Olin Hacker returned to the course this season after nearly two years of battling injuries. Friday, Hacker put forth a spectacular comeback race that ultimately won him the Badger Classic title.
“It’s the fourteenth of September, so it would be crazy to read too much into this,” Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Mick Byrne said. “We know what team Arkansas put out there, we know what team we put out there. For Olin Hacker, this was his first race in almost two years, and he looked very good. We had a couple of young guys in there, freshmen, and they also did a great job. Pretty soon here in the next couple of weeks things are really going to ramp up and this is going to get crazy.”
From the get-go, Hacker maintained a steady pace with the front pack of runners. With just one kilometer to go, the Madison native made his breakaway and crossed the 8K finish line in 25 minutes, 17.1 seconds with ease.
“It felt really good to be back out there racing,” said Hacker. “I’m really happy with where the team is at, I think we all ran smart races and we’re ready to build on this for the rest of the season.”
Next across the line was fifth-year senior Tyson Miehe, who also stayed with the top pack throughout the race. Miehe came down the last stretch with a seven-second lead on the third place finisher, and cruised to the finish in 25:28.3 to take the runner-up spot.
The younger members of the Wisconsin men’s cross country team claimed the next three spots for UW. Freshman Derick Peters finished fourth overall in 25:39.1 in his collegiate debut while teammate sophomore Tannor Wagner took sixth overall in 25:44.8. Rounding out the scoring for the Badgers was freshman Shuaib Aljabaly, who took 10th overall in 26:06.7.
Junior Andrew Schilling took a 12th place finish at the home opener meet and crossed the line in 26:23.7.
“The Nuttycombe Invitational will be here in two weeks’ time, and two weeks after that, the Pre-National meet,” Byrne said. “The whole Division I world is going to descend on Madison at some stage over the next month and it’s fun. It’s going to be a great challenge, and we’re looking forward to that. That’s what we do. You train to race, particularly at the end of the year, and we’re not going to let anything distract from our goals from Big Tens and beyond. That’s what we do and today we saw some really stuff, particularly from some of the younger guys, in brutal conditions.”
Up Next: The Badgers are set to host the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational presented by Under Armour, on Friday, Sept. 28. The premier meet is scheduled to begin with the “B” races at 11 a.m. with the championship races to follow at 12:20 p.m.