The Badgers enjoyed their share of success in 2013-14 and now UWBadgers.com is honoring the best student-athletes, teams and performances of the year. Over the next few weeks, we’ll unveil the best of the Badgers in five categories: Big Ten Medal of Honor (June 16), Athletes of the Year (June 17-21), Team Achievements of the Year (June 22-27), Games of the Year (June 28-July 5) and Freshmen of the Year (July 13-18).
Today we feature men’s track and field’s Big Ten title sweep as a Team Achievement of the Year nominee.
• 2013-14 Year in Review
June 26, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin men’s track and field team made many fans do a double-take at the Big Ten championships this year, as the Badgers captured both the indoor and outdoor conference crowns thanks to remarkable finishes in the 5000 meters.
At the Big Ten indoor meet, the Badgers’ title hopes looked bleak as UW trailed Nebraska 21 points with four events to go. A win in the weight throw by Michael Lihrman and a runner-up finish by Collin Taylor in the high jump put Wisconsin in striking distance, but the Badgers needed a great finish in the 5000 meters to overtake the Cornhuskers.
The trio of Mohammed Ahmed, Reed Connor and Malachy Schrobilgen delivered, finishing 1-2-3 to secure 24 team points and to help the Badgers win their second-straight indoor title and first under Wisconsin director of track and field and cross country Mick Byrne.
At the outdoor conference championships, Wisconsin led after the first and second days, in part due to a podium sweep in the 10,000 meters and Zach Ziemek’s win in the decathlon. But on the final day of the competition, the Badgers trailed both Illinois and Nebraska with three events remaining.
Ahmed, Connor, Schrobilgen and Michael Van Voorhis toed the line for Wisconsin in the 5000 meters, the second-to-last event on the track, looking for points to propel UW back into the lead.
Ahmed, a 2012 Olympian, led almost the entire race, but Connor, Schrobilgen and Van Voorhis were in the middle of the pack with a lap to go.
Connor and Schrobilgen used a fantastic kick to catch up with Ahmed and the trio, led by Ahmed, finished 1-2-3 while Van Voorhis placed eighth to give Wisconsin a whopping 25 team points and clinch the Badgers’ second outdoor conference title in three years.
Combined with their indoor crown, the win marked the 12th time in program history the Badgers swept both Big Ten track titles in the same season, and the first time since 2007. The Badgers have won 19 Big Ten track titles since 2000, including four of the past five since claiming the outdoor crown in Madison in 2012.