Byrne is named Coach of the Year, Lihrman and Connor also honored
MADISON – Wisconsin director of cross country and track & field Mick Byrne, along with senior Reed Connor and junior Michael Lihrman earned Big Ten honors for the 2014 indoor season, the conference office announced Tuesday.
Byrne was announced as Big Ten Men's Coach of the Year, while Connor was named Big Ten Men's Track Athlete of the Year. Lihrman took home two accolades, as the junior was tabbed as Big Ten Men's Field Athlete of the Year and Men's Field Athlete of the Championships.
After being named the Big Ten cross country coach of the year five times during his career, Byrne was named the league's indoor track coach of the year after guiding Wisconsin to its second straight Big Ten indoor title last weekend at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Byrne's award marks the 12th time a Badgers head coach has earned the honor, joining 11-time recipient Ed Nuttycombe.
Connor won the 3000 meters and finished second in the 5000 meters at the Big Ten meet. He has the nation's fastest time in the 5000 meters at 13:37.42, which is the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. He is the first Badger to collect the honor since Brandon Bethke in 2008.
Lihrman broke the NCAA Division I record in the weight throw last month with a heave of 79 feet, 7 1/2 inches, which is currently the best throw in the world. He went on to break the meet record at the Big Ten championships with a winning throw of 78-0 1/4, the second-best throw in league history.
Lihrman has all six meets in which he has competed in this year and has broken his school record in the event four times. He is the second Badger in the last three years to sweep Field Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Championships, joining teammate Japheth Cato, who won both awards in 2012.
In addition, senior Babatunde Awosika was picked as UW's men's honoree for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. Awosika was a part of UW's 4x400 relay team, which finished fifth, and placed eighth in the 200 meters.
On the women's side, junior Courtney Walden earned the Badgers' nod for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
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