Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Injuries don’t stop Talbot

For fifth-year senior Melissa Talbot, deciding on one sport was just too difficult — that's why track and field was the perfect choice.

"I like to do a lot of things to keep myself interested," Talbot said. "Sometimes if you're just a runner, it's easy to get bored with that. But doing the heptathlon and pentathlon … that gives me the chance to work hard at several different aspects of the sport."

Talbot is no stranger to being good at multiple areas on the track.


As a senior at Freedom (Wis.) High School, Talbot won a state title in four different events. She won three times in the 300 low hurdles and repeated in the 100 high hurdles, to go along with titles in the 200 meters and the long jump.

Such a résumé garnered Talbot, the 2002 Wisconsin State Track Athlete of the Year, recruitment from several schools across the country. However, none of them was Wisconsin.

"I knew I wanted to come here for school," Talbot said. "So I applied, and after I got accepted I called up the coach and told him I was going to school and was interested in being on the team."

After that conversation, Talbot was told she would be a recruited walk-on, meaning she didn't get fully recruited, but the staff knew who she was on the first day of tryouts.

"That was the case for a lot of freshmen my first year," Talbot said. "A lot of us were either walk-ons or recruited walk-ons."

Her freshman year on campus, Talbot finished fourth at the Big Ten indoor meet in the 400 hurdles with a time of 59:31. Then Talbot switched things up her sophomore year and changed her focus to the pentathlon for the indoor season and the heptathlon for outdoors.

That season was when Talbot put her name among the elite of Big Ten women's track, becoming the Big Ten champion in both the pentathlon and heptathlon.

"Sophomore year was a great step in my career," Talbot said. "But I think I might have overdone it a bit, since I had to sit out that next indoor season."

Talbot was forced to redshirt what would have been her junior indoor season with a hamstring injury. Then, just a year later, she would sit out the outdoor season to recover from a shoulder surgery.

"Pentathlon and heptathlon is too hard to do every weekend," Talbot said. "You just can't physically do it. But on my off weekends I'll still compete. Sometimes it will be hurdles, other times a relay — whatever they need for the team to finish better. I'll jump in and do what I can."

Now in her final season, Talbot is hoping to make the best of what she has left. She started off on the right foot by finishing third in the pentathlon at the NCAA indoor meet last month to earn her first All American award.

"It was pretty much a huge surprise for me," Talbot said of her third-place finish. "I've always thought of the outdoor being my strong suit. Usually after the high jump I'm sitting near the bottom, but after the high jump at the NCAAs I was sitting pretty good. It was just my day."

Talbot believes her strong indoor performance will carry over into the outdoor season. Before having to redshirt last year during the outdoor, Talbot was the two-time defending Big Ten champion in the heptathlon. After finishing 19th in the event at the 2005 NCAA outdoor meet, Talbot knows this is her last chance to shine.

"You just have to bring it and give it your all," she said. "Hopefully that will be in a couple of months and I can finish my career off on a high note."

Track and field spring break

This weekend, the UW men's and women's track and field teams are starting off their spring break just like many other students — they are heading for warmer weather.

Both teams are sending athletes to compete in two different invitationals. Some will compete in the two-day Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., while others are heading south to compete Saturday in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta, Ga.

"For some guys this will be their first meet of the outdoor season," men's head coach Ed Nuttycombe said. "It's an opportunity for us to get our outdoor season started. It's also an opportunity for some of them to take a step towards improvement."

Many members of the team will spend their spring break either in the south or west to help them both physically as well as mentally make the change from the indoor season to the outdoor.

"It's nice to have back-to-back meets in the south," Nuttycombe said. "It will give us the chance to move outside and to get comfortable with the outdoor setting."

Also, both meets will feature some big-time competition, as teams from the Pac-10, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and ACC will be competing. Yet still early in the outdoor season, the Badgers know it is too early to tell how they will fare come postseason.

"We're not expecting any tremendous races," Nuttycombe said. "Obviously we'll take any huge marks we get, but this is more of a time to convert from indoor to outdoor for both teams."

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