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Cato leads charge as Badgers open indoor season

<b>Senior Japheth Cato won the 60 hurdles and the long jump with marks that lead the Big Ten entering the day.</b>

Senior Japheth Cato won the 60 hurdles and the long jump with marks that lead the Big Ten entering the day.

Jan. 12, 2013

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MADISON, Wis. -- Japheth Cato is always a busy man on the track. Saturday was no exception.
The senior All-American competed in four events as the No. 12-ranked Wisconsin men’s track and field team opened the 2013 indoor season by hosting the annual Badger Track Classic inside Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center (The Shell).

While team scores were not kept, the Badgers competed against DePaul, Marquette, Milwaukee and UW-Oshkosh.
Cato started the season off strong by winning the 60 hurdles, the long jump and helping the Badgers win the 4x400 relay.
The senior ran the 60 hurdles in 7.97 seconds, matching his mark from the preliminary round earlier in the day. It marked the fourth and fifth times he has run under 8 seconds in the hurdles.
Cato also won the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches, a mark that -- just like his effort in the 60 hurdles -- leads the Big Ten based on marks entering the day.
In addition, Cato cleared 6 feet, 7 1/2 inches to place fifth in the high jump.
The All-American was still not done for the day. He ran the third leg of the Badgers’ 4x400 relay entry, which included senior Grant Baughman, junior Tim Hucke and sophomore Aaron Thompson. The group won the event in 3 minutes, 17.46 seconds.
Cato recognized the importance of early meets as an opportunity for the team to shake off some rust and fine-tune its skills.
“It is important for everybody because the things we do, it’s a build-up over time,” he said, referring to putting in work in several of the events that comprise the heptathlon, his specialty. “No one has done a 400, hurdles or long jump in basically about seven months, so it is really important in these meets to come out and do the little things right.”
As a multi-event athlete, Cato must be sharp in a variety of events. Badgers head coach Ed Nuttycombe used the 4x400 relay to help get him better prepared for the 1000 meters, which serves as the final event in the heptathlon.
“Coach Nuttycombe said that it actually would help make every individual 400 within the 1000 seem that much slower,” he said.
The 1000 was Cato’s weak spot in his runner-up effort in the heptathlon at last year’s NCAA championships, when he posted a Big Ten-record total of 6,082 points.
“Last year, that is how I lost at NCAAs, not being able to run a fast enough 1000 meters,” Cato said. “This year, I don’t even want that to be a factor. I Just want to make sure I go in there, run what I know I can run, and let my speed do the talking for me.”
An additional highlight from the meet was junior Michael Lihrman. The transfer from UW-Stout competed unattached in the weight throw and launched a toss of 68 feet, 6 inches on his first attempt to win the event. The mark would have surpassed the UW school record if he had competed in a Badgers uniform.
Also for the Badgers on Saturday:
• The sophomore duo of Garret Payne and Aaron Thompson swept the top two spots in the 200 meters. Payne won in 22.40, with Thompson taking second in 22.45.
• Juniors Tyler Woloszyk and Drew Simmons ran 1-2 in the 400 meters. Woloszyk, competing unattached, won in 49.20, with Simmons taking second in 49.33.
• Redshirt freshman Will Ottow, competing unattached, ran a personal-best 1:21.34 to finish second in the 600 meters.
The Badgers return to competition next weekend by hosting the annual Wisconsin Elite Invitational at The Shell on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19.

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