Sept. 27, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- Following a weekend free from competition, the No. 8-ranked Wisconsin men’s cross country team will head east for the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown on Friday in Boston.
The 8-kilometer race at Franklin Park is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. (CT) and will feature a competitive field that includes No. 12 Oregon and No. 25 Providence, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Coaches Poll.
Other teams competing include Bucknell, Cornell, John Hopkins, Northeastern, Stony Brook, Syracuse, Hartford, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Yale.
Wisconsin will look to claim its third team title in as many meets after winning the Badger Opener in Madison and the Sycamore Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., with identical team scores of 25 points.
Friday’s meet should provide the first challenge of the season for the Badgers as they prepare for championship season. But to UW head coach Mick Byrne, the race is just another step in a process to achieve their goals later this season.
“This meet this weekend is a competition, but it’s important for us not to lose sight of the goal for this year,” Byrne said. “It is still September, we are training hard. I like what I’m seeing. Guys are excited for the big meets. We have to put it all into perspective. For us, every meet is an opportunity to see where they are at in their training, to get out there instead of just training all the time. They are learning a race situation. It leads to something bigger from this.”
Byrne is looking forward to returning to Boston, where the coach has fond memories of winning six Northeast Regional championships as the head coach of Iona.
“For me, it is going back east, it is going back to a familiar city and to a familiar cross country course, as my teams competed there many, many times,” he said. “It is a great course and I think it will be fun for our kids. They are excited about heading back to the east coast. There aren’t a lot of kids that have been to Boston, and they are looking forward to the opportunity.”
In addition, the Badgers are excited to race against some fresh faces after two weeks of intensive training. On Tuesday, Wisconsin had a tough practice at Governor Nelson Park, running a hilly loop to help prepare for the Big Ten meet at Purdue this November. How his athletes recover will determine who will run in Boston.
“Ultimately who will run on Friday will depend on how they come off of Tuesday’s workout and how they feel on Friday,” Byrne said.