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Badgers earn season-opening victory with ease

2013 Badger Opener
Zimmer Championship Course • Madison, Wis.
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• Distance: 6 Kilometers
 Team Results
1. Wisconsin 25
2. Loyola (Ill.) 38
3. Marquette 62
4. DePaul 119
5. Green Bay 129
 Individual Results
1. Jake Erschen Wisconsin 18:18
2. Jacob Naylor Wisconsin 18:18
3. Neal Berman Wisconsin 18:18
4. Malachy Schrobilgen Wisconsin 18:18
5. Sam Penzenstadler Loyola (Ill.) 18:22
15. Matt McKenna Wisconsin 19:14
27. Amir Alwan Wisconsin 20:31
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Results  |  Results Get     Acrobat  Reader

MADISON, Wis.-- The No. 7-ranked Wisconsin men's cross country team opened its 2013 season with a victory in the 6-kilometer Badger Opener at Zimmer Championship course on Friday.

The Badgers finished with a team score of 25 points, grabbing the top four spots. Junior Jacob Erschen, freshman Malachy Schrobilgen and seniors Jacob Naylor and Neal Berman crossed the finish line together with an identical time of 18 minutes and 18 seconds.

Head coach Mick Byrne was happy with the way his guys ran a controlled race to open the cross-country season, despite some challenging conditions.

“Conditions were tough out there, 86 or 87 degrees with high humidity,” Byrne said. “It was nice to see the four guys up front just running together, helping each other out and enjoying the race. It was a very controlled effort out front by four guys enjoying the experience.”

Byrne was especially pleased with Berman’s performance, noting that the senior was coming off a strong offseason.

“Berman looked pretty good,” Byrne said. “He was very bouncy and anxious after coming off a fantastic summer of training and his job was just to keep everybody together.”

Junior Matt McKenna rounded out Wisconsin’s top five, finishing 15th overall with a time of 19:14. Freshman Amir Alwan, in his Badger debut, was 48th in 20:31.

Freshman Carl Hirsch, running unattached for the Badgers in his first collegiate race, was the sixth athlete to cross the finish line, finishing in 18:24.

“He is a freshman and he gave it a shot, that is fun,” Byrne said. “He did a good job for a freshman, so we will see what it all means down the road in a few weeks.”

Freshmen Cullin Burdett and Nate Sullivan also ran unattached for the Badgers, completing the race in 19:30 and 19:47, respectively.

Loyola (Ill.) finished runner-up, scoring 38 points behind five top-10 performances. Junior Sam Penzenstadler and senior Oscar Aguinaga led the way, finishing fifth and sixth in 18:22 and 18:43, respectively. Marquette placed third with 62 points and DePaul finished fourth with 119.

Friday’s race marked the first time the Badger Opener course was raced at 6-kilometers. Last year, the course was set at 6.3-kilometers.

The men's cross country team races again next Saturday, September 14, as the team will send athletes to both Terre Haute, Ind., for the Sycamore Invitational and to Whitewater, Wis., for the Warhawk Invitational.

“We always preach that what we do right now is a process. Each race leads into the next race and it is just all building blocks,” Byrne said. “The goal is to run well in October and early November and into Big Ten (competition) and beyond."

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