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October 28, 2013

Mick Byrne

COACH BYRNE:  This is the time of year we trained for.  Time of year that our student‑athletes and coaches get excited for.  I've always said that they've made some Big Ten championships and beyond there's a bit different atmosphere around the locker room and that certainly can feel it already today.
The men and women going into the Big Ten and certainly on the men's side coming off the solid Adidas meet we quietened some of the naysayers a wee bit.  That's always fun.
Women coming off a tough Adidas meet.  Two different perspectives, but certainly on the women's side the last two and a half weeks have been exciting.  We've seen a lot of improvements and growth identified our leader in Gabby Anzalone had some issues.  We've rectified them.  We think Gabby is back where she should be.  And looking forward to her joining our freshman Sarah Disanza and Emma‑Lisa Murphy, who seemed to be out in front in terms of leading the women's program.  So having Gabby back for Big Ten is kind of exciting.
So we're looking to see the women certainly take on the tough teams of the Big Ten.  Kind of excited where they've been and where they've come from over the last couple of weeks.  On the men's side, we understand that the Adidas meet was obviously an exciting performance for us.  The Adidas meet for both men and women obviously it's a different meet.  You get 300 competitors going into the Big Ten.  There's only just above 100 competitors in the race so it's more man to man, woman on woman.  It's head to head competition.
And that's a different field than a race like the Adidas meet and kind of more exciting because you've got to run Badger tough and both the men and women understand what that means.

Q.  Can you take us through who you're taking to west Lafayette men and women's side and anybody who has prepared specifically for this weekend?
COACH BYRNE:  I don't think there's any changes in the team.  It's basically going with the same team from both men's and women's side as we ran it at the Adidas meet.  I think on the women's side, certainly having Gabby back at full health is going to make that team a lot stronger.  Sarah Disanza, the freshman from New Jersey, had a great meet at Adidas.  And then you throw in Emma‑Lisa Murphy who also had a great run and 61st place.
I think that's a very strong and solid top three.  This past weekend Lavinia Jurkiewicz had a good run, won up in Oshkosh.  And Ariel Michalek was right behind her.  And they're looking to be a solid support.  The women are just in a different spot.  I think this week heading into the meet.  We're going to straighten the ship out a bit.  And obviously I think we can get some great support from Molly Hanson and Erin Cawley and Kelly Whitley.
And again I think it's a matter of on the women's side the girls have to believe that they belong to compete for Big Ten championship.  We're emphasizing that this week that they do belong there.  It's new for a lot of these women, and hopefully they'll buy into that and get excited about competing for a Big Ten championship at Purdue this weekend.
On the men's side there's‑‑ we're not changing anything up and I know there's been talk a couple of weeks about running freshmen.  We're not going to do that.  We're going with the same lineup for Adidas and confident that these guys are coming off the Adidas meet, have a lot of confidence.  We feel we got over the hump, and as I said earlier brightened a lot of people and excited that this group has gone forward and they're gone there with one thing on their mind and that's to defend their Big Ten championship.

Q.  Some would say that it's easier to get to the top than it is to stay at the top.  That being said, how in the world have you guys strung together 14 championships and what do you need to do to get to 15 straight?
COACH BYRNE:  We need a win on Sunday to get to the 15th.  Certainly guys have to believe that they're a championship team.  They have to have confidence in the run at Adidas, and I believe they have.  They've taken great confidence from that meet.  They know they're going to be under a lot of pressure as we head out to West Lafayette.  They're excited about that.
They know they're Badgers when they put on that uniform they've got a target on their back.  And they kind of marvel in that.  They love it.  They love the pressure.  And they showed just a couple of weeks ago at Adidas they can handle it.  And it's exciting moving with this group that transformation.  You have to have a bit of swagger about you and going into the meet like this because certainly Michigan and Indiana are coming after us and they want to win just as much as we do.

Q.  Who has been trash talking about you?
COACH BYRNE:  You want me to name all the schools?  I mean, it's just there's a lot of media sites out there, track sites.  And if you want to buy into that and spend a lot of time and energy reading that stuff, I don't find it very useful.  So I don't think the guys do either or the girls.  We stay away from them.  We encourage them not to get involved in that.
And a lot of Twitter stuff going on.  But it's quietened down an awful lot since Adidas, certainly on the men's side.  That's fun to see.
I had words with one of the folk at the Adidas meet who kind of promoted it and we kissed and made up.  So that was kind of fun to be able to do that.  And obviously we backed it up at the Adidas meet and it was kind of fun throwing it back in their face.
So, yeah, I mean it's part of the game, isn't it?  It's just you get, you create a lot of buzz when you win that many titles, and everybody wants to take a knock at you.  If you're Wisconsin you kind of get used to it.  And I personally enjoy it.
But that's my job to deflect it from our student‑athletes and not make it a big deal for them.  You can take some of it personal and the part that I kind of have a hard time with is when you're judging the University of Wisconsin on one year or one meet, doesn't make a lot of sense to me when you look at the history.  So I enjoy throwing it back in people's face.

Q.  Just so we have this straight:  You don't pay attention to it but you do pay attention to it?
COACH BYRNE:  I love it.  I don't take it personal, that's for sure.  I try to deflect it from student‑athletes.  It can get very personal and it can get dirty.  But, yeah, going into Adidas, it was hyped up a lot.  And you try to back it up with your performance, and that's always fun when you do that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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