Feb. 4, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- A big weekend for Wisconsin has resulted in a sweep of the Big Ten’s weekly conference awards by a pair of Badgers.
Junior Japheth Cato was recognized as the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week, while sophomore Austin Mudd was tabbed as the league’s Track Athlete of the Week as the conference announced its weekly honors Monday.
Cato defended his meet title in the heptathlon at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., last Friday and Saturday by racking up a score of 6,024 points to hold off teammate Zach Ziemek (5,598).
Cato's tally fell just short of his own Big Ten record of 6,082 points but ranks as the second-best mark in league history.
The performance also made him just the third collegian to top the 6,000-point plateau more than once -- joining former Oregon national champion and 2012 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton and former Texas star Donovan Kilmartin.
Cato's Big Ten-leading mark ranks in a tie for fourth in the world this season and, on the NCAA list, trails only the score of 6,042 recorded by Arkansas' Kevin Lazas.
An All-American as the heptathlon runner-up at last year's NCAA indoor championships, Cato has now topped 5,900 points four times in his career and owns each of the top four marks in Big Ten history.
His performance at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational saw him post the field’s best mark in five of the seven disciplines contested. He set the fastest heptathlon 60 meters (7.01) and heptathlon 60 hurdles (7.94) times in school history along the way.
Mudd, meanwhile, raced to a win in the prestigious Meyo Mile at Saturday's Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind., by breaking the four-minute barrier and recording a Big Ten-leading time of 3:59.33.
The mark, which also ranks No. 8 nationally this season, is the third-fastest in UW history and makes Mudd the fifth Badger to break four minutes in the indoor mile.
In addition, Mudd contributed the 800-meter leg to the Badgers' winning effort of 9:49.45 in the distance medley relay. That performance has UW ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten and 14th nationally this season.