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October 12, 2015

Mick Byrne

THE MODERATOR: Director of Cross-Country Track and Field, Mick Byrne is here. We will have some opening comments and take questions.

COACH BYRNE: It's that time of year. Our kids get very excited about running at home at the Adidas Invitational. As Brian said, 17 of the top-30 men's teams, and 20 of the top-25 women's teams. We've had some rough burner meets the last couple of weekends, starting at home with the Badger Opener, and then going to New York for the Iona meet, then to Louisville a couple weekends ago.

And it gave us an opportunity to look at our lineup and, again, you know, two months later, after a lot of training over the summer and into September, our kids are anxious to get out there and there is no hiding line-ups from here on out. When you have those type of teams and that type of competition coming into town on our home course, our kids are going to get very excited about it as we do as coaches.

This weekend there's a lot of points on the table for at-large qualification for the NCAA Championships, and I'm sure that's why a lot of teams come to town, so the weather looks like it's going to be good, so we're very excited to host this Invitational.

Q. Mick, you pleased with what you've seen so far?
COACH BYRNE: Yeah, I mean, it's -- we've had some young kids out there giving us a great opportunity to go through the lineup and see how things are going to play out, but you can't hide a team in a race like this on Friday. You've got to run your big guns, and they've got to run hard, and that's what we expect our athletes to do. We're going full force, and we deal with one or two injuries that are going to -- that we'll have to hold out, but it's going to be the best team that we have right now, and we're excited about it. The big guns, they get the green light and they're ready to go.

Q. Tell us about your big guns on both sides.
COACH BYRNE: The men's side, obviously, Two-Time Big Ten Champion, Malachy Schrobilgen, coming off an incredible summer of training, done some really good workouts and expect to see Malachy up there fighting for the individual title. He's anxious to get going, hasn't really gone full force for the couple of meets that he's run, and he's really anxious to get in there against this great competition and see where he stacks up.

After this weekend, we're two weeks out from the Big Ten meet, so he's ready to go. Morgan McDonald, sophomore, and Joe Hardy, both in great shape and kind of excited to see what they can do on Friday. Again, also responded to some great training over the last couple of months, and they're anxious to really get going.

On the women's side, still going to be game day Decision on one or two athletes, probably Sarah Disanza and Molly Hanson. Molly came down with a bit of a "niggle" last week, and we're just playing it day-by-day right now, but that will decide how we're going to play things out on Friday on the women's side, but certainly Shaelyn Sorensen is ready to go and hopefully she'll get some good support from the rest of the women.

Q. What's a "niggle"?
COACH BYRNE: A niggle? I guess we call it "little" injury, not too serious. (Chuckles.)

Q. How has Shaelyn Sorensen looked, a redshirt freshman but she has paced the team in all three meets that you guys have competed at this year?
COACH BYRNE: Obviously done a great job, walked on to the team last year, trained real hard and made the U.S. Junior Team, went to China for the World Championships. And when you compete in a meet like that I think you get a lot of encouragement, a lot of confidence, and she has just gone from strength to strength in terms of her confidence, and that's reflected in her results. I think she is anxious to get out there with Sarah and Molly, and obviously it's going to help Shaelyn come along when she gets her teammates back out there and competing with her.

Q. When this becomes an Under Armour school what happens to the Adidas Invitational?
COACH BYRNE: I was waiting for that question. (Chuckles.) That's under negotiation. We will have to -- I guess it's got a good rhyme, Under Armour Invitational, so we'll see.

Q. But you expect to have it?
COACH BYRNE: Oh, we're definitely going to have this meet, yes, unless they -- unless something happens with the qualifying process for NCAA Championships, and I'm on the committee to -- we're trying to blow it all up because a lot of people out there don't agree with the current qualifying system, and I'm one of those guys, and I'm not in favor of giving points out to mid-season meets, but we'll see what happens over the next 12 months, but, yeah, I think Under Armour Invitational has a good ring to it, and we dropped that on Kevin Plank last Friday so he had a big smile.

Q. How important is it to have a meet like the Adidas meet at the Zimmer Championship course?
COACH BYRNE: You ask Tom Zimmer that, and he'll give you the answer. I mean, from our athletes' perspective, I think it's very important. Again, we can't overemphasize the comfort level. We train out at Zimmer and our student-athletes have a great comfort out there, that's where they practice. It's a great opportunity for our fans. Everyone knows that we get a pretty big crowd out there for this race, and it's a great opportunity for the kids to run in front of their parents and just the students in general. We showcase the course; we showcase that we run a good event.

We now have the new finish line area courtesy of Tom Zimmer, and it looks fantastic. You know, I think it just shows the cross country world when we do something here at Wisconsin we do a good job with it, and our kids get excited about this race. This is a -- probably next to the NCAA Championships, it's probably one of the toughest meets in the country, because so many teams are so ready for this competition, because there are so many at-large points to be gained from it.

I remember back in 2011 the guys when they won this, won the National Championship and won here at the Adidas, they were saying that the Adidas was one of the toughest meets, and I think all our teams feel that way because so many good teams are am coming and so many good teams are ready to go this weekend.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach? Thanks, Mick.

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