After a weather delay, Nelson and Bairu ran a tight race, with Nelson pulling ahead at the very end to win by .23 seconds. Nelson finished in 30:22.31 while Bairu, the 2004 Big Ten champion in the event, ran a 30:22.54. Ford checked in at 30:34.12.
"We found out who was better over 200 meters, I guess," Nelson said with a laugh. "We were kind of talking a little bit during the last four laps, just trying to make sure people were adequately behind us. Then with the last 400 (meters to go), I was still kind of a little bit giddy to get going. The last 200 (Simon's) like ‘Okay, let's go' and we just started sprinting."
The only other men's final Friday was the hammer throw, where UW's only entrant, sophomore Mike Sracic, finished 13th with a toss of 169 feet, three inches.
The Badgers are poised to reap quite a number of points in the decathlon: with five events in the books junior Nathan Brown is in first place overall with 3,862 points. Classmate Ben Roland is in second place (3,746) and sophomore Peter Dykstra is in seventh (3,427).
In decathlon events Friday: Brown finished third in the 100 meters (11.22 seconds, personal best), second in the long jump (22-5), first in the shot put (49-5, personal best), third in the high jump (6-4) and fifth in the 400 (51.64).
Roland and Dykstra tied for first place in the high jump (6-5). Roland also placed second in the 400 (50.59) and third in the long jump (22-2 1/2).
"We had a good first day," men's head coach Ed Nuttycombe said. "The decathletes are competing well and put themselves in a good position to finish well.
"In the 10,000, you never know what to expect but I think with all three guys running as a unit, that was as good a job and as well as we might have expected. I'm certainly very pleased for Tim Nelson for winning his first Big Ten championship."
Rundhaug also won her first Big Ten title Friday, covering the 10,000 meters in 35:26.85. Seniors Michelle Lilienthal and Linsey Blaisdell added 11 points to UW's tally, finishing third and fourth in the event in times of 35:53.22 and 35:54.89, respectively.
"When I first came to Wisconsin, I really didn't think I would ever win a Big Ten championship," said Rundhaug, who placed 10th in the 10,000 meters last season running for the University of Minnesota. "Coming into the meet today, and knowing how much I've improved throughout the season, I knew it was possible. I wanted to win this race more than anything else."
Wisconsin also picked up three points in the pole vault as sophomore Julia Heinrich finished sixth at 12-1 ½. Though she achieved the same 11-9 ¾ height as the pair of athletes who tied for seventh, UW senior Andrea Lopez finished tenth in the pole vault because it took her more jumps to achieve the height.
UW did not score in the third women's final Friday: the hammer. Senior Courtney Bauer placed 11th and freshman Kayla Schultz finished 16th in that event.
Through the first four events of the heptathlon, UW junior Melissa Talbot, the defending champion in the event, is in first place with 3,285 points. Minnesota freshman Liz Roehrig is close behind at 3,255.
Talbot won the heptathlon 100 in 13.93 seconds and the 200 in 24.19. She finished eighth in the high jump (5-3 ¾) and ninth in the shot put (35-1 ¼).
"I really think that we're heading in the right direction," women's head coach Jim Stintzi said. "We thought we were going to get 12 (points) and we get 21 (points) in the 10,000 meters so that's obviously a bonus. We also got some bonus points in the vault. Melissa Talbot had a great first day and unless something bad happens, she should defend her title.
"We just have to stay on track. It's going to be really tight between fifth and seventh, eighth and ninth (in the team race), and we just have to score what we can score."