November 21, 2011. Terre Haute, Indiana.
Nothing says team work like cross country team championships. The NCAA Division 1 Men's race was a case in point. The Wisconsin Badgers were ranked number one all year, but the Oklahoma State team, the defending champions, wanted to challenge, and try as they might, the Badgers used that bulls-eye on their backs and ran brilliantly, scoring a mere 97 points!
The Wisconsin Badgers, winning their first title since 2005, showed their competition how it should be done, at Terre Haute, Indiana on November 21, 2011. Lead by Mohammed Ahmed's fifth place finish, the Badgers scored 97 points to surprise the Oklahoma State team, who were the defending champions.
The Badger cross country team, coached by Mick Byrne, had run well all season, with a great opening at the 2011 Bill Dellinger Invitational (photo shown above).
Mohammed Ahmed finished fifth in 29:06. Elliott Krause (second Badger), was seventeenth in 29:41, Ryan Collins in 23rd in 29:52, Reed Conner in 36th , Maverick Darling in 46th. Sixth man for the Badgers was Drew Shields (112th) and Michael Brice (240th).
The times and splits show one part of the race. The other part is not so apparent. Mick Bryne is in his 24th year as a coach, having taken teams to the NCAA champs three other times. In his fourth year as Badger cross country head coach, Mick has lead his team to the super bowl of NCAA cross country: the team championships.
Cross country titles are won on the day, but months of training go into the championships. It is on that day, standing up to the tension, keeping one's head and heart going during the race and telling oneself to get that next runner, all the way to the finish. It is in the details, those last three hundred meters, that could mean the difference between winning and losing.
In the articles, the team spoke about their year long mantra: win the cross country champs. Mick Byrne noted that, as the favorites, they did have the proverbial bulls eye on their backsides, and they delivered.
Former Badgers from Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp showed their support on twitter and on the course.
Congrats to Coach Mick Byrnes and his Badger team on their fine victory!
For complete results on NCAA Division 1 as well as links to Division 2, and 3 cross country, please click below: