Byrne, cross country team ready for 1st Big Ten meet

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin men’s cross country team will try to defend its Big Ten title for the 10th year in a row this weekend in Ann Arbor at the Big Ten conference championships.This is also the first conference championship meet for new head coach Mick Byrne.Byrne, who coached at Iona College for the past 18 years and won 17 MAAC titles during his time there, replaces Jerry Schumacher as head coach this year. Byrne knows that this meet is going to be a challenge and a different experience from what he went through previously at Iona.“I’m really looking forward to it,” Byrne said Monday at his press conference. “Obviously it’s my first championship, and the kids are excited about going to Ann Arbor and taking on Michigan on their home course. There is definitely a different feel to this. The kids are really excited, and I’m picking up on that excitement. I never got that feeling a week before a meet until now.“[Michigan is] going to throw everything at us. They’re going to have a ton of supporters there because it’s their alumni weekend, and they do not want the Badgers to win their 10th straight championship, that’s obvious.”Byrne also realizes the Badgers not only have to worry about a quality team in Michigan, but also they have the challenge of running the University of Michigan golf course, where the race will be held.“It’s a really challenging course with a lot of hills. We’ve run more hills at the end of practice in preparation for it,” Byrne said. “We’re ready for the course and the challenge.”Despite having won nine straight Big Ten championships, Byrne doesn’t think his team, especially the seniors, will take this race for granted and will come out strong.“They’re 100 percent ready. They’re seniors, and they don’t want to hand this title over to Michigan,” Byrne said. “We’re prepared for them and expect them to come at us. Seniors [Matt] Withrow and [Stuart] Eagan want to win that 10th straight title.”Along with Withrow and Eagan, the Badgers also bring sophomore Landon Peacock and junior Craig Miller, who recently finished second and seventh, respectively, in the Paul Short Invitational, into Ann Arbor this weekend.“Eagan, Withrow, Peacock and Miller are four guys that are running really well right now, and we’ve got a bunch of guys to back them up. These guys have been through the mill and know what it’s all about,” Byrne said. “There is no big game plan here. It’s just to get out and run Michigan into the ground.”last_img

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