home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 23, 2015

Mick Byrne

THE MODERATOR:¬† Director of cross‑country track and field, Mick Byrne is here.¬† We will have comments and then take questions.
COACH BYRNE:  At our meeting this morning the buzz about the team was centered on our women's program.  Today they're ranked 11th, and the men are 15, so for the women to be ahead of the men, it's been a while since that happened, and we're excited about that.  But the national rankings as we get into Big Ten competition kinda go by the wayside because competition is a little bit different and the fields in the Big Ten are a lot deeper.  We feel on the women's side we have a very balanced team, great representation across the board from the short sprints into the distance, middle distance, distance, and obviously the field events.
On the women's side and the Weight Throw right now Kelsey Card, who is ranked first in the Big Ten.  She is 4th, nationally also in the shot put, and first in the Big Ten.
Sarah Disanza, ranked first nationally in the 5,000 Meters and also in the Big Ten.¬† Sara will run the 3,000 Meters most likely on Friday and possibly come back on Saturday, depending on how we're doing in the team championship.¬† We feel that we on the women's distance side with Gabby Anzalone, Emma‑Lisa Murphy and Jamie Shannon covering the 5,000 meters, we have four women in the Top‑12.¬† Molly Hanson, who was third in the mile last year, currently ranked 9th, but we feel we can get some good productivity out of Molly in the mile and also on the distance medley relay.¬† Deanna Latham, who is the defending champion in the Pentathlon, will not go in the Pentathlon but will go in the 60‑Meter Hurdles, where she is ranked 4th.¬† We have a good freshman in Ebony McClendon in the short sprints, the 60 and the 200 Meters, where she is currently ranked 10th and 11th.
Overall, as I've said, I think we've got a very good, well‑balanced team on the women's side.¬† If you throw in the Pentathlon with Georgia Ellenwood, Georgia is going to compete in her first Pentathlon this year, and Casie Pawlik will join Georgia, and in the Pole Vault Courtney Walden.
On the men's side when, you think about defending our championship from last year.  We scored 122 points, of those 122 points, 79 of them between five athletes who graduated; we have a pretty daunting task ahead of us this week.  We're going to go in there and give it our best shot.  Obviously the leader of the men's program is Michael Lihrman, who set a Division I Collegiate record this past weekend.  He will be joined by Scott Erickson in the Weight Throw, who is currently sixth in the Big Ten, 17th, 18th on the national list, I believe.
In the 3K, Malachy Schrobilgen is ranked second, MorganMcDonald, the freshman, is currently ranked third, and Russell Sandvold, ranked 18th.  In the Mile, Morgan McDonald is currently ranked 8th, and then we're going to go to some young athletes, guys like Aaron Thompson, in the 600 Meters, Ryan Davis in the 400 Meters, Corbin Ellis in the 400 Meters, Jesse Johnson in the Pole Vault.  So we're going to be depending on our youth to somehow come up with matching the points from last year.  It's going to be a tough task.

Q.  Mick, the women finish 11th at Big Ten's last year but they're the only nationally ranked team going in this year?  How has it been able to turn around like that?
COACH BYRNE:  Last year Big Ten meet, after the men won, we invited all our women out on to the arena, the center of the arena when they were presenting the men with the trophy, and we challenged them to be better.  The growth over the last year has been remarkable, and you have great leadership in Deanna Latham, Angie Boushea, they have been around at the Big Ten Championships for a long time and compete well at the Big Ten.  When you have athletes like that, Sarah Disanza leading the nation in the 5,000 meters and can run a pretty good 3,000 meters, and they see that leadership up on top and it's paying off for the younger women.

Q.  Your predecessor always talked about Big Ten Championships are won with the fifth through the eighth place finishes.  Do you agree with that?
COACH BYRNE:  Absolutely in terms of the women I think we're going to be looking for the support cast is huge for us.  Courtney Walden, Taylor Amann in the Pole Vault, Casey Pawlik in the Pentathlon, and then there are a lot of points to be grabbed in the 3Ks the 5K, and the Mile.  You don't win Big Ten by winning the event; you have to have the supporting cast to win those lower points.

Q.  For someone like Michael, who is basically competing against himself, how impressive is it that he can keep pushing himself to break his own records and other records?
COACH BYRNE:  I guess on paper it may look that way, but in terms of the Big Ten, the Weight Throw has just gone out of control.  We have two athletes right now currently over 80 feet, and Purdue has a great athlete and so does Michigan State.  This competition is not over.  Michael knows he is going to have to perform at his very best to beat Purdue and Michigan State.  Both of those athletes are very capable of throwing 81 meters.  So when you look at the event again, six of the top 18 are in the Big Ten, nationally.

Q.  Mick, can you help me pronounce Purdue's weight thrower's name?
COACH BYRNE:  You got me on that one.  I apologize.  No.

Q.¬† Michael seems to be a very outgoing, effervescent‑‑ he's got a personality about him, doesn't he?
COACH BYRNE:  Certainly does.  You know, I think it's the nature of the event.  When you get into the Shot Put, the Weight Throw, those guys have a bit of a swagger about them.  Look at their size, it's imposing.  With that height and size comes a bit of an attitude, and when you're leading the nation you have to have a bit of an attitude because everything is coming for you, gunning for you, and Michael has a swagger about him, and he will certainly need to carry that into the Big Ten meet this weekend, and hopefully he will.

Q.  This is the third year that the meet has been combined men's and women's.  How much do the teams feed off each other, and like you said earlier with the women's team watching the men win it last year?
COACH BYRNE:¬† That's a great question and I for one certainly believe that it's‑‑ you know, both teams help each other out for us now that we're a combined program.¬† Our women are excited about where they're at, walking around they have a little bit of cockiness about them.¬† They're ahead of the men on the national poll, and that's good.¬† It's great for the older girls who struggled with the team over the last three or four years, and now they're the ones walking around with that little bit of swagger, and that's exciting to see.
Hopefully that will rub off on the younger athletes this weekend.

Q.¬† Mick, would you say you went about this process of motivating the men's and the women's programs, did you go about it delicately or were you force fortunately with regards to how these teams‑‑ starting to feed off one another now?
COACH BYRNE:  Well, if you know me, you know that I put my foot in my mouth quite often so, you know, I don't think I was the most politically correct when we were at the Big Ten's last year, but the girls got the message and, you know, just to hear a few of them, like "We're tired of this!"
"This stinks!"
"This is not what we bought into."¬† I remember at one stage, the men won the event, and the women were over to the side and it looked‑‑ they looked absolutely dejected.¬† When we invited them into the circle with the men, I think they felt that power, that felt that‑‑ you know, that it was an all‑inclusive program.¬† And they wanted to be part of a winning program.
When you look and see what they've done, really, over the last three or four weekends, it's pretty amazing.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Mick.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297