The Wisconsin men's cross country team continued its Big Ten domination, winning its sixth straight cross country championship in Iowa City Sunday. The Badgers scored only 23 points, defeating second-place Indiana by a record 81 points.
Wisconsin placed runners in the top three to easily win the meet. Junior Simon Bairu, the 2003 champion, returned for a second trip, winning the 8,000-meter race in 23:45. He is the first runner to win back-to-back championships since Wisconsin runner Matt Downin won in 1998-99. Sophomore Chris Solinsky placed second in 23:55 and senior Matt Tegenkamp finished behind him in 23:57.
"I think the guys really performed well today. They did a great job," said UW coach Jerry Schumacher. "You can never anticipate going 1-2-3 like that; that was really neat the way that worked out. We just went in to have our best performance, to have our best race today. I thought they did a great job."
Minnesota senior Andrew Carlson pushed the pace at the 3,000-meter mark but Solinsky, Bairu and Tegenkamp stayed with him. Eventually, Bairu pushed ahead with approximately 2,000 meters left. Carlson finished in 24 minutes even for fourth place. Senior Josh Spiker placed sixth in 24:18. Wisconsin's four top finishers all earned first-team all-Big Ten honors.
"When I made a move, I wanted to be aggressive and I wasn't going to look back," said Bairu. "I just wanted to run the best I could. I knew if I ran well, the team was going to do well and I think that's what the other guys were thinking too."
"I just felt really, really flat this race," said Tegenkamp, the 2002 individual champion. "I was never able to get into a rhythm on this course. When Simon made his final move to go after it, I had to step off. There was no way I was going to be able to run with him today. Once that happened, I still had Chris right next to me which was awesome because if he wasn't next to me I would have just dropped back and run with Carlson and try to outrun him at the finish."
Junior Bobby Lockhart placed 11th in 24:34 while sophomore Tim Nelson finished at 24:36, for 13th place. Both made the second-team All-Big Ten list.
"We find ourselves running in groups – it happens more naturally than by design," said Schumacher of his team's running. "I want the guys to be able to run their own race but I think we find ourselves running with each other in packs just because it happens naturally in the race. I think that's going to be an asset to us down the road."
Junior Ben Gregory finished 21st in 24:52, senior Tim Keller, who had a leg cramp, finished 37th in 25:12 and sophomore Teddy O'Reilly placed 56th in 25:41.
Women's team finishes eighth
The Wisconsin women's cross country team finished eighth of 11 teams in the Big Ten Tournament Sunday in Iowa City with 178 points while Michigan won its third straight conference title. Junior ‘A Havahla Haynes was Wisconsin's top finisher on the 6,000-meter course finishing 13th in a personal-best 21:40. She made the second-team all-Big Ten list for her finish. Sophomore Katrina Rundhaug placed 17th in 21:57.
Other finishers include junior Heidi Lane (21st in 22:18), freshman Emily Post (59th in 22:59), sophomore Amanda Ganser (63rd in 23:07), sophomore Megan Thomas (68th in 23:18), sophomore Sarah Konkel (84th in 24:09) and freshman Ann Detmer (92nd in 24:55).
Danette Doetzel, a high school teammate of Bairu's, won the women's race, finishing in 20:33.
Six in a row!
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