Mon, May 26: Badgers'' Butler did it

Mon, May 26: Badgers'' Butler did it

   CHAMPAIGN  Fine job, Illinois.

   That''s the word from the Wisconsin women, who thoroughly enjoyed their weekend stay in Champaign-Urbana as track and field guests of the UI.

   "It was very well-organized, very smooth," Badgers distance dynamo Kathy Butler said.

   Just one itty-bitty complaint.

   "The track''s a little hard for distance runners, but Illinois'' a sprinters'' school, so that''s the way it goes," Butler said.

   For a tough track, Wisconsin''s distance runners had an easy time, winning all four long-distance races for a third straight Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

   Butler won three of them, giving the Canadian Olympian 17 Big Ten titles for her career, as the Badgers repeated as outdoor conference champs with 121 points. Michigan had 111.

One Fynes day.

   Take it from Benita Kelley: It''s easier to spell Sevatheda Fynes'' first name than it is to beat her in a race.

   Kelley tried twice Sunday and came up short twice. The Illinois junior placed second in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes to Fynes, whom Michigan State imported from the Bahamas.

   "Benita was clearly racing against one of the best sprinters in the country," UI coach Gary Winckler said. "What Sevatheda ran here in the 100 is one of the top times in the world this year."

   Fynes was clocked at 11.09 seconds in a 100 that was not wind-aided. That''s a meet record, breaking Illini Aspen Burkett''s ''96 effort (11.36) as well as the best time ever posted at the University of Illinois Track.

   If Fynes didn''t pass Burkett, Kelley would have. She finished in 11.30, the best she''s ever run without the wind.

   "I did exactly what I wanted to do, which was PR legally," Kelley said.

   Illinois, eighth as a team, got unexpected points from freshmen Lyria Martin (fifth in the 200) and Lindsay Speer (eighth in the 1,500).


Stars out.

   Illinois invited many of its former greats back to campus to serve as award presenters at this weekend''s special Big Ten occasion.

   The women who showed up included Centennial great Cindy Lawrence, Kim Dunlop-Springfield, Kelly O''Brien-Kolasa and Tonya Williams.

   Men''s alums on hand: Lee Bridges, Steve Bridges, Joe Corley, Mike Durkin, Bannon Hayes, Marcus Jarboe, Doug Laz, Mike Lehmann, Cirilo McSween, Willard Thompson and Craig Virgin.

Finish line.

   Stephanie Dueringer''s Big Ten career ended Sunday  but not how she hoped it would.

   The Centennial grad and Michigan State senior took third to Wisconsin''s Butler and Angie Kujak in the 5,000. She said she would have finished a spot better if the Wisconsin women hadn''t played games with her.

   With a lap to go, Dueringer said Butler, the faster Badger, blocked the rest of the field from moving up while Kujak gained ground.

   "There''s certain things we do so we can finish 1-2, yeah," Butler said.

Ticket count.

   Paid attendance for the three-day meet was 2,233.