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


March 7, 2016

Mick Byrne

Madison, Wisconsin

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

COACH BYRNE: All four student-athletes heading to Birmingham this weekend are coming off huge performances at the Big Ten Championships, scoring multi points for us in the team scoring, and obviously when you have a great Big Ten meet, you look for them to take that confidence, excitement and momentum into the national meet.

On the women's side, as Brian said, Kelsey Card is obviously our leader, currently ranked No. 3 in the nation with 58 feet 6 and 3/4 in the shot put and No. 1 in the weight throw at 72 feet 7 and 3/4. Kelsey will compete against Raven Saunders, the defending NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Champion, currently one of the top throwers in the world, also Christina Hillman, from Iowa State, with 58 Feet 10, right around Kelsey's mark, so it looks to be an exciting and intense competition.

In the weight throw, right behind Kelsey at 72 feet, we have five women right in the 71 feet high mark so, again, anyone's competition. Looks to be a great, intense competition and we're excited to see Kelsey hopefully win her first NCAA title.

On the men's side, Zach Ziemek is No. 5 in the nation with 5825 points. Zach we decided not to do the "hep" at the Big Ten meet, thought it was best for him to rest and do some individual events and even have some fun with that. He had already competed once this year in the heptathlon, and I think it was the right decision for Zach, a little bit fresher going into the NCAA meet.

Back on the women's side, obviously in the multis is Georgia Ellenwood, huge PR in that event at the Big Ten Championships. To lose the title by 1 point was heartbreaking. She is currently 5th on the list, Jess Lehman from Minnesota, the Big Ten Champion, has decided to scratch from the meet so, again, an open competition and with Georgia scoring 4 out of 5 PRs at the Big Ten meet, she's obviously got a lot of confidence and riding high coming into the national meet.

Back to the men, Morgan McDonald we decided to run Morgan in the 3,000 meters instead of the mile. Felt that a lot of our training for the 3,000 meters was strength based, and we just thought it was a great decision. Really looking forward to outdoor season and continuing the strength building for such a young athlete. Turns out many of the top milers in the country scratched out of the mile and opted to run the 3K so we will know in a couple of days if it was a good decision or not, so we're excited to see Morgan as a sophomore heading to the national meet.

Q. If you could explain, how do you gain First Team All-American Honors, and what are the chances for these four athletes?
COACH BYRNE: Top eight in each event is going to be All-American. Yeah, obviously with their high ranking going into the meet, they've all got a great opportunity to be All-American, and ultimately that's the goal.

Q. How do you think Zach Ziemek is looking so far this year?
COACH BYRNE: First time out, 5825 points, that was way back at the end of January, so Zach looks real fresh again coming off the Big Ten meet, where he just did individual events, the pole vault, which was a huge performance for him, and the long jump, so he's fresh. It's going to be a long year for Zach, so -- with the NCAA meet, the decathlon outdoors and Olympic Trials, so we figured the best way to keep him fresh in the month of March was to go individual.

So when you look at the competition, there is one young man over 6,000 points, defending NCAA champion, Luca Wieland is in the competition. Luca struggled with that heptathlon at the Big Ten meet. He's a great athlete, so I'm sure he will bounce back, but there are four or five individuals out there, world-class individuals out there and any one of them could win this title, so for us it's about the development for Zach and keeping him fresh for not just this meet but also for outdoors.

Q. Michael Lihrman set all these records in the weight throw, and now Kelsey Card has aspired to the top, one of the top in the country, certainly, any reason why great weight throwers are here?
COACH BYRNE: Certainly has a lot to do with Coach Astrauskas, recognized as one of the top coaches around the country. He's passionate about the event. Does a great job at taking our athletes from the freshman year right through the development stages. For a lot of our athletes, they've never thrown the weight before, it's new to them, so being patient with them, taking them along slowly, I think he does an exceptional job with that.

Q. Watching Dorta Zekinea, (ph) she was so good at the multi events. What's made Georgia so good? And how much better can she been?
COACH BYRNE: It seems like she has just gone from one strength to the other again. It's a lot of confidence, and it's technical events, and she is getting better as she gets older in the technical events. And, again, it's working on those technical events day in and day out with her coach, Coach Nate Davis, and he does a great job also with the multi kids.

We just got great news out of Canada that Georgia has been selected on the Canadian team for the World Indoor Championships next weekend in Portland. That's a great honor for her and certainly for Coach Davis.

Q. What's your expectation for Morgan at his first NCAA track meet?
COACH BYRNE: Interesting question, you know, pondering last week and trying to decide if we declare him in the mile or the 3K, and never expecting to, I think, all the coaches around the country are looking at what happened with the mile, it went all the way back to No. 27 on the descending order list, and that's interesting. I figure that you might get five or six milers staying out of the mile events because it's one of those events that you just don't know what's going to happen. They have to run prelims, but also they can become very tactical races.

Never thought we would lose ten people off the descending order list for the mile. If hindsight was 20/20, obviously it might have been a good way for Morgan to go, because he's so young, but a lot of those milers are going to run the distance medley relay for their programs, and, hey, he's in the national championship, he's in the final, it's a straight final. Some great competition, looking forward to that, and I think he is; he relishes the challenge. I think the bottom line here is it was his favorite event and he wanted to do that.

It's important to -- he's confident going into the 3,000 meters. He looked good at the Big Ten meet. He was able to change gears, and at this level you have to be able to change gears, and he did a really good job at that. So, yeah, maybe next week we will look at it and think maybe we should have gone with the mile, but I think you look at his development and where his training has been at and what's best for the individual, so he's pretty confident.

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

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
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