Trio leads Wisconsin to fifth-place Big Ten finish


2012 Big Ten Championship
Forest Akers East Course • East Lansing, Mich.
Beutler, Anzalone
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• Distance: 6 Kilometers
 Team Results
1. Michigan 55
2. Michigan State 75
3. Penn State 96
4. Minnesota 134
5. Wisconsin 147
6. Ohio State 170
7. Northwestern 185
8. Indiana 197
9. Illinois 216
10. Iowa 228
11. Purdue 248
12. Nebraska 397
 Individual Results
1. Sara Kroll MSU 20:12.4
2. Mareike Schrulle IOWA 20:16.8
3. Rebecca Addison MICH 20:21.7
4. Leah O'Connor MSU 20:24.6
5. Rebekka Simko PSU 20:26.5
6. Ashley Beutler WIS 20:28.1
7. Gabrielle Anzalone WIS 20:30.7
16. Hanna Knurr WIS 20:50.6
61. Lavinia Jurkiewicz WIS 21:38.3
65. Theresa Selestow WIS 21:43.0
66. Emma-Lisa Murphy WIS 21:43.9
74. Kiah Ehrke WIS 21:55.9
81. Colleen McNulty WIS 22:09.9
100. Anne Gregory WIS 23:06.0
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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The Wisconsin women's cross country team hadn't earned consecutive top-five finishes at the Big Ten championship since the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Emphasis on hadn't. Because that's exactly what the Badgers did Sunday when the trio of senior Ashley Beutler, sophomore Gabrielle Anzalone and senior Hanna Knurr powered UW to a fifth-place finish at the 2012 Big Ten Championship in East Lansing, Mich.

Behind Beutler, Anzalone and Knurr, Wisconsin earned 147 points to take fifth, a performance that comes on the heels of last year's fourth-place showing.

 Fast Facts
• The Badgers take fifth place with 147 points
• Wisconsin earns first back-to-back top five finishes since 2002 and 2003 seasons
• Beutler, Anzalone and Knurr all recorded personal best Big Ten finishes

With a sixth-place individual finish in a time of 20 minutes, 28.1 seconds, Beutler led the charge for the Badgers and earned her best Big Ten finish after taking 16th at last year's meet.

Anzalone recorded her best Big Ten finish and crossed the line in seventh place, finishing in a time of 20:30.  Knurr also earned her best Big Ten finish by taking 16th place in a time of 20:50, following the 33rd-place showing she posted in her first season of competition in 2011.

"Those were great races for all three of those girls," UW head coach Jim Stintzi said. "The way they're running, they're going to put us in contention to qualify for the NCAA meet if we can get them a little help."

Junior Lavinia Jurkiewicz was UW's fourth finishers and crossed the line 61st overall with a time of 21:38. Junior Theresa Selestow rounded out Wisconsin's scoring with her 65th place-finish in a time of 21:43.

The top five Badger runners finished within 1 minute and 14 seconds of one another.

"We have to cut that down by 20 seconds. We have to be down to 50 seconds, and then we have the chance to beat some teams (at the regional) that can pull us into the national meet," Stintzi said. "The top three ran great, we just need to get back to that 50-second gap that we've talked about."

Also for Wisconsin, freshman Emma-Lisa Murphy took 66th place with a time of 21:44, while junior Kiah Ehrke finished in 74th place in 21:56.

A pair of sophomores closed out the race for the UW, with Colleen McNulty taking 81st in a time of 22:09.9 and Anne Gregory finishing in 100th place in a time of 23:06.

Michigan won the Big Ten team title with a score of 55 points. Rebecca Addison helped the Wolverines bring home the championship with her third-place finish in a time of 20:21. Michigan State took second with 75 points behind individual champion Sara Knoll, who won the competition in a time of 20:12.

Penn State finished in third with 96 points and Minnesota finished just ahead of Wisconsin, earning fourth place with 134 points.

"I thought it was going to be us and Minnesota, and the issue was going to be if we could get our 3-4-5 ahead of them," Stintzi. "We got our third up there, but the others faded a little bit."

Keeping his team close in the pack will be a priority for Stintzi as the Badgers prepare for the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, which UW will host at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course on Nov. 9.

"I feel great about the top three, but I still feel we're leaving something on the course," Stintzi said. "I'm looking forward to getting back out there in two weeks and trying to make that happen."

Stintzi says it will be up to the team's top three runners to continue helping the second group along.

"They're all doing their job, and they're also doing what they can to get that next group to step up and do what it's capable of," he said.

Running in the top five at the Big Ten meet is a positive for the Badgers, but work remains to be done.

"It's a step in the right direction, but we're not quite where we were at the beginning of the season, and we need to get closer to that," Stintzi said. "We've seen that this team is capable of doing some pretty great things."

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