other outdoor track and field meet, except for the fact that it will only be scored by conference as the three Big Ten teams will compete together versus the three SEC opponents.For the Badgers, they will simply be looking for some strong competition at the meet to improve their outdoor skills and hope to finish with their best possible marks. Many athletes are still adjusting to the outdoors after the indoor season and are trying to fine-tune their skills or even dust off some nagging injuries.Sprinter Demi Omole has been recuperating from a hamstring injury that has dated back to early February, which caused him to pull up at the Big Ten indoor championships and affected his performance at the national championships.This weekend, Omole will be looking to get back into shape and reclaim his position as one of the premier sprinters in the nation facing some legitimate competition with Tennessee coming out of the indoor nationals tied for 16th, South Carolina placing 19th, and Minnesota finishing 34th.Jumper Rick Bellford, too, is trying to recover from a hamstring injury that he suffered at the indoor nationals. This weekend’s event will be an ample opportunity for him to get back in shape and begin training for outdoor nationals.“[This weekend’s meet] should be pretty decent,” Bellford said. “This will be my first time jumping since nationals so I just want to get a good starting mark. I pulled my hammy at nationals, and I’m just getting back in shape now so I think if I just get a good starting mark and stay healthy — that’s just the main goal for this weekend.”The main goal of the outdoor season for the Badgers’ track and field team, however, is maintaining their triple-crown status. In six of the past nine seasons, head coach Ed Nuttycombe has guided his UW squad to both indoor and outdoor conference championships, with his cross country team obtaining the title in the spring.This season, once again, the Badgers head into the Big Ten outdoor championships in position to take the triple crown. Wisconsin has created somewhat of a tradition of winning triple crowns and will seek to keep that reputation in the 2005 outdoor season as it is very meaningful to the team members.“[The triple crown is] everything,” Rick Bellford said. “We’ve done it every year except my sophomore year so that’s the goal and just want to take that step to the national level now.”last_img

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