June 17, 2014
USTFCCCA John McDonnell Program of the Year
MADISON, Wis. - Top-10 finishes at the NCAA cross country championships and outdoor track and field championships helped the Wisconsin men's track and field squad to a fourth-place finish in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association John McDonnell Program of the Year standings, the organization announced Monday.
The fourth-place finish for UW comes off of a second-place showing a year ago.
Oregon won the John McDonnell Program of the Year award after sweeping the NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field titles and finishing fifth at the NCAA cross country meet to tally seven points. Oklahoma State was second with 23 points, while Arkansas was third with 23 1/2 points. Wisconsin earned 29 ½ points, while Florida rounded out the top five with 34 points
The award is handed out to the program with the lowest cumulative score, which is determined based on team finishes at the NCAA cross country, indoor track and outdoor track championships. Each finishing position is worth one point, with a first-place finish valued at one point, a runner-up finish two points, and so on.
The Badgers finished with a cumulative score of 29 1/2 thanks to finishing ninth in cross country, 11th at the indoor championships and tied for ninth at the outdoor championships.
"This is the second year in a row we have finished in the top-five" Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Mick Byrne said. "It is exciting when you consider that we are talking about three different seasons. I'm very proud of our student athletes and my staff who have done a super job in preparing our student-athletes for post-season competition."
Despite seeing its conference and regional winning streaks end during the cross country season, Wisconsin finished in the top 10 at the NCAA championships for the 19th year in a row. Malachy Schrobilgen led the way for UW during the cross country campaign, becoming the first Badger to win Big Ten Athlete of the Year and Freshman of the Year after winning the Big Ten cross country race.
Schrobilgen capped off his redshirt freshman season by earning first-team All-America honors at the NCAA championships.
Led by four individual titles, the Badgers won the Big Ten indoor crown for the second-straight season as Michael Lihrman, Japheth Cato, Reed Connor and Mohammed Ahmed all won individual events.
At the NCAA indoor championships, Lihrman became the first Badger since Chris Solinsky in 2007 to win an individual title, as Lihrman won the weight throw. For the second-straight year, Zach Ziemek finished fifth in the heptathlon, while Danny Block was seventh in the shot put. Connor also picked up a team point for UW with an eight-place showing in the 5000 meters as Wisconsin finished the meet with 17 team points.
UW won the outdoor conference title, marking the first time since 2007 that the Badgers swept the conference track championships. Ziemek, Connor and Ahmed all won events as Wisconsin scored 63 of its 121 points in the 5000 meters, the 10,000 meters and the decathlon.
The Badgers continued their success to the NCAA outdoor meet, as Ahmed finished third in the 10,000 meters and fifth in the 5000 meters to earn two first-team All-America laurels. Lihrman was third in his first outdoor national meet in the hammer throw, while Ziemek placed fifth in the decathlon to help the Badgers accumulate 20 points to tie with Arkansas for ninth.