Ahmed claims Big Ten title in 10K

Ahmed_Big_Ten_Champ_Blog.jpg

Talk about an opening statement.

Freshman Mohammed Ahmed, in his first race of the outdoor season, laid claim to the Big Ten Conference championship in the men's 10,000 meters Friday night in Bloomington, Ind., leading the way as the Wisconsin men's track and field team grabbed three of the top five places at the conference meet.

Ahmed ran away with his first Big Ten title -- and the Badgers' first in the 10,000 meters since Tim Nelson claimed the top spot in 2005 -- with a time of 29:03.71. The performance represents a new Canadian junior record in the event for the St. Catharines, Ontario, native.

The Badgers' showing, which also included an impressive fourth-place showing for redshirt freshman Elliot Krause (29:12.53) and a fifth-place finish for junior Landon Peacock (29:15.63), has Wisconsin staked to second place in the team standings after the opening day of the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Minnesota, which also scored in the pole vault and hammer throw, holds the team lead at 34 points. The Badgers tallied 19 points in the 10K to stand second, with Ohio State's 15 points good for third place after three events.

The Badgers' strategy of pushing the pace early and trading the lead among their four runners paid dividends. Ahmed, Krause, Peacock and redshirt freshman Maverick Darling swapped the lead throughout the early going and were running well as a group until Darling made contact with the rail and was forced to retire midway through the race.

Ahmed took over in the late stages of the race and built a sizable gap on the field over the final five laps. He closed the race with a split of 4:25 for the final mile, including a 62-second final lap.

The victory served as a bit of redemption for Ahmed, who fell while running at the front during the late stages of the 5,000 meters at the Big Ten indoor championships.

Since then, Ahmed's only racing came at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in March, when he scored a 27th-place finish.

His Canadian junior record comes on the heels of the overall Canadian national record of 27:23.63 set by former Wisconsin star Simon Bairu on May 1.
ON WISCONSIN