Men's track places third; best finish in 34 years

Team has ‘exceeded' expectations with third-place finish at NCAA indoors

The Wisconsin men's track team posted its highest finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships since 1971 with a third-place showing Saturday. Led by sophomore Chris Solinsky, who won the 3,000 meters, the Badgers picked up 43 points (a school record at a national indoor or outdoor meet) at the indoor championships, held in Fayetteville, Ark. Host Arkansas won with 56 points and Florida took second with 46. Wisconsin earned 11 All-America honors, tying an indoor season record set last year.

"Wow!" UW coach Ed Nuttycombe said of his team's finish. "Our most optimistic goal was to somehow manage to be in the top four. If everything went well, that was possible. As is turns out, (to finish in) third place … I'm just very excited and pleased for the team."

Solinsky won the 3,000 meters in 7 minutes, 53.59 seconds and senior Matt Tegenkamp took third in 7:55.72. Solinsky's title is the first national individual indoor title by a Badger since 1996 and the first overall national champion in track since 1997. Solinsky and Tegenkamp contributed 16 of the team's 27 points Saturday.

"With 100 meters to go, I just had this surge of energy," Solinsky said. "I don't think I've ever closed that fast in my entire life. I felt like I was just floating. It felt great!"

Junior Alonzo Moore came up big, finishing third in the triple jump with a personal best of 53 feet, 9 ¾ inches, while Indiana junior Aarik Wilson won with a jump of 55-6 ¼. Moore is now second on UW's indoor list. In that same event, senior Rick Bellford placed ninth with his first jump of 51-11. He suffered a leg injury on his second jump and did not take the rest of his jumps.

Sophomore Demi Omole also added a fourth-place finish in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.67 seconds. Oklahoma junior DaBryan Blanton won in 6.58 seconds.

Junior Ben Roland took 12th in the heptathlon with 4,945 points, while sophomore Joe Thomas took 14th in the shot put with a best throw of 56-11 ½, well off his personal best mark of 62-0 ¼.

"This team has met and exceeded all of our expectations this season," Nuttycombe said. "We're looking forward to the outdoor season and carrying this momentum on."

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