Dec. 1, 2005
The top-ranked Wisconsin men's cross country team clinched its first NCAA team title since 1988, on Monday, Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. The Badgers won their fourth NCAA team title with 37 points, breaking a three-year streak of second-place finishes. Also bringing home his second-consecutive individual national title was Badger senior Simon Bairu.
Wisconsin's title marked the 12th national championship for Big Ten men's cross country, four of which belong to the Badgers. Michigan State leads all conference teams with five team titles, while Indiana has the remaining three.
Individually, Bairu became just the second Big Ten runner to claim two national titles and the first to ever repeat. Indiana's Bob Kennedy claimed a pair of first-place finishes in 1988 and 1992.
Bairu's teammate, Chris Solinsky, finished third at the NCAA meet, followed closely by the Badgers' Matt Withrow, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, in ninth.
Bairu and head coach Jerry Schumacher also were recognized by the U.S. Track Coaches Association with National Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year honors.
Ohio State (406 points) finished 11th, followed by Iowa (495) and Minnesota (514) in 19th and 20th, respectively, and Indiana (617) in 29th.
On the women's side, three Big Ten squads finished in the top 10 for the first time since 1994. Illinois (212) finished fifth, while Michigan (250) was sixth and Minnesota (361) was ninth. Wisconsin (469) placed 20th and Michigan State (671) was 30th.
Cassie Hunt, the 2005 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, placed a conference-best 11th. Three other runners finished in the top 30 in Minnesota's Ladia Albertson-Junka (21st), Michigan's Rebecca Walter (27th) and Minnesota's Emily Brown (29th).
A total of eight male and two female student-athletes earned All-America status for placing the top 25.
Ten conference squads finished the 2005 campaign ranked in their respective polls. National champion Wisconsin finished ranked first in the Men's MONDO Top 30 Poll, followed by No. 12 Ohio State, No. 18 Iowa, No. 23 Minnesota and No. 29 Indiana. On the women's side, Michigan placed third in the FinishLynx Top 30 Poll, while Minnesota (12th), Illinois (14th), Wisconsin (22nd) and Michigan State (30th) round out the conference contingent.