By Bill Bell
BLOOMINGTON, IN, Feb. 16. BIDDING for its first Big 10 women's title since joining the conference nearly a decade ago, Penn State's Lady Nittany Lions hold a slim 413-403 lead over defending champ Michigan after the second day of competition.
Bolstered by a record-breaking performance in the 100 breaststroke from superstar freshman Kristen Woodring, Penn State opened the evening's proceedings at the new multi-megabuck Indiana pool by racing to a Big 10-record 1:40.31 in the 200 medley relay. Woodring scorched the Hoosier waters with her 27.39 breaststroke split.
The old Big 10 meet record was 1:40.76 by Northwestern from last season. However, the league record is 1:40.02, also by Northwestern last year.
A few moments later Woodring set her initial individual conference record in the 100 yard breaststroke with a blazing 59.77 swim — fourth-performer, fifth-performance all-time. The old Big 10 standard had been a 59.87 by Northwestern's Amy Balcerzak from last season.
Interestingly, Woodring still ranks No. 2 nationally behind Stanford freshman Tara Kirk's Pac-10 record 59.51 from last weekend's dual meet with Cal at Berkeley.
When these two go head-to-head at NCAAs on Long Island in less than a month the American-NCAA record of 59.05 by Georgia's Kristy Kowal from the 1998 NCAAs is almost sure to bite the dust.
In the 400 IM Wisconsin freshman Emily Pisula pulled off a bit of an upset, edging Minnesota's top-qualifier, Katy Christoferson, 4:15.20-4:15.37. The latter had the day's top time in the prelims (4:15.12).
The 100 fly saw Penn State rookie Corrie Clark, a perennial YMCA national titlest from the Upper Main Line program, win in a pr 54.42. Michigan senior Jen Crisman was runner-up (54.84) and teammate Anne Weilbacher took the show spot (54.87).
Wisconsin's Ellen Stonebraker raced to an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:47.10 en route to a 200 free win with Michigan's Samantha Arsenault runner-up (1:47.62, pr). Penn State's Katie Anderson was third (1:47.92).
A freshman Olympian who won a gold at Sydney as part of America's 800 free relay squad, Arsenault was third opening night in the 50 free (pr 22.87) and leads the country in the 500 free (4:42.91 from the Longhorn Invitational in Austin the first weekend of December).
Crisman moved up a notch to defend her 2000 title in the 100 back (pr 53.99) with Indiana's Susan Woessner next (54.31 after a career-best 54.27 in the prelims) and Purdue's Lisa Dolansky also recording another pr for third (54.87).
Wisconsin set a Big 10 meet record with its 7:16.18 800 free win to conclude the night's proceedings — shy of the NCAA auto cut of 7:14.18 but well within the consideration time.
Team Point Scores At the End of Day Two:
1 Pennsylvania State University 413
2 University of Michigan 403
3 Indiana University 315
4 University of Wisconsin 273
5 University of Minnesota 270
6 Northwestern University 243
7 Purdue University 194
8 University of Illinois 160
9 University of Iowa 154
10 Michigan State University 140
11 Ohio State University 92