Male athletes of the year
Chris Solinsky (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)
Chris Solinsky (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)
BadgerNation.com
Posted Jul 9, 2006


The same two distance runners headline Badger Nation’s male athletes of the year that led the inaugural list a year ago. This time around, however, the order is flipped. Also for the second consecutive year, the track and field and cross country programs dominate these awards.

No. 1 — Chris Solinsky, junior, cross country/track and field

Solinsky was a three-time national champion in 2005-06, winning two individual titles and one team title. Individually he defended his national title in the 3,000 meters (7:59.68) at the NCAA Indoors, winning by nearly five seconds, and he won the 5,000 at the NCAA Outdoors in 14:11.71. Solinsky became the first UW track athlete to repeat a national title since Mark Winzenried in 1971. He also placed third in the 5,000 meters at NCAA Indoors (13:52.47), giving him 16 of UW’s 22 points to lead the Badgers to a seventh-place finish as a team. The Big Ten Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, Solinsky won individual championships and set meet records at the Big Ten Indoors in the 3,000 (7:54.73) and 5,000 (13:51.34). That earned him Athlete of the Indoor Big Ten Championships honors. He was also named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association indoor track athlete of the year for the Great Lakes Region. An integral part of the Badgers’ NCAA Champion cross country team, Solinsky placed third individually at the NCAA meet with a time of 29:27.8. Solinsky was second at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships (23:56.38). He won a Big Ten title in the 1,500 outdoors in 3:43.78. During outdoor track season, he became the second runner to ever run a sub-four-minute mile within the state of Wisconsin, finishing in 3:57.80 at the Wisconsin Twilight, just behind former Badger Matt Tegenkamp (3:56.38). Solinsky now has 11 career All-American honors to his credit (three in cross country, six in indoor track and two in outdoor track), the most in UW history for cross country/track and field. His eight All-American honors on the track is also a school record.

No. 2 – Simon Bairu, senior, cross country/track and field

Bairu defended his individual title at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and helped lead the Badgers to the team national championship. Won the event in Terre Haute, Ind. in 29:15.9, defeating Iona’s Richard Kiplagat by six seconds… Named U.S. Track Coaches Association National Athlete of the Year and Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year… Won the Canadian Men’s Cross Country National Championship for the third consecutive year. Also won the Big Ten cross country individual championship (23:31.73) for the third consecutive year, helping the Badgers to their seventh consecutive team conference title… Placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters (29:00.03). Finished second at the Big Ten Outdoors in the 10,000 (29:00.03).

No. 3 – Brian Elliott, junior goalie, hockey

Part of the “Hobey Baker Hat Trick” as one of three finalists for college hockey’s player of the year… Compiled a 27-5-3 record to lead the nation in victories and winning percentage (.814). He also led the nation in goals-against average and save percentage and shared the national lead in shutouts… Set school single-season records with a 1.55 goals-against average (second in WCHA history), .938 save percentage (second in WCHA history), eight shutouts (tied WCHA record), five WCHA shutouts (third in WCHA history) and a 269:52 shutout streak, which was also a WCHA record. That streak included a shutout of then top-ranked Minnesota in the WCHA tournament third-place game, which gave the Badgers the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Elliott followed that with back-to-back shutouts in the NCAA Midwest Regional: a 4-0 win over Bemidji State and an epic 1-0 triple-overtime win over Cornell. He was named Most Outstanding Player for the regional… Elliott was an incredible 15-1-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage against ranked foes and posted a similarly astounding 11-0-1, 1.33 and .952 against top five clubs… He was clearly the best player in college hockey before a knee injury sidelined him for about a month. But he overcame that ailment and helped lead the Badgers to their first NCAA Championship in 16 years. He was voted the NCAA Frozen Four’s top goaltender and a consensus first-team All-American, but somewhat bizarrely was second-team All-WCHA… In league-only games, he led the conference in goals-against average (1.84) and save percentage (.930), and tied for the league lead in wins (15) and winning percentage (.786)… Was CSTV national player of the month twice and WCHA Defensive Player of the Week five times. With just one year as UW’s full-time goaltender, Elliott already owns the schools career shutout record, with 11. He is also UW’s current career leader in save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (1.56).

No. 4 — Brian Calhoun, junior tailback, football

Second-team All-American and consensus first-team All-Big Ten… MVP of the Capital One Bowl after running for 213 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries… He set school single-season records with 22 rushing touchdowns, 24 total touchdowns (the sixth-most in Big Ten history) and 348 rushing attempts… His 53 receptions and 571 receiving yards are by far the most in a single season for any UW running back. Became just the second player in the NCAA Division I history to have at least 1,500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a single season. Became the first player in UW history to have at least 100 yards rushing and receiving in a single game, when he had 122 rushing and 128 receiving versus Northwestern… Had 1,636 rushing yards, the fifth-most in UW history. His 2,207 all-purpose yards is second-best in school history… He led the nation in total touches (401), was fifth in rushing yards (125.9 per game), fifth in scoring (11.1 points per game) and sixth in all-purpose yards (169.8 per game)… Was twice named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. In Big Ten games, Calhoun led the conference in scoring (10.5 points per game), was fifth in rushing (100.4 yards per game), fifth in receptions (5.5) and third in all-purpose yardage (159.2).

No. 5 — Alando Tucker, junior forward, basketball

First-team All-Big Ten selection. Led Big Ten in scoring in conference games, averaging 20.0 points per contest. His 6.2 rebounds per conference game was 10th in the league and he was eighth in offensive rebounding (2.56 per game)… Overall he led the Badgers with 19.0 points and 2.4 offensive rebounds per game and was second with 5.7 total rebounds and 33.4 minutes per game… He was named MVP of the Paradise Jam Tournament… His 588 points were the fifth-most in a single season in UW history and he set a Badger record with 233 free-throw attempts. He finished the season seventh on UW’s all-time career scoring list with 1,501 points and third on its offensive rebounding list (236)

No. 6 – Demi Omole, junior sprinter, track and field

On April 11 Omole established a new UW record in the 100 meters, completing the distance in 10.11 seconds. On May 26 he obliterated that mark, running the 100 in a scorching 9.96 seconds in the preliminaries of the NCAA Mideast Regional. The 9.96 is the third-fastest 100-meter time in the world this year. He placed second in the 100 in the Mideast Regional final in 10.24 and third at the NCAA Championships in 10.21… Omole won the 100 meters at the Big Ten Outdoors for the third consecutive year — his 10.29-second time was 0.13 ahead of the runner-up — and anchored the Big Ten Champion 400 relay for the third consecutive year (40.28). He finished the Big Ten Outdoors with 28 points towards UW’s championship-winning total, after placing second in the 200 at 21.08... Placed third in the 60 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships (6.64). Set Big Ten record in the 60 meters (6.62) during indoor track season. Also set a Big Ten Indoor Championships record in the 60 (6.67) during preliminaries of the conference meet. Won Big Ten Indoors individual title in the 60 in 6.70 and placed fourth in the 200 (21.85).

No. 7 – Brandon Williams, senior wide receiver, football

Second-team All-American and second-team All-Big Ten selection… Set UW career receptions record with 202… His 59 receptions and 1,095 receiving yards in 2005 both rank third on UW’s single-season list… Averaged 28 yards per kick return and 14.6 yards per punt return, forcing opponents to go to great lengths to kick the ball away from him. Finished eighth in the NCAA with 164.5 all-purpose yards per game and third in UW history with 2,138 all-purpose yards… Was No. 31 in the nation in receiving yardage (84.2 per game). In conference-only games, Williams led the Big Ten in receiving yards (90.0), all-purpose yardage (177.9) and punt return average (13.8). He was seventh in kick return average (24.7), tied for ninth in scoring (4.5) and seventh in receptions (5.1)… His eight touchdowns (six receiving, two on punt returns) placed him tied for third on the team in scoring. The only UW player to have four 500-yard receiving seasons. Second on school’s career receiving yardage list with 2,924… His 2,349 career kickoff return yards is second in Big Ten history. UW special teams player of the year.

No. 8 – Tom Gilbert, senior defenseman, hockey

Second-team American Hockey Coaches Association and InsideCollegeHockey.com All-American… The only Badger who was named first-team All-WCHA… Scored the NCAA-Championship-winning goal against Boston College. Named to Frozen Four All-Tournament team and NCAA Midwest All-Region team… Assistant captain on first national champion men’s hockey team since 1990… Was 18th in the nation in scoring among defensemen (0.72 points per game)… Fourth at UW with 31 points, 19 assists and 12 goals... In league-only games, he was tied for second in the WCHA among defensemen with 24 points and he led all WCHA defensemen with 10 goals. Was tied for 11th among all players in power-play points with 16 (five goals, 11 assists)… Tied a school record for power-play points in a period with four in the first period of a 9-1 rout of Colorado College Jan. 14, which led to an InsideCollegeHockey.com national player of the week honor… Finished his career fifth at UW with 162 career games played on the blue line. Gilbert led the Badgers with a +28 rating.

No. 9 – Tom Clum, senior, wrestling

Clum won a Big Ten Championship at 133 pounds and placed fifth at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors. Second on the team with 47 dual-meet points. Was 19-4 overall, 10-2 in dual meets and 6-1 in Big Ten duals.

No. 10 – Joe Thomas, junior left tackle, football

A first-team All-American according to Pro Football Weekly and second-team according to the Walter Camp Foundation. Consensus first-team All-Big Ten. Lombardi Award semifinalist… One of the top offensive lineman in the country last season, Thomas is projected as a top five pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Thomas tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing defensive line in the Capital One Bowl.

No. 11 – Tim Nelson, junior, cross country/track and field

He earned All-American honors in cross country with his 18th-place finish at NCAA Championships (30:06.4). Also earned All-American honors in indoor and outdoor track. He placed sixth at NCAA Outdoors in the 10,000 (28:50.34) and 11th at the NCAA Indoors in the 5,000 (14:14.16)… Finished eighth individually at Big Ten Cross Country Championships (24:27.28). Placed fourth at the Big Ten Indoors in the 5,000 (14:09.45). Finished third in the Big Ten Outdoors in the 10,000 (29:09.48).

No. 12 – John Stocco, junior quarterback, football

Enjoyed the most prolific passing season of any quarterback in Badger history. Set UW season records for passing yards (2,920), passing touchdowns (21) and completions (197). His 328 pass attempts is the second-highest total in school history. Finished season 13th in the NCAA in pass efficiency at 150.5… In conference-only games Stocco was fourth in the Big Ten in passing yardage (249.2 per game), sixth in total offense (241.4) and third in pass efficiency (141.8)… He ran for two touchdowns, including a game-winning four-yard quarterback draw against Michigan. UW is 19-6 in his two seasons as the starting quarterback. He has not missed a game in those two years. He is No. 3 on UW’s all-time passing yardage list at 5,042.

No. 13 – Joe Pavelski, sophomore forward, hockey

Named second-team All-America by USCHO.com, InsideCollegeHockey.com and the American Hockey Coaches Association. Also second-team All-WCHA… Led the Badgers in assists (33) and points (56) for the second consecutive year and was second in goals (23). In WCHA-only games, Pavelski was fourth in the league in scoring (39 points), third in assists (24), tied for sixth in goals (15), fourth in power-play points (21), tied for fourth in power-play goals (8) and fourth in game-winning goals (4)… He was 16th in the nation in points (1.30 per game), 21st in assists (0.77), and 23rd in goals (0.53). Two-time WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

No. 14 – Stuart Eagon, redshirt freshman, cross country/track and field

Placed 17th at NCAA Cross Country Championships to earn All-American honors (30:05.3). Also earned All-American acclaim for his ninth-place showing in the 10,000 meters at NCAA Outdoor Track Championships and his 12th-place finish in the 5,000 (14:14.43) at the NCAA Indoor Championships… Placed fourth at Big Ten Cross Country Championships (24:07.08). Was second in the Big Ten Outdoors (14:01.32) and sixth at the Big Ten Indoors in the 5,000 (14:15.98).

No. 15 — Matt Withrow, redshirt freshman, cross country/track and field

Big Ten Freshman of the Year in cross country. Placed ninth at NCAA Cross Country Championships (29:50.7) to earn All-American honors; was top freshman at NCAAs. He placed third at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships (24:06.58). Placed fifth in the Big Ten Outdoors in the 5,000 (14:15.30).

No. 16 – Robbie Earl, junior forward, hockey

Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player after registering three goals and an assist in two games in Milwaukee… Led the Badgers with 24 goals and was tied for 11th in the nation with 0.57 goals per game. Second at UW with 26 assists and 50 points. Had seven power-play goals and five game-winners… In Western Collegiate Hockey Association games, Earl was tied for eighth in the league with 14 goals and 32 points, tied for ninth with 18 assists, 14th in power player scoring (14 points) and tied for fifth in game-winning goals (3).

No. 17 – Adam Burish, senior forward, hockey

His statistics do not leap off the page, but the effect Adam Burish had on the NCAA Champion Wisconsin men’s hockey team is immeasurable. He will forever be known as the captain that led the Badgers to their first national title in 16 years, and helped his senior class erase the memories of one of the worst seasons in UW history — their freshman campaign — with one of the best. Burish, who was also the team captain as a junior, was productive in a tangible sense as well. A first-line winger, Burish was third on the team in assists (24) and points (33). He was named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament team. His two short-handed goals gave him nine for his career, third-best on UW’s career list, and his short-handers in WCHA games is tied for first in a Badger career. His +21 ranking was second at UW this season.

No. 18 — Joe Detmer, junior, track and field

Placed fourth at NCAA Outdoor Championships in the decathlon with a personal-best 7,565 points. He won the decathlon 1,500 meters in a personal-record time of 4:11.71 and won the decathlon 400 in a personal-best 47.28… Placed second at Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the decathlon (7,195).

No. 19 — Alonzo Moore, senior jumper, track and field

U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Great Lakes Region Men’s Field Event Athlete of the Year… Won the NCAA Mideast Regional triple jump at 52-1 ¾… Won a Big Ten Championship in the outdoor triple jump in 53-6. Was fourth in the Big Ten Outdoors in the long jump (24-1 1/2). Placed fourth in the long jump (24-5 ½) and second in the triple jump at the Big Ten Indoors (51-0)… Finished 10th in the triple jump at NCAA Indoors at 51-4 ½.

No. 20 – Craig Henning, sophomore, wrestling

Placed eighth at the NCAA Championships at 157 pounds to earn All-American honors. Finished 29-10 overall with a 7-1 record in Big Ten duals. Earned a team-best 52 points in dual meets. Finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships.

Honorable mention (alphabetical by sport)

Kammron Taylor, junior point guard, basketball – Honorable mention all-conference. Badgers’ second-leading scorer (14.2 points per game), Taylor led the team in free-throw percentage (82.9, 10th on UW’s single-season list), 3-point percentage (39.9), 3-pointers (67, tied for eighth-most in UW history), 3-point attempts (168), minutes (34.3 per game and 1,064 total) and assists (73) and was second in steals (24), free throws made (92) and attempted (111) and field goals made (140) and attempted (364). He had seven 20-point games. Taylor’s 82.7 percent free-throw shooting in Big Ten only games was seventh-best in the conference and he was eighth in minutes played (36.1 per game).

Ken DeBauche, sophomore punter, football – One of the nation’s best punters. Consensus first-team All-Big Ten. Averaged 44.8 yards per punt (eighth in the nation) while placing 22 of 57 attempts inside the 20. Only five of his punts went for touchbacks. DeBauche led the Big Ten with a 44.4-yard average in conference-only games. Wisconsin was 12th in the nation in net punting (37.6) and first in the Big Ten (39.5).

Garrett Jones, junior, golf – Tied for eighth at Big Ten Championships. His 73.08 scoring average is second in school history, behind the 72.74 record he set as a sophomore. Either first or second among UW golfers at every event this spring and never finished lower than 22nd at a spring tournament. Tied for fourth at the Fossum Invitational with a 54-hole 215.

Jeff Kaiser, sophomore, golf – Tied for eighth at the Big Ten Championships. Had a 74.44 scoring average.

Ross Carlson, junior forward, hockey – Integral to UW’s run to the NCAA Championship. He had a goal and an assist in 5-2 win over Maine in Frozen Four semifinal. Was tied for 24th in the WCHA in goals (9) in league-only games. Sixth at UW with 23 points and fifth with 11 goals.

Kyle Klubertanz, sophomore defenseman, hockey – WCHA Final Five All-Tournament team. Tied for fifth at UW with 17 assists and tied for seventh with 21 points. Tied for ninth in the conference in league-only scoring by a defenseman with 15 points.

Victor Diaz, redshirt freshman forward, soccer – Unanimous Big Ten All-Freshmen team selection. Also a second-team All-Big Ten choice. Led the Badgers with 16 points with a team-high seven goals plus two assists. Team Offensive Most Valuable Player.

Aaron Hohlbein, junior defender/midfielder, soccer – First-team All-Big Ten selection. Had two goals and two assists for six points. Team Defensive Most Valuable Player.

Nolan Polley, sophomore, tennis – Went 30-10 as Badgers’ No. 2 singles player, the most wins for a UW tennis player in 15 years. Polley won the Big Ten singles title during the fall season. Team co-MVP. Was 17-5 during the spring season, including a 9-2 mark in the Big Ten.

Jeremy Sonkin, sophomore, tennis – Unanimous All-Big Ten selection. Went 26-12 as Badgers’ No. 1 singles player. Team co-MVP. Was 16-7 during the spring season, including a 7-5 mark in the Big Ten. Led Big Ten men’s tennis players with three athlete of the week honors.

Nathan Brown, senior, track and field – Won the heptathlon at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with 5,304 points and won the decathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a personal-best 7,507. Placed second at the Big Ten Outdoors in the open javelin (209-0). Among the honorable mention athletes listed here, Brown was the closest to cracking the top 20.

Antony Ford, senior, cross country/track and field – Earned All-American honors in cross country with 14th-place finish at NCAA meet (29:55.2). Finished sixth at Big Ten cross country championships (24:24.63). Placed seventh at the Big Ten Indoors in the 5,000 (14:16.08). Was eighth in the 10,000 at the Big Ten Outdoors (29:54.11).

Ben Gregory, senior, cross country/track and field – Placed ninth individually at conference cross country meet (24:34.03). Member of distance medley relay team that placed 11th in 9:55.08 at NCAA Indoors. Was 11th overall in preliminaries for the mile run at the NCAA Indoors (4:03.62), a half-second shy of qualifying for the finals. Finished second in the mile at the Big Ten Indoors (4:15.04). Placed fourth in the 1,500 at Big Ten Outdoors (3:47.77).

Chad Melotte, junior, track and field – Finished third in the 400 at the Big Ten Indoors in a personal-best 47.97. Member of 1,600 relay that finished fourth at Big Ten Indoors (3:16.33). Member of distance medley relay team that placed 11th in 9:55.08 at NCAA Indoors. Member of Big Ten Champion 400 relay (40.28). Placed seventh in the 400 at the Big Ten Outdoors (47.64).

Ben Roland, senior, track and field – Placed second in the heptathlon at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with 5,159 points and third in the decathlon at the Big Ten Outdoors with 6,964. Seventh in the javelin at the Big Ten Outdoors (183-7).

Christian Wagner, redshirt freshman, cross country/track and field – Placed 58th at NCAA Championships in cross country (30:35.7). Placed seventh at Big Ten cross country championships (24:26.23). Finished sixth at the Big Ten Indoors in the 3,000. Placed sixth in the Big Ten Outdoors in the 5,000 (14:16.08).

James Groce, freshman, track and field – Placed third in the 600 at the Big Ten Indoors in a personal-record 1:18.10. Member of 1,600 relay that finished fourth at Big Ten Indoors (3:16.33).

Codie See, junior, track and field – Third in the 3,000 steeplechase at Big Ten Outdoors (8:55.08).

Zach McCollum, junior, track and field – Third in the high jump (6-10 ¼) at Big Ten Outdoors.

Tom Molzahn, junior, swimming – Big Ten Championships: third place in the 800 freestyle relay (6:34.75); fifth-place 200 freestyle relay (1:20.11); fifth place individually in the 500 freestyle (4:22.71); sixth-place 400 freestyle relay (2:58.39). Team MVP.



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