No. 5 Badgers to compete at Tyson Invitational


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Feb. 13, 2014

Meet Results  |  @BadgerTrack

MADISON, Wis. -- After capturing an impressive team title at the competitive Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York a week ago, the No. 5-ranked Wisconsin men's track and field team will once again hit the road this weekend for a pair of meets in Iowa and Arkansas.

On Friday, the Badgers will send seniors Mohammed Ahmed and Reed Connor to Ames, Iowa for the Iowa State Classic, while the rest of the squad will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational.

Ahmed and Connor will compete in the 5000 meters at 6:25 p.m. (CT) Friday against a notable field of competitors. The race will feature 11 All-Americans, including Oklahoma State's four-time All-American Shadrack Kipchirchir, who holds the top seed of 13 minutes, 38.57 seconds entering the race. The field consists of 14 athletes who have broken the 14-minute barrier in their careers.

Tyson Invitational
 Date Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15
 Location  Fayetteville, Ark.Randal Tyson Track Center
 Meet Schedule  Final Schedule 
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 Live Results  |  @Badger_Track
 Participating Ranked Teams
No. 1 Arkansas, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Florida State, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 11 Alabama, No. 13 Texas, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 18 LSU and No. 23 Illinois

The Wisconsin duo made their season debut last week, as Ahmed won the 3000 meters and Connor finished ninth in the mile while also helping his team win the distance medley relay. Both athletes are running the 5000 meters for the first time in 2014, but each athlete has plenty of experience in the event.

Ahmed finished fifth at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-America honors, while also earning a runner-up finish at the Big Ten championships a few weeks earlier. Connor did not compete indoors last year, but placed second in the 5000 meters at the conference outdoor meet and was a sixth-place All-American in the 5000 meters at the NCAA outdoor championships.

While Ahmed and Connor will compete in Iowa, the rest of the team will travel to Arkansas for the Tyson Invitational, a meet that features 18 teams, including 10 ranked in the top 25 of the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. No. 1 Arkansas, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Florida State, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 11 Alabama, No. 13 Texas, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 18 LSU and No. 23 Illinois will all be represented at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

The meet begins Friday at noon with the women's collegiate mile and pole vault. Action resumes Saturday at noon with the women's shot put and action on the track starts at 1 p.m. with the women's 200 meters.

The Badgers will be making their first trip to Fayetteville since the NCAA indoor championships last March, where All-Americans Maverick Darling and Mohammed Ahmed placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 5000 meters, while Austin Mudd used a school-record performance of 3:57.93 to finish third in the mile and capture All-America honors.

Danny Block will compete in the shot put at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the same venue where he earned All-America status by finishing third in the event with a school-record throw of 65 feet, 7 1/2 inches.

Also competing in the throws will be Michael Lihrman, who is scheduled for the weight throw Friday at 6 p.m. Lihrman has dominated the event this season, competing twice and breaking his own school record each time, claiming two Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors in the process. Last week, the junior unleashed a massive heave of 75-3 3/4, a mark that ranks second among all collegiate athletes this season.

In the multi-events, senior Japheth Cato and junior Zach Ziemek will compete in events they will see in the heptathlon later this season. Cato will and Ziemek compete in the 60 hurdles and long jump on Friday, and the pole vault on Saturday. The last time All-Americans Cato and Ziemek competed in Fayetteville, the duo finished second and fifth, respectively, in the heptathlon at the NCAA indoor championships.

Cato was the runner-up for the second year in a row despite posting a personal-best and school-record total of 6,165 points, when he lost by the slimmest of margins - 10 points - to Arkansas' Kevin Lazas, who finished with 6,175. Lazas will also be competing this weekend.

Ziemek placed fifth, but the highlight came in the pole vault, where the junior posted a massive lifetime best and matched the collegiate record in the heptathlon vault by clearing 17-8 1/2, emerging as just the fifth American to clear that height in the heptathlon. The mark smashed the Badgers' overall school record in the pole vault and ranks as the best mark ever by a UW athlete, indoors or outdoors.

Wisconsin last competed at the Tyson Invite in 2012, where Alex Hatz set the school record in the mile, before Austin Mudd broke it, by crossing the finish line in 3:58.68 to become the fourth Badger to break the 4-minute barrier indoors.

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