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Morgan McDonald On What Led To His Four NCAA Titles At Wisconsin As A Senior

“Those races are weird now that I look back at them. Pretty much I feel like I entered the most intense flow state where my memories of them – I’m not going to say that they weren’t painful but I was just so accepting that they were going to be painful. I was willing to do whatever it took. I knew I was good enough to compete. I wasn’t going to let anyone beat me I suppose. Closing in 52 was a product of that. If you would’ve asked me, I wouldn’t say that I’m going to be able to close in a 52 but it was just on that day, that’s what I had to do to win. That’s kind of how it played out.

It was kind of an interesting chess battle between me and Grant. We’re actually very similar runners if you think about it. We’re both very strength-oriented with big kicks essentially, who can do well in the mile up to the 10K or whatever.

(Coach Mick Byrne) called how that race would go pretty well. It had been an interesting battle between us with who had the lead at the bell in a few of the races leading up to that. That had kind of decided some of the races during indoors. I think that’s more important indoors to have an early lead but I felt that Grant wanted to have the lead at the bell going into that outdoor 5K. If you watch the video, he really did. We jostled over that. Mick said that’s what’s going to happen and so sit on his shoulder. In the final 200, I go to his outside shoulder on the turn. I don’t really know why I was there but Mick told me to do that, so I did it. It just felt right. Coming down that last 100, I had an extra gear. That was exactly how Mick said I should play it. It turned out so perfect.”

Morgan McDonald, now a professional runner for Under Armour, joins the podcast to take us from his early running days on a club team in Australia to what ultimately led to his success as a Wisconsin Badger. In his senior year, McDonald won the 2018 NCAA cross country title, 2019 NCAA indoor 3,000m and 5,000m title and then took the NCAA outdoor 5,000m crown in one of the best duels we’ve seen in recent years.

McDonald owns personal bests of 3:54 for the mile and 13:15 for 5,000 meters. He represented Australia at the 2017 and 2019 world championships in the 5,000 meters.

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