2003 Men's Championship Recap
Nov. 2, 2003
The Wisconsin Badgers men's cross country team continued it dominance over the Big Ten winning their fifth consecutive Conference title Sunday in East Lansing. Sophomore Simon Bairu paced the Wisconsin squad as he won the individual championship with a time of 23:58.8. Bairu took the race lead at about the 5k mark and never looked back, beating the next competitor by over 20 seconds. Freshman Chris Solinsky made a solid Big Ten debut for the Badgers crossing the line third overall. Junior Tim Keller (5th) also earned a top finish for coach Jerry Schumacher's squad. Sophomore Bobby Lockhart (14th) and Junior Josh Spiker (17th) completed the Badger scoring.
Wisconsin's team score of 40 was 15 points higher than in 2002, and Michigan did close the margin of victory to just 17 points compared to 54 last year (the second largest margin of victory ever in the Big Ten). Their fifth consecutive title means this team has the third longest winning streak in Big Ten history. The Badgers would have to win three more Championships to tie the all-time record of eight straight titles with the 1985-92 Badgers.
2002 individual champion and cross-country Athlete of the Year, Wisconsin junior Matt Tegenkamp, did not compete on Sunday for the Badgers.
After being edged out at last year's championships, Michigan raced to a second place team finish in 2003. Junior Nate Brannen was the lead Wolverine runner in 24:19.2, which earned him second place. Senior Tome Greenless and sophomore Nick Willis also appeared in the top-10 with 7th and 8th placed finishes, respectively.
The Indiana Hoosiers improved one place from the 2002 championships. Senior Chad Andrews really stepped up for his squad, leading the team with a ninth place finish. Andrews ran the course in 24:31.0, just one second ahead of teammate, and fellow senior, Chris Powers who finished 10th. Last year's fourth place finisher, Sean Jefferson, finished 21st on Sunday.
Ohio State could not repeat its second place success of a year ago as the Badgers dropped two places to fourth. Rob Myers was the leading Buckeye scorer placing sixth with a time of 24:24.9. Junior Dan Glaz finished 12th for Ohio State.
Iowa improved upon its 2002 showing by two placed in this year's team competition with a tremendous team race. After placing 36th at last year's championships, Tony Rakaric improved 25 spots to finish 11th, just one second ahead of Ohio State's Glaz. Junior Brian Rae also showed great improvement, leaping from 53rd in 2002 to 13th on Sunday. Sophomore Matt Esche came in 27th with a time of 25:02.2
Boilermaker head coach, Mike Poehlein, coached his final Big Ten meet on Sunday. Phoelein is retiring from the Purdue program after this season after serving 31 years at the Boilermaker helm. Both the Purdue men's and women's teams placed 10th in the overall team standings.
Seven runners comprise the All-Big Ten first team including, Simon Bairu, Nate Brannen, Chris Solinsky, Dan Mazzocco from Penn State, Tim Keller, Rob Myers, and Tom Greenless.
The conditions were wet and chilly at the Forest Akers Golf Course East in East Lansing on Sunday. The temperature hovered around 55 degrees during the morning with periods of light and heavy rain. The rain did stop in time for both the men's and women's races.