May 25, 1998
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State track and field teams hosted the final day of the Big Ten Championships in Ohio Stadium today. Minnesota captured the men’s team title, tallying 134.5 points, while Ohio State’s men’s team finished in seventh place (57).
“A great performance in one event and a disappointment in the next,” said Minnesota head coach Phil Lundin. “It’s an emotional roller coaster and I’m just drained. You’ve got to keep in mind that Minnesota has always been considered kind of a back-waters in track and field due to the weather, which is real, but we’ve always been strong. We’ve been able to put something together because of the support of the administration and their belief that we can be competitive in the Big Ten.”
The women of Michigan won the team championship with 129.5 points and OSU’s women’s squad finished in fourth (99).
“Our goal was to go into the meet and let things take care of themselves,” said Michigan coach James Harvey. “There wasn’t one thing that stood out. The thing that seemed obvious was that in every single event our team knew this was a war game.” Ohio State ended a 74 year tradition of track and field in Ohio Stadium by seizing the conference titles in both the women’s and men’s 4 x 400 relay teams in the last two events of the championships. The men’s team of Sekou Smith (Sr., Chicago, Ill.), Winston Tidwell (Sr., Topeka, Kan.), Reggie Germany (Fr., Hazelwood, Mo.) and Andrew Pierce (Fr., Yellow Springs, Ohio) clocked 3:06.48 in a come-from-behind win. The women’s team of Abieda Benjamin (Jr., Brooklyn, N.Y.), Cathy Rejouis (Jr., Calgary, Can.), Ayanna Reece (Jr., Bronx, N.Y.) and Shanda McJunkins (Sr., Cleveland Heights, Ohio) ended with a time of 3:36.70. Iowa’s football and track standout Bashir Yamini (Jr., Dolton, Ill.) captured the title in the 200-meters and finished second in the long jump. Illinois’ Bobby True (Jr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) defended his title in the 800-meters clocking 1:48.30. Wolverine distance specialist Kevin Sullivan (Sr., Brantford, Ont.) captured his 12th Big Ten championship in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:47.69. Purdue’s Mike Turner (Jr., Inglewood, Calif.) and Ike Olekeibe (So., Las Vegas, Nev.) took the gold and silver spots in the triple jump. Illinois’ Benita Kelley (Sr., Greenville, S.C.) dominated the sprints department of the women’s championship winning both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Badger Angi Kujak (Sr., LaCrosse, Wis.) captured her seventh Big Ten ring after her win in the 5,000 (16:33.30). Wisconsin’s Jenni Westphal (Jr., Marinette, Wis.) won the 1,500-meters (4:22.17) and recorded her third conference title.
The Buckeyes’ one-two punch of Dominque Calloway (So., Aurora, Colo.) and Donica Merriman (Fr., Trotwood, Ohio) finished first and second in the 100 hurdles with times of 13.17 and 13.32 respectively. Smith and McJunkins capped off fine collegiate careers with Big Ten wins in the 400 hurdles (50.11) and the 400-meters (52.40) respectively. Tamieka Porter (Sr., Escondido, Calif.) finished in second place in the triple jump with a jump of 41’10-3/4″.