GENEVA, Ohio — For the Wisconsin men’s track and field team, the Badgers knew that they had a shot at winning the Big Ten Conference Indoor Championships. But the team needed things to go their way as well as get some help from some other teams.
Things worked out in the Badgers favor on Sunday as Wisconsin won the Big Ten title with 110 points, nine points ahead of second-place Nebraska. It was UW’s first Big Ten indoor track championship since 2014 and Wisconsin’s second Big Ten title of the season after winning the 2022 cross country championship last fall.
“This was a total team effort,” said Mick Byrne, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. “At our team meeting on Thursday night, we told the team we had huge momentum going into this weekend.
“We knew we had some big guns ranked No. 1 in their respective events but you don’t win without a strong supporting cast who were also coming into the meet with very solid personal bests. Across the board our guys showed up. Each event group contributed to this win and I’m thrilled for our student-athletes and my coaching staff.”
Johnson, Lawrence, Sharp win Big Ten titles
The Badgers’ title chances came down to the second-to-last event – the 3,000 meters – where they had five entries, including four who placed in Friday’s 5,000 meters.
With three laps to go, four Badgers were part of a breakaway group of six with 5,000-meter champion Jackson Sharp in the lead. Indiana’s Jake Gebhardt took the lead with two laps remaining but with approximately 200 meters left, Bob Liking and Sharp overtook Gebhardt to sit first and second. Sharp used his kick to move past his teammate over the final 100 meters, winning in 7 minutes, 51.53 seconds. Liking finished third in 7:41.82 while Rowen Ellenberg (7:59.40) and Evan Bishop (7:59.60) were fifth and sixth, respectively.
Wisconsin scored 24 points in the race to move from third place into the team lead by 15 points, a lead no other opponent could surpass.
Johnson claimed his first Big Ten title, winning the 60-meter dash in 6.61 seconds. The Waunakee native entered the final with the fastest qualifying time and didn’t disappoint as he won his first conference championship. The senior also finished seventh in the 200 meters in 21.29.
Spencer entered the finals of the mile with the fastest qualifying time. He was in second place with 300…
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