Much attention has been paid this year to the emergence of the UW football and men’s basketball teams on the national stage. With both teams currently ranked in the top 10 nationally, the Badgers have forced themselves into the conversation of top programs in those two sports. If all goes according to plan, another UW squad will join that list. “We were in the top 10, both indoors and outdoors at nationals last year, and I think we want to move up at the NCAA level,” men’s track coach Ed Nuttycombe said. Chris Solinsky took Nuttycombe’s sentiments a step farther.“The first thing that comes to mind is to win a team NCAA championship,” the senior distance specialist said. “We have the personnel to do that this year, both indoor and outdoor. It is just a matter of putting the pieces together at the right time and coming through at the right time to do it.”Wisconsin starts the season off on the right track, so to speak, as it hopes its championship aspirations come to fruition. In the initial Trackwire 25 poll, Wisconsin came in third behind perennial powers Arkansas and Florida State.The indoor track season is strange: Between different events and the return to competition for the first time in a couple of months, different approaches toward the season arise among competitors and coaches. “The indoor season is really a transition period between getting back into your speed shape and getting your racing tactics sharpened up,” Solinsky said. “Some people take it more as a preseason (to outdoor season), but I take it pretty seriously.”And while no one in Madison would complain about an indoor season championship, Nuttycombe is quick to point out that the outdoor season is when the cream of the track crop rises to the top.“You train to try and do your best outdoors,” Nuttycombe said. “That as well as the … amount of training time makes the outdoor season a better competitive season and makes for better marks.”The UW team will be tested seriously two times by Minnesota and Indiana in the indoor season before the Big Ten Championship and National meets — first at the Wisconsin Elite Invite Jan. 27, then two weeks later at the Iowa State Classic.Badger Classic opens seasonIf there was any uncertainty entering the season about where Wisconsin would finish, the Badger Track Classic left little room for doubt. UW opened the season Jan. 12 and 13 by dominating the competition.The men’s track team won a total of eight event championships, as well as four second-place finishes despite many runners not running their signature events. “The first meet is always an important meet because you want to set a little bit of tempo and rhythm for the season,” Nuttycombe said. Redshirt freshman Nate Larkin was the faster half of a Badger duo that took the top two spots in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing three hundredths of a second ahead of teammate Adam Pischke. “I was particularly pleased with the two hurdlers: Adam Pischke and Aaron Larkin ran really well for early in the year,” Nuttycombe said. UW also captured the top two spots in both the high and long jumps and 400-meter dash. “I thought the two high jumpers (stood out with) … 209, which is basically 6-foot-9, which is very good for them,” Nuttycombe said.Starting the season off on top was a big goal for the Badgers.“If you have a good indoor season — you accomplish what you want to accomplish — then you are pumped up and looking forward to the outdoor season,” Solinsky said. Classic performanceWasting no time, Joe Detmer started the season off running, jumping and throwing. Detmer, a senior captain, opened the meet Jan. 12 in style by breaking the school record in the pentathlon.The pentathlon — an event held only in indoor track because it is not an official NCAA event — consists of the high jump, long jump, shot put, 60-meter hurdles and 1,000-meter run. “You need someone who, first and foremost, is athletic,” Nuttycombe said of pentathletes. “They don’t have to know all the events initially, but they have to be athletic. … They have to be very smart. … They have to want to do it. He’s got all the components.”Detmer, whom Nuttycombe believes could one day be a world-class decathlete, does it all for UW. Prior to becoming a multi-event athlete as a sophomore, Detmer ran for UW in the distance medley relay at the national meet as a freshman. On Day 2 of the Badger Track Classic, Detmer was part of the winning 4×400 relay team. “Joe’s a tremendous competitor. We joke around that he doesn’t get warmed up until he does seven events,” Solinsky said. Heading into the final event, the 1,000-meter run, Detmer knew he had to run a 2:35 or faster to set the record. “I was kind of keeping track (of my progress toward the record). … I knew I was pretty close,” Detmer said. He knew because Nuttycombe, unconcerned about laying additional pressure on Detmer, told him before his final race.“Joe likes pressure,” Nuttycombe said. “With one event to go [I told] him what he needed to do to break the record in an event he has a lot of confidence in.”Maybe the coach and athlete need to talk about that pressure issue a little more, because they certainly weren’t on the same page.“It was kind of scaring me, because I didn’t feel like I was in as good of shape this year as I was in previous years,” Detmer said of his thoughts going into the final race. “I didn’t really want that little extra pressure like ‘You have to run this to set the school record.’ I thought I could do it, but I wasn’t really sure until I got on the track.”Even so, Detmer, the recipient of added undue pressure, has left his legacy in Wisconsin sports lore.