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LetsRun.com
Solinsky admits 2004 Wisco XC team "kind of choked" while Bairu says "we were overly confident and maybe not as focused"
One of the bigger mysteries since the creation of LetsRun.com has been, 'How in the hell did the 2004 Wisconsin XC team not win the NCAA title?

In case you are under the age of 30, here is the team's credentials.

Wisconsin's 2004 Dream Team
Finish At NCAAs/PR At The Time/Eventual PR

1 (1 team). Simon Bairu - 13:45/28:28 - (Jr)
11 (9). Matt Tegenkamp - 13:30 - (Sr) - 12:58/27:28
16 (11). Chris Solinsky - 13:42 - (So) - 12:55/26:59
47 (34). Tim Keller - 13:47 - (Sr) - 13:47
54 (39). Bobby Lockhart - 8:01/29:11 - (jJ?) - 13:54/29:07
88 (63). Josh Spiker - 3:42 - (Sr) - 3:40
101 (74). Tim Nelson - 14:03/29:11 - (So) - 13:20/27:28

Left Off Team:
Matt Withrow - Freshman - Footlocker Champ - Would make US senior Men's xc team that winter where he was the #1 US finisher. Eventual PRs: 13:35/28:26.

To recap, the 2004 Wisconsin NCAA xc team featured eventual two-time NCAA XC champ Simon Bairu, eventual sub-13:00 runners Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky, eventual 27:28 man Tim Nelson, a 13:47 guy at the time in Tim Keller, and the guy who would be the top American finisher at World Cross-Country that winter in Matt Withrow, who was left off the squad via a redshirt. The 2004 Wisconsin "Dream Team" had 4 guys who had run 13:47 and a 5th man who had run 29:11 in an era that wasn't nearly as competitive as today and yet they didn't win. . That "Dream Team" lost to Colorado 90 to 94.

Today, Simon Bairu and Chris Solinsk had some comments about that team as Bairu is being inducted into the Wisconsin hall of fame. Here's what they said.

UW badgers.com wrote:

"In our eyes we'd kind of choked," said Chris Solinsky, a UW Hall of Fame inductee in 2017, a five-time national titlist who was a year behind Bairu.

"We were overly confident and maybe not as focused as we could have been," Bairu said. "It was devastating. We should have dominated that race and we didn't."

Bairu said the lesson was not to take anything for granted.

"I never realized how much I wanted the team title until '04 because I won the individual title in '04 and our team lost," he said. "There was just something in me that wouldn't allow me to celebrate. The guys were celebrating for me, but I just had this empty feeling in my stomach."


Update: I guess it only makes sense to list the credentials of the Colorado team that edged them by 4 points.

Colorado's 2004 Winning Team
Finish At NCAAs/PR At The Time/Eventual PR
4 (4). Brent Vaughn - So. 8:07/14:18 - 13:18
5 (5). Bret Schoolmeester- Jr. 13:50 - 13:39
21 (15). Jon Severy -Sr. 14:22?/30:18? - 14:10
44 (31). Stephen Pifer - Fr (redshirt) 8:04 - 13:33
49 (35). James Strang - Fr. 4:11/9:18 from HS - 13:44
80 (56). Jared Scott - Sr. 14:22?/30:18?
121 (91). Brad Harkrader - Fr 4:18/9:15 or 9:05 - 13:54

The quotes from the Wisco guys came from the following article:

http://uwbadgers.com/news/2018/7/10/general-baggot-2018-uw-athletics-hall-of-fame-simon-bairu.aspx

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