BLOOMINGTON, Ind.–For the eighth year in a row, the No. 10 Wisconsin men’s cross country team won the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship 10-kilometer race, earning a spot at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. The UW has now won 25 Great Lakes Regional titles and has tied its own record for consecutive titles. The Badgers also won eight straight titles from 1981-88.
Wisconsin won the race with 62 team points. Michigan State also claimed a bid for the NCAAs, finishing in second place with 128 team points. Ohio State came in third place with 144 points and Indiana State came in fourth place with 151 team points.
2008 All-American Landon Peacock crossed the finish line first for the Badgers, finishing in second overall with a time of 31:08.26. At last year’s Great Lakers Regional, Peacock was also the first Wisconsin runner to finish the race, finishing fourth overall with a time of 31:33.3.
“Landon is definitely back in true form,” said Wisconsin two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year Mick Byrne. “He looked really good out there today. It was a tough course but Landon and Mohammed Ahmed ran together for most of the race and it turned out well.”
Ahmed, a true freshman, crossed the finish line next for the Badgers, completing the race in a time of 31:08.75 to take third place overall. Ahmed has now finished both of his first two races as a Badger among the top five runners and was once again the first true freshman to cross the line.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year and redshirt freshman Maverick Darling was the next to score for the UW, finishing in 15th place in a time of 31:27.09. Coming off a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championship, Darling has now finished among the top 15 runners in every race he has competed in 2009.
“Maverick started cramping at about seven or eight kilometers,” Byrne said of Darling’s race. “But he stayed in his head and did not let it get the best of him. That’s really good because he stayed focused and ended up passing a bunch of guys in the last few kilometers of the race.”
Senior Ryan Gasper and junior Jack Bolas rounded out the scoring for the Badgers. Gasper finished in 18th place overall in a time of 31:30.90, a 24-place improvement from his performance at Regionals in 2008 and Bolas finished in 24th place in a time of 31:43.81.
True freshman Reed Connor finished in 34th place in a time of 32:01.48 and senior Craig Miller finished in 73rd place in a time of 32:57.67. Miller was battling sickness for a good portion of the race.
“We got what we wanted out of the race and in the end it was fun,” Byrne said. “We can’t look too much into how we did today, Nationals is a whole other thing in itself.”
The Badgers will next set their sights on the NCAA podium in Terre Haute, Ind. on Monday, Nov. 23. The 10k race is set to start at 11 a.m. (central).