Bairu, Piper Badger Athletes of the Year

National champion Simon Bairu and gold medalist Carly Piper honored as UW's best

Simon Bairu, a senior-to-be on the men's cross country and track teams, and swimmer Carly Piper have been named the University of Wisconsin's Athletes of the Year, the university announced Monday.

Bairu won the Big Ten cross country title last fall and a few weeks later won the individual NCAA cross country championship while leading Wisconsin to a second-place team finish. Bairu, the first Badger to win an individual national title in cross country since 1985, was named the Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Competing in the 10,000 meters this spring, Bairu placed second at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and eighth at the prestigious Cardinal Invitational in California, where he finished in a new school record of 28 minutes, 4.75 seconds. Bairu, of Regina, Saskatchewan, won the Canadian Cross Country Championship in 2003 and 2004.

Carly Piper

Piper, an Olympic gold medalist, was named the 2004-05 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year after winning conference titles in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle, each for the fourth consecutive year.

Piper, who exhausted her eligibility in 2005, ended her career with 11 All-American awards.

Bairu and Piper were named's 2005 male and female UW athletes of the year last month.

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