May 1, 2014
MADISON, Wis. – Championship season is two weeks away, but the Badgers will face a stiff test this weekend.
A quartet of distance runners will head to Palo Alto, Calif. for Sunday’s Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, annually regarded as the premier distance event of the spring. The meet, hosted by Stanford, will feature a combination of elite collegiate athletes and top professional runners.
The No. 18-ranked Wisconsin men’s track and field team will send Alex Hatz, Austin Mudd, Alex Brill and Mohammed Ahmed to Palo Alto, while the rest of the team will head to Columbia, Mo. for Saturday’s Tom Botts Invitational Dual with Missouri.
At Stanford’s Cobb Track and Angell Field, Hatz and Mudd will compete in the 1500 meters. Hatz, who will be running his second 1500 of the season, won his section of the race at last year’s Cardinal Invite in a personal best 3 minutes, 39.87 seconds. The mark, which ranks 10th in UW history, led the Big Ten at the time and ranked third nationally.
Mudd also participated in last year’s 1500, but did not finish his run due to a lingering illness. The junior has experience running against elite competition, finishing fourth in the event in 3:50.84 to claim All-America honors at the 2013 NCAA outdoor meet. Mudd’s personal record in the 1500 is 3:40.87, which he set at the Cardinal Invite two years ago.
In the 3000 steeplechase, Brill will toe the line for Wisconsin. The senior will partake in the event for the first time this year and currently holds the seventh-fastest time in school history (8:37.62). Brill, who did not compete indoors this season, won the Big Ten steeplechase title a year ago, while also finishing 14th at the NCAA meet and 15th at the USA championships.
To conclude the meet on the men’s side, Ahmed will race in the fast section of the 5000 meters. The senior will make his season debut in an individual event after helping his team win the 4x1500 relay at the Walt Disney World Open in March. Earlier this year, Ahmed won the indoor conference title in the event in 13:44.32 and placed 14th at the NCAA championships.
The 2012 Olympian, who ranks fourth all-time at Wisconsin in the 5000 (13:34.23), redshirted the 2013 outdoor campaign, but won the 2012 Big Ten crown in the event and earned All-America honors by finishing seventh at the national meet (13:50.32).
On Saturday, the rest of the UW squad will participate in a dual with Missouri at the Tom Botts Invitational. Field events are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (CT) with the hammer throw, while action on the track starts at 2 p.m. with the 3000 steeplechase.
Notable UW competitors include Danny Block, Scott Erickson, Andrew Bartsch, Brad Bernarde, Andrew Brekke and Alex Thompson in the throws; Japheth Cato, Zach Ziemek, Charlie Foss, Jesse Johnson, Collin Taylor and Ben Schreib in the jumps; Babatunde Awosika, Ryan Davis, Brandon Kappel, Aaron Thompson, Michael Christianson, Will Ottow, Garret Payne, Justin Rabon, Drew Simmons, James Stecker and Tyler Woloszyk in the sprints; and Matt Widule, Zach Reitzug and Shawn Michels in the hurdles.