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Dr. J. on Running

BIG EAST Indoors

Championship Returns to Syracuse

Published February 14, 2000 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

The BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championship returns to the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University for the twenty-first year next Saturday and Sunday, February 19-20. Connecticut captured the first men's crown in 1980, while Villanova won the first women's title in 1983. Georgetown has won the most men's championships with nine, winning five of the last six years. Villanova has captured 10 women's titles, including the first six from 1983-1988.

At the 1999 Championship, Georgetown dominated the men's field, scoring 166.5 points. Runner-up Notre Dame finished with 101 points and Connecticut took third with 80 points. It was the ninth championship title for head coach Frank Gagliano's Hoyas, and the fifth in the past six years. Georgetown was honored as the Coaching Staff of the Year.

On the women's side, the Pittsburgh Panthers won their second team championship exactly ten years after earning their first. Pittsburgh tallied 119 points, followed by runner-up Miami with 110.5 and Notre Dame with 100. Coaching Staff of the Year honors went to Pittsburgh's Steve Lewis.

This year's competition starts on Saturday at 8:30am with the pentathlon, followed by trial heats at 60, 200, 400, 500, 800 and 1,000 meters, as well as the mile. Sunday's finals begin at 11am with the 1,000 meters, climaxing around 3pm with the 4x800-meter relays. The distance events will hold only finals, with the 5,000 meters contested at 5pm on Saturday afternoon and the 3,000 meters at 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

In the weeks leading to the championship, Notre Dame's Chris Cochran established himself as the favorite to win the 60-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter sprints with season bests of 6.78, 21.26 and 47.41 seconds. Connecticut's Elliott Blount is the favorite in the 500 meters with a season best of 1:02.75.

Among the women, Seton Hall's Nolle Graham leads the Conference in the 60 meters with a time of 7.43, while teammate Erica Broomfield is favored in the 200 and 500 meters with season bests of 23.83 seconds and 1:11.52. Georgetown's Nickay Penando leads in the 400 meters with a season best time of 54.59 seconds.

The men's middle distances promise exciting competition. In the 800 meters, Notre Dame's Phil Mishka ran 1:48.57 to Seton Hall's Ned Brooks' 1:48.62. In the 1,000 meters, Connecticut's Kevin Jensen and Karl Smith are less than a second ahead of Providence's Chris Livesey, all three runners under 2:26. In the mile run, Notre Dame's Luke Watson and Adam Daniels join Jensen and Livesey as top seeds, with times around 4:07.

In the women's competition, Pittsburgh's Chantee Earl is the favorite in both the 800 and the 1,000 meters with season-best times of 2:06.62 and 2:47.83. Virginia's Carmen Douma leads the mile in 4:41.92, with teammates Carrie Tollefson, Kriston Nicolini and Ann McGranahan scoring top 5 performances. Tollefson and McGranahan are also the favorite in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters with season best times of 9:22.64 and 16:44.05.

The leaders for the men's distance events are Boston College's Justin Burdon in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:07.72, and Georgetown's Corey Smith in the 5,000 in 14:03.69.

Track and field fans who cannot travel to Syracuse can watch the entire championship live on the web in streaming video Tandem Multimedia Simulcast (TMS) technology through a joint venture between the BIG EAST and TrackMeets.com. In another world first, TrackMeets.com will webcast two simultaneous live TMS productions, the first stream showing every lap of every race on the track, with the second stream showing the jumps and the throws on the infield.

As the rubberized track on the floor of the Carrier Dome shows evidence of extensive wear and tear, its ability to host large indoor meets such as the BIG EAST championship is called into question. Further, the anemic attendance and the high costs of the facility, and the coincidental relocation of the outdoor championships from their perennial home in Villanova to Rutgers, raise concerns about the future of the indoor championships in Syracuse.

Kamal Jabbour looks forward to some exciting competition under the teflon top. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains TrackMeets.com, the world leader in live track webcasting, and receives email at jabbour@syr.edu.


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