Jan. 17, 2009


Courtesy of Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. -- A pair of University of Wisconsin freshmen started their careers on the right note Friday, sweeping the top two spots in the women’s pentathlon, the opening event of this weekend’s Badger Track Classic at the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center.


Freshman Dorcas Akinniyi (Carrollton, Texas) claimed the top mark in all three field events to win the five-event competition with a score of 3,676 points, just 24 markers off the NCAA championships provisional qualifying mark. Fellow freshman Jessica Flax (Pearland, Texas) was just behind with 3,492 points to earn a runner-up finish.


UW senior Carly Ducharme, competing unattached, took third with a total of 3,425 and junior Kayla McClendon was fourth with a score of 3,306 to complete a sweep of the top four spots by Badgers athletes.


Flax, who ranked second nationally in the outdoor heptathlon as a prep last year, got off to a strong start with a run of 8.95 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. That time was good for 920 points, while Akinniyi posted 875 of her own by running a 9.17.


Akinniyi took over the lead following the day’s second event, as she cleared 5 feet, 5 3/4 inches in the high jump to rack up 818 points. Flax was second in the high jump with a clearance of 5-1, while McClendon jumped 4-11 3/4 and Ducharme cleared 4-10 1/2.


The lead grew for Akinniyi in the shot put, as she posted the top mark of 36 feet, 4 1/4 inches. McClendon’s heave of 35-3 was next best, followed closely by Flax at 35-2 1/2 and Ducharme with an effort of 33-10 3/4.


Continuing her dominant effort in the field events, Akinniyi posted the top mark in the long jump, as well, with a leap of 17 feet, 9 inches. McClendon jumped 17-6, while Ducharme went 17-0 3/4 and Flax posted a mark of 16-7 3/4.


Ducharme wrapped up the competition with a solid effort in the 800 meters, scoring 848 points with a run of 2 minutes, 18.20 seconds. Flax (2:26.39) and Akinniyi (2:28.75) crossed next, followed by McClendon in 2:41.15.


The Badger Track Classic continues Saturday, with field events beginning at 10 a.m. and running events slated to begin at 11 a.m. Admission to the meet is free, and fans unable to make it out to The Shell can follow the meet via a live results feed at UWBadgers.com.