June 12, 2013
As part of its year-end look back, UW Athletics profiles 10 candidates this week leading up to the announcement of the 2012-13 Athlete of the Year awards this Friday. Today, we profile Athlete of the Year candidate Caitlin Comfort of the women's track and field team.
MADISON, Wis. -- There was nothing cliché about how Caitlin Comfort saved her best for last, as the senior enjoyed a career season on the track for the Badgers.
Comfort, whose cross country eligibility expired after a runner-up finish at the Big Ten championship in 2011, was focused solely on track in her final year at UW, and her results showed it.
The Peoria, Ill., native claimed a pair of Big Ten titles -- and did so in impressive fashion each time.
Comfort won her first conference crown indoors when she literally ran away with the 5000 meters in 16 minutes, 11.84 seconds. She broke away from the field early in the race and kept a steady pace that allowed her to build a 75-meter lead that proved to be insurmountable for the opposition.
She used a similar tactic outdoors en route to winning the 10,000 meters at the Big Ten outdoor championships in May -- with similar results. Comfort broke away from the start and eventually dropped the pair of competitors that had initially moved to the front with her. Her Jesse Owens Stadium-record time of 33:30.16 gave her a 44-second cushion over second place by the time she hit the finish line.
Comfort’s championship was the Badgers’ 15th Big Ten title in the 10,000 meters and, combined with Maverick Darling’s win in the men’s race, gave UW a sweep of the conference 10K titles for the sixth time.
Comfort did her part for the Badgers both indoors and outdoors by doubling her efforts in a pair of races. She added a fourth-place finish in the 3000 meters to her title in the indoor 5000 and then grabbed a third-place showing outdoors in the 5000 to complement her 10,000 meters crown.
A strong showing at the NCAA West Preliminary Round powered Comfort on to a repeat appearance at the NCAA outdoor championships, where she claimed second-team All-America honors for the second-consecutive season. Comfort finished 12th in the 10,000 meters in her final race as a Badger.