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B1G Swimming and Track & Field Championships: one down, one to go

Swimming & Diving found out what life is like in the Big Ten. This coming weekend the Track & Field teams find out.

Swimming & Diving: Big Ten Championships Results

Minnesota won the Big Ten Women's Swimming & Diving Championship, outdistancing second place Indiana by 27.5 points, 618.5 - 591.  Rutgers came in 11th in the 13 team field with 112 points.  Maryland is the only Big Ten school to not field a swimming and diving team for men or women.

Going into the competition last weekend, the Big Ten boasted six squads in the top 25 of the CSCAA Coaches Poll, including No. 13 Indiana, No. 15 Michigan, No. 16 Purdue, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 21 Wisconsin and No. 23 Ohio State.

Rutgers recorded a total of four program records in as many days at the meet. Contributing to three of the four records, senior Greta Leberfinger was named Second-Team All-Big Ten following her performance in the meet. Leberfinger also earned the Sportsmanship Award for Rutgers. 

The record book was rewritten by the relay quartet of Leberfinger and juniors Joanna Wu, Morgan Pfaff and Sarah Coyne The group posted a program-best time of 1:40.05 in the 200 medley relay for an 11th-place finish.  They went on to break the record for the 400 medley relay, posting a sixth-place result of 3:37.64 and registering the first top-10 finish of the championship for RU.

Leberfinger re-established her own record in 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:11.38, finishing ninth in the field en route to All-Big Ten Second Team accolades. The senior had set the record last season with the mark of 2:13.06.

On the boards, freshman Addison Walkowiak added a record of her own, registering a program-high championship score of 305.25 in the 1-meter dive for a 12th-place finish. Walkowiak also posted a 12th-place mark of 296.30 in the 3-meter dive.

Rutgers did not record a top-three finish in any event.  The best performances were sixth place finishes by the 400m Relay squad and Joanna Wu in the 100m back.

RU swimmers will have one more meet to post NCAA qualifying scores on Sunday, Mar. 1 at Princeton.  The divers return to action at the Zone Diving Championships from Mar. 9 to Mar. 11 in Buffalo, N.Y. for a chance to compete at the 2015 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

2015 Big Ten Individual Honors
Swimmer of the Championships: Ivy Martin, Wisconsin
Diver of the Championships: Yu Zhou, Minnesota
Freshman of the Year: Kennedy Goss, Indiana

Men's Track & Field

Last year at this time, Rutgers Men's Track team was prepping for its first and only appearance in the American Athletic Conference winter championships.  The team would finish in fifth place in the eight team field.  They finished ahead of Cincinnati, South Florida, and Temple.  Temple eliminated its track program later that spring.

The team now prepares for its first effort in the Big Ten.  This weekend they head to Geneva, Ohio and the SPIRE Institute for the Big Ten Indoor Championships.  The Knights are coming off good finishes at the Princeton Invitational last weekend and the Valentine Invitational the week before.

But having good finishes may not be enough in the Big Ten.  The latest rankings from the coaches poll has three B1G squads in the top 25, starting with No. 9 Penn State, followed by Wisconsin (15), and Nebraska (22).   Illinois hasd been at No. 23 the week prior but dropped out of the poll. The Rutgers men are not ranked.

The Rutgers men's indoor track and field team picked up 11 IC4A qualifying marks at the Valentine's Invitational hosted by Boston University. In the 60m, Rajee Dunbar placed seventh overall in a time of 6.96 and also ran to a season-best 21.75 in the 200m. Dunbar was one of four Scarlet Knights earing IC4A qualifying times in the 200m. Emeka Eze inished in 21.92, just .1 second off a personal best, while Stuart Tweedie ran to a time of 22.06 and D'Andre Jordan clocked in at 22.13.  In the field events, Joseph Velez threw for a personal best 19.81m (65' 0") in the weight throw. His distance, currently sixth in the Big Ten, surpasses his previous best of 18.78m from the Penn State Invitational in mid-January.

At the Princeton meet, Tyrell Judson took home the triple jump title reaching a distance of 13.98m (45' 10 ½").   Zachary Ghizzone placed third in both the 60m hurdles and long jump.  Ghizzone won the preliminaries of the 60m hurdles in a time of 8.47 and placed third in the finals in an IC4A qualifying time of 8.49. In the long jump, he went the distance of 6.52m (21' 4 ¾") for third place.

Rutgers also had fourth place finishes in two other field events. Michael Stafford cleared the bar at 1.96m (6'5") in the high jump, while Nicholas Patterson reached a height of 4.50m (14'9") in the Pole Vault.

Men’s Track Athlete of the Week

Brannon Kidder, Penn State, Jr. – Lancaster, Ohio

· Collected two first-place finishes in the 600-meter dash (1:16.98) and the 4x400 relay (3:20.15) at the Penn State Tune Up

· Time in the 600-meter dash ranks No. 2 in the nation

Men’s Field Athlete of the Week

Michael Lihrman, Wisconsin, Sr. – Rice Lake, Wis.

· Finished first in the weight throw with a distance of 24.91 meters at the Red & White Open

· Mark in the weight throw currently ranks No. 1 in the nation

Women's Track & Field

The women also head to the Big Ten Championships this weekend facing the same type of test that the men do.  Last year in their one time competition in the AAC, the women finished in sixth place in a ten-team field.

Not as notable as the men, Wisconsin is the only women's team in the coaches national Top 25, coming in at No. 11.  Rutgers comes in at No. 74.

The Rutgers women's indoor track and field team also competed at the Valentine meet hosted by Boston University..  It picked up six ECAC qualifying times, led by senior Gabrielle Farquharson setting a new school record in the 200m.

Farquharson placed first out of 230 competitors in the 200m as she reset the school benchmark with a time of 23.62. It was the second time this season Farquharson has set a new Rutgers record in the 200m.

Bria Saunders also picked up an ECAC qualifying time in the 200m clocking in a time of 24.67.  The Scarlet Knights also had a pair of ECAC qualifiers in the 1000m. Felicia O'Donnell placed 13th in a time of 2:55.19 and with Celine Mazzi not far behind in 18th in 2:55.94.

Nicole Nicholas also picked up an ECAC qualifying mark in the 500m. Making her first appearance of the season in the event, Nicholas finished 11th with a time of 1:14.89.

Rounding out the track events, RU's 4x400m relay team ran its best time of the indoor season. RU's Alayna Famble, Nicolas, Saunders and Farquharson posted an ECAC time of 3:44.33 in taking second.

Women’s Track Athlete of the Week

Cindy Ofili, Michigan, Jr. – Ypsilanti, Mich.

· Finished first in the 60-meter hurdles at the Silverston Invitational

· Time of 8.10 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles currently ranks No. 4 in the country

Women's Field Athlete of the Week

Stephanie Richartz, Illinois, Sr. – Island Lake, Ill.

· Tallied first-place honors in the pole vault at the Orange & Blue Open

· Mark of 4.38 meters in the pole vault currently ranks No. 3 in the nation