In-state product continues to make history

first_imgAfter winning eight state championships at Stevens Point Area Senior High School, it was naturally assumed that UW track and cross country star Chris Solinsky would stay close to home to pursue his college career. However, Solinsky wasn’t thinking that way.”I wanted to get as far away from home as possible,” Solinsky said. “I had five schools in mind, Wisconsin being one of them. But I really wanted to get out of this state and see what was out there for me.”After narrowing down his choices to Michigan, Stanford, Oregon, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, Solinsky decided he would take the hour-and-a-half drive south from Stevens Point to check things out.The rest was history, which also happens to be his major.”Things just clicked on my visit here,” Solinsky said. “I kind of knew after my visit here, but I still wanted to keep my options open when I went to the other schools. Meeting the coaches and guys on the team, … it felt a lot like high school.”I felt like I could be comfortable here, so that’s why I came.”Solinsky fit in right away.Two months into his freshman year, he was the top freshman finisher at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, and the second-best UW runner with a 15th place finish. His time was good enough to earn him an All-American honor. But he didn’t stop there. The following spring, Solinsky earned two more All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor meet, finishing 6th in the 3,000 meters and 8th as a member of the distance medley relay team.In one year, he garnered three All-American honors. “It’s pretty unbelievable when you think about it,” Solinsky said.Over the next two and a half years, the senior went on to earn 10 more All-American honors between cross country and track, two of which came just three weeks ago when he took second in the 3,000 meters and won his first 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In sum, he has three Big Ten titles, four individual NCAA titles and two national championships, one in track and one in cross country.However, Solinsky said he never pays too much attention to all his awards — not even his recent Track Athlete of the Year honor. He just tries to be the best runner he can.”You never think about this kind of stuff when you come in,” Solinsky said. “Each one of those national championships have such a unique feeling. These last three, I went out there to try to establish myself as a great runner. I want everyone I race against to know that if they want to beat me then they have to be a great runner.”Although Solinsky has established himself as a great runner, there is still one race he wished he could have back.After finishing third overall at the 2005 NCAA cross country race, Solinsky was looked to as the obvious favorite the following season in his last collegiate cross country race. But come race day, Solinsky was subpar, finishing fifth on the team and 73rd overall with a time of 32:15, almost three full minutes slower than the year before.”I think that made him hungry,” said UW track and field head coach Ed Nuttycombe. “He was embarrassed, and it made him hungry to get back out there for the track season. Chris is an awful good cross country runner, but he’s just simply better at track.”Solinsky couldn’t agree more with his coach.”I would probably agree with that,” Solinsky said of his revival during track season. “In high school, I was better at cross country. But being a bigger guy out there, it’s easier for me to excel on the track than out on the cross country course.”With only one season left and the NCAA outdoor meet a mere two months away, Solinsky is preparing for whatever comes next in his running career.”I’m going to keep pursuing it as long as I can,” Solinsky said. “I keep telling people that as long as I’m able to run, I’m going to run. This summer is the world championships in Japan, so we’ll see what happens. I know I have it in me — we’ll just have to see what happens.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *