Wisconsin Set to Defend Big Ten Men's Cross Country Championship Sunday
Oct. 26, 2005
Second-ranked Wisconsin is looking for its seventh consecutive Big Ten Championship this Sunday, Oct. 30, when all league schools converge on the Les Bolstad Golf Course at the University of Minnesota.
The 8,000-meter race will take place at 11:30 a.m., following the Women's Big Ten Championship at 10:45.
The Badgers, who were runner-up at the 2004 NCAA Championships, finished 1-2-3 at Big Tens last year and placed all seven runners in the top 21. Wisconsin's total of 23 points was the fourth-lowest winning score in Big Ten history and its 58-point margin of victory over Indiana was the largest ever in conference history, bettering the previous mark of 55, set by the Badgers in 1910.
Iowa, which finished third last year, enters the race ranked 11th in the MONDO National Top 30 Poll, followed by No. 17 Michigan, which placed fifth in Iowa City last season. The 2004 Big Ten runner-up Indiana Hoosiers enter the weekend ranked 22nd, followed by No. 23 Minnesota and No. 26 Ohio State. Michigan State is currently receiving votes.
Wisconsin senior Simon Bairu is the two-time defending Big Ten champion and the reigning NCAA title holder. Bairu's Big Ten winning time of 23:45 at Iowa last year was 13 seconds faster than his first-place mark from the previous year. Wisconsin has claimed six individual titles in the past seven years and 24 overall to go along with 38 total team titles. The Badgers' total exceeds the next three teams combined - Michigan State (14), Indiana (13) and Michigan (9).
Badger mentor Jerry Schumacher earned his fourth consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year award in 2004, which marks his fifth honor in six seasons. A sixth title for Schumacher would tie the conference record with former Wisconsin coach Martin Smith (1989-91-92-94-95-96).
This year's event marks the seventh occasion Minnesota has hosted the Men's Big Ten Championship. The Golden Gophers first hosted in 1926, when Wisconsin bested Ohio State for the league title. In fact, of the six previous championships held at Minnesota, Wisconsin has claimed first-place four times (1926-81-90-95), while Northwestern won the 1965 event and Michigan State tasted victory in 1971.