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Exceeding expectations: Badgers make it 18-straight top-10 finishes


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2013 NCAA Championship
Lavern Gibson Championship Course • Terre Haute, Ind. • Distance: 10 Kilometers

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 Team Results
1. Colorado 149
2. Northern Arizona 169
3. Oklahoma State 230
4. BYU 267
5. Oregon 274
9. Wisconsin 326
 Individual Results
1. Edward Cheserek Oregon 29:41.1
2. Kennedy Kithuka Texas Tech 29:59.1
3. Maksim Korolev Harvard 29:59.5
4. Futsum Zienasellassie Northern Arizona 30:05.7
5. Jim Rosa Stanford 30:08.9
33. Malachy Schrobilgen Wisconsin 30:39.1
43. Alex Brill Wisconsin 30:50.6
90. Alex Hatz Wisconsin 31:14.7
103. Jacob Naylor Wisconsin 31:20.7
135. Rob Finnerty Wisconsin 31:37.9
158. Michael Van Voorhis Wisconsin 31:51.9
191. Jacob Erschen Wisconsin 32:11.1
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Nov. 23, 2013

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.-- If Malachy Schrobilgen's performance this year is a sign of things to come, the Badgers are in good hands.

The redshirt freshman capped off a tremendous first season in the cardinal and white by finishing 33rd in 30 minutes, 39.1 seconds to help propel the No. 17-ranked Wisconsin men's cross country team to a ninth-place finish with a score of 326 points Saturday at the 10-kilometer 2013 NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind.

After winning the individual title at the Big Ten championship and placing ninth at the Great Lakes Regional, the Oak Park, Ill., native clearly established himself as the leader of the team. With his top-40 finish on Saturday, Schrobilgen earned All-America honors to go along with his first-team All-Big Ten and All-Great Lakes Region selections.

"It was a goal that developed partway through that season, when I realized where I was at fitness wise," Schrobilgen said "It was nice to go out an achieve that. The race went well as I stuck to my game plan, let the race come to me, and got a good result at the end."

"It was a great run by Malachy, earning All-American honors as a freshman," Wisconsin head coach Mick Byrne said.

Senior Alex Brill finished his collegiate cross country career second for UW in 43rd, just missing out on All-America status, by crossing the line in 30:50.6.

 Fast Facts
• Wisconsin finished ninth with 326 points
Malachy Schrobilgen earned All-America honors
• Schrobilgen finished the year as a first-team All-Big Ten, All-Great Lakes Region and All-America honoree

"Alex Brill ran the race of his life," Byrne said. "We needed someone to be a hero for the team, and Brill was that hero. He stepped up big time."

Junior Alex Hatz and senior Jacob Naylor finished 90th and 103rd, respectively, in 31:14.7 and 31:20.7, while sixth-year senior Rob Finnerty placed 135th in 31:37.9 to round out the scoring for UW.

Junior Michael Van Voorhis crossed the finish line 159th in 31:51.9 and junior Jacob Erschen placed 191st in 32:11.1. Van Voorhis came into the meet with confidence from being selected first-team All-Big Ten at the conference meet and All-Great Lakes Region after leading the Badgers to a second-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional.

No. 3-ranked Colorado won the team title, and its fourth national championship in program history, with a score of 149 points. No. 1 Arizona finished second (169), defending national-champion and No. 2 Oklahoma State placed third (230), while No. 8 BYU was fourth (267).

Oregon freshman Edward Cheserek ran a dominant final two kilometers to claim the individual title in 29:41.1 and help his team finish fifth overall with 274 points. Cheserek won the crown by 19 seconds over Texas Tech senior and defending champion Kennedy Kithuka.

After excessive rain over the past week created a muddy and puddle-filled course, the start line was moved ahead 110 meters because of inadequate conditions. As a result, no times qualified for personal or course records.

Before the season began, many people doubted whether Wisconsin's inexperienced team could continue to dominate the sport after losing three senior All-Americans in Mohammed Ahmed, Maverick Darling and Reed Connor.

But as the season progressed, the team established new leaders and quickly resembled Badger teams of the past. Although it lost the Big Ten championship for the first time since 1999, UW rebounded to finish second at the Great Lakes Regional to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA championships, an event the team has qualified for an NCAA record 42-consecutive times.

On Saturday, the Badgers ran with resiliency like they have all season and placed ninth to extend their streak to 18-consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA meet. According to Byrne, Wisconsin proved its doubters wrong once again.

"A lot of people wrote this team off, but we came out today and we ran Badger tough," he said. "We showed we understand the tradition and history of this program, and were able to continue it. The course was difficult and it was difficult racing conditions, but our guys ran Badger tough and persevered."

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