The mystery and anticipation regarding the University of Wisconsin men’s cross country team is over. In an intervirew this morning, Coach Mick Byrne told insidebadgersports.com that the Badger’s top runners Mo Ahmed and Reed Connor would both run the Big 10 Championship this weekend.
Byrne: "We've sorted out the pieces of the puzzle. We're going to go with our big guns this week... Mohammed Ahmed will run. Reed Connor will run. Maverick Darling will run. They're excited about defending our title”
The puzzle that Byrne had to solve was whether the Badgers could defend their conference title and perhaps their national cross country title this season. This was dependent on Mo Ahmed being fit in time for the championship season. Ahmed ran the London Olympic 10k this summer and was well-rested in August.
"It was all about Mo,” Byrne said. “It was about him being able to prepare for Big Tens and beyond after running in Olympics. Ahmed [has been] running best workouts of his career in past couple weeks. He's ready to put that training to work."
The #20 Badgers have won 13-straight Big 10 championships. They’ll have to contend with #11 Michigan and #24 Indiana this weekend.
“You have to respect the other schools. Michigan beat us at the adidas meet. Indiana beat us at the adidas meet. [They] love the idea they've got a target on their back. That's the reason they came to Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin has arguably the best top three in the NCAA, but they still need a #4 and #5 runner to be able to compete. Based on the results so far this season, it looks like those two spots will be filled by Alex Hatz and Rob Finnerty.
"Ahmed, Connor, Darling have a great ability to read a race. They just have that race savvy. You can't buy it. Hatz and Finnerty need to understand ... we need them to be good supporters. The big guns up front will do their job."
Byrne and the Badgers will see if this decision pays off on Sunday the at Big 10 Championships in East Lansing, Michigan.
Updated on May 14, 2013, 9:43am