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Badgers punch NCAA ticket with 10th-straight regional crown


Nov. 12, 2011

2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional
Ottawa Park • Toledo, Ohio
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• Distance: 10 Kilometers
 Team Results
1. Wisconsin 50
2. Indiana 70
3. Michigan 104
4. Notre Dame 119
5. Ohio State 126
 Individual Results
1. Callum Hawkins Butler 30:01
2. Eric Finan Cincinnati 30:08
3. Craig Forys Michigan 30:12
4. Tecumseh Adams C. Michigan 30:12
5. Ben Hubers Indiana 30:21
8. Ryan Collins Wisconsin 30:28
9. Mohammed Ahmed Wisconsin 30:28
9. Reed Connor Wisconsin 30:28
9. Elliot Krause Wisconsin 30:28
12. Maverick Darling Wisconsin 30:28
24. Michael Brice Wisconsin 30:52
49. Drew Shields Wisconsin 31:30
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MADISON, Wis. -- All that Wisconsin head coach Mick Byrne asked of his runners for the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional was to stay within themselves, not be affected by anyone else and to use the race as preparation for the upcoming NCAA championship.

The team held up its end of the deal, running to the program's 10th-straight regional title and an automatic NCAA berth.

With the team's five top runners finishing the 10-kilometer race in a time of 30 minutes, 28 seconds, the No. 1-ranked Badgers finished with a team score of 50, outlasting No. 7 Indiana, who was runner-up with 70 points.

Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State rounded out the top five.

 Fast Facts
• Badgers win 10th-straight regional title
• UW earns automatic berth in NCAA championship
Ryan Collins UW's top finisher for second time this season

Senior Ryan Collins, junior Mohammed Ahmed, junior Reed Connor, senior Elliot Krause and junior Maverick Darling all crossed the finish line in unison.

"I've said it many times, these guys have a great instinct to know how hard to push the bodies or how to back off in a race," Byrne said. "They can lead a race well.

"We were able to get out there with the leaders and controlled things. We did what we needed to do and didn't worry about what anybody else was doing."

Sophomore Callum Hawkins of Butler earned the individual victory, finishing in a time of 30:01.

Though Byrne was confident that --had he asked it -- any one of his top runners could've challenged for the individual title, they stuck to the plan.

"At any stage they could've wanted to pass them, but today was not about that," Byrne said. "It was about running hard, in control and doing what we needed to do."

With no doubt left as to who his top runners are heading into the NCAA championships, Byrne was still evaluating who his sixth and seventh runners will be.

One in particular, sophomore Mike Brice, all but assured up his chance to run with his teammates and represent Wisconsin.

Finishing 24th overall in a time of 30:52, the Kaukauna, Wis., native ran so hard early in the race that his teammates had to tell him he could settle in and conserve his efforts.

"He was ahead of top-five guys for the early part of the race," Byrne said. "But, one of our top guys eventually went up to him and told him, chill out, just run with us. He proved today that he wanted to be on this team.

"Mission accomplished, he's our sixth guy. He proved he wanted to be on the team and be in Terre Haute."

The team now returns home and prepares for the event that they've been working toward all season, the 2011 NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., Nov. 21.

Having won five-straight races with strong performances from his top runners, Byrne feels his men are giving all he could ask for.

"That's all you can ask for," Byrne said. "When they put on that uniform, they run hard and they're proud of wearing that Wisconsin uniform."

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