Sat, May 24: Old rival stops Deuringer again

Sat, May 24: Old rival stops Deuringer again

   CHAMPAIGN  For Stephanie Dueringer, this was as close to a home track advantage as a visiting runner could have.

   The Michigan State senior was back in her hometown Friday. Back in front of family and friends. Back to hear the cheers.

   "I love being here," assured Dueringer.

   And then Wisconsin''s Angie Kujak spoiled the whole thing. And not for the first time.

   "She always seems to beat me at Big Tens," Dueringer lamented after the Badger ran away with a win in the women''s 10,000 meters on the first day of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

   Dueringer entered with the top regular season time in the event. And Kujak hadn''t even run the race this spring.

   But that didn''t prevent the Badger junior from continuing her iron grip on this race. Kujak''s victory in the Big Ten 10,000 was her third in a row.

   In the last two of those, Dueringer was the runner-up.

   "I''m just really disappointed," the Centennial High School graduate said.

   Dueringer remained near the lead throughout the race, for much of it running in second place. With about six laps to go, Kujak picked up the pace. Dueringer stayed with her, and briefly bided her time.

   "I decided I''d go with three laps to go," Dueringer said. "I felt pretty relaxed and pretty much tried to keep a hard, even pace and tried to drop her."

   But Dueringer never could shake Kujak, who grabbed the lead with about 300 meters to go and never let go.

   "It was just a burst of speed, and I was already giving what I had to give," Dueringer said.

   Kujak finished in 35 minutes, 3.90 seconds, Dueringer in 35:08.71.

   Dueringer returns to the track Sunday in the 5,000 for the final Big Ten race of her career. The Spartan couldn''t be happier that the setting is in Champaign.

   "It''s a lot more motivating to get out there knowing that so many people are behind you and watching you and wanting you to do well," she said. "I really love that feeling."

Gophers lose vaulter.

   Minnesota pole vaulter Tye Harvey suffered a season-ending broken wrist when the team''s bus was hit by a car Friday in Chicago.

   Harvey, who won the pole vault at the Big Ten indoor meet in February, remained behind in Chicago and is expected to need surgery. No other Gophers were seriously hurt.

   "Losing him definitely is a blow to the team''s (title) chances," Minnesota coach Phil Lundin said.

   Harvey already had automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. He was second in the NCAA Indoor Championships this year.

Hoosier hurt.

   Defending Big Ten shot put champion Nathan Davis of Indiana has dropped the sport after doctors this spring discovered his groin injury was more serious than first thought.

   Davis, a defensive end in football for the Hoosiers, initially suffered the injury last fall. He was drafted this spring in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons.

   Davis competed in the shot briefly this spring and had the No. 2 throw in the conference entering this weekend''s meet.

Badger leads.

   With four events to go, Gregory Gill of Wisconsin leads the men''s decathlon with 4,036 points. During Friday''s action, Gill finished first in the shot put and long jump.

   Teammate James Dunkleberger entered with the top decathlon performance of the regular season, but he''s being withheld this weekend to ensure being well-rested for the NCAA Championships in June.

   Dunkleberger, however, won''t be idle this weekend.

   "We''re hoping  and only time will tell  that perhaps he could score close to the same number of points in the pole vault and the javelin as he could in the decathlon," Badgers coach Ed Nuttycombe said.

   Tania Longe of Michigan leads the women''s heptathlon with three events left.

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