Wisconsin Women's Indoor Track
In the mid-1980s, the University of Wisconsin under six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year Peter Tegen, had a firm grasp on the Big Ten Track and Field Championships. The Badgers won four-straight conference crowns from 1984-87 by scoring over 100 points at each championship meet.
Wisconsin athletes hold indoor championship records that have held up over 20 or more years, the oldest standing records in the Big Ten. In 1985, Cathy Branta set the conference standard in the 1,500-meter event with a quick time of 4:19.21. The three-time indoor All-American set the NCAA Championship Meet Record a year earlier in the 3,000 meters and was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree as well as a Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient in 1985. Also in 1985, fellow distance runner Katie Ishmael broke the conference record in the 5,000-meter event with a time of 15:50.10 that still holds up today.
Stephanie Herbst, a UW and Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Year in 1986, ran her way to seven conference titles, three national crowns and was also named a six-time All-American and four-time All-Big Ten member during her decorated career. Her 10,000-meter time of 32:32.75 set a then-NCAA record and her pace still stands as the Big Ten all-time best. Herbst still holds the Big Ten Championship marks for the indoor 3,000 meters (9:08.42) as well, and was also a two-time Academic All-American.
The 1987 season marked the freshman campaign of Suzy Favor, a three-time recipient of the conference's Athlete of the Year honor, which was subsequently named after the Badger star. In her rookie indoor season, she won Big Ten titles in the 1,000 yards and as the leadoff in the 4x880-yards to kick off what would go on to be one of the most successful athletic careers in conference history.
The Badger cross country and track and field teams have been a dominant force throughout the 25 years of Big Ten Championships, but none were more powerful than those of the mid-1980s.