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March 14, 1994 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-14

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8 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 14, 1994

'M' track ends stellar season
Women take seventh place at NCAA Championships

The Finish
Lines

01

By DOUG STEVENS
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
INDIANAPOLIS -For the
Michigan women's track and field
team, winning the Big Ten title was
its mission. Anything beyond that
would be an added bonus. This week-
end, the Wolverines went to the
NCAA Championships, to conclude,
in style, a season which has brought
the program both national respect and
a conference title.
Michigan put the finishing touches
on its championship season, finishing
seventh in the nation with 23 points.
Louisiana State won the title with 48
points.
Fourrunners achieved All-Ameri-
can status in individual events, and
the distance medley relay team lived
up to its No. 1 seed by running away
with the national championship.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of
the weekend came from Karen Harvey
in the mile run. Harvey came into the
meet unsure of herself. After achiev-
ing a personal best time of 4:45.30 in
the preliminaries and narrowly quali-
fying for the finals, she improved on
her performance by running a strong
4:44.56, good enough for eighth in
the nation and All-American status.

Courtney Babcock were the second
and third seeds, respectively.
However, after leading the pack during
the fourth kilometer, Babcock
stumbled and lost her balance. As a
result, she had to settle for fourth.
"I don't think I got bumped,"
Babcock said. "I was just too close to
the rail and stepped on it a couple of
times and couldn't regain my balance.
So I stepped off the track."
McClimon also did not run her
best in the 5000 as she came through
with a fifth place finish.
"I was happy to score. I was a little
disappointed with my overall perfor-
mance, but you can't run your best
every time," McClimon said.
In the distance medley relay,
Babcock and McClimon had a great
opportunity to forget about the
disappointment of the 5000 by
capturing the national title. The relay

team, which also included Kristine
Westerby and Richelle Webb, lived
up to its top-seed, winning by a com-
fortable five second margin.
"This win definitely makes up for
what happened yesterday (in the
5000)," McClimon said.
In the high jump, Linda Stuck and
Monika Black finished 10th and 11th,
respectively. Although they both
jumped at levels consistent with what
they had been doing most of the
season, the fact that they didn't rise to
the next level in the NCAAs was a
definite source of disappointment.
In the 200 meters, Tearza Johnson
came in fourth place in her prelimi-
nary with a time of 24.78, failing to
qualify for the final.
"Tearza, Black and Stuck all came
in and competed well for being in
their first national meet," assistant
coach Patty Davis said.

Distance medley relay passes
Alabama, Hoyas, wins NCAA title

Westerby
"I wanted to make the finals,"
Harvey said. "I didn't believe in
myself at first but since I had a personal
best in the heat, I figured I had nothing
to lose in the final."
Like Harvey, Chris Szabo also
achieved All-American status. After
having her preliminary race canceled
on Friday, Szabo ran at a relaxed and
conservative pace before finishing
strongly in the last half-mile to place
sixth.
"Itbettered my mentality andmade
me more confident only having to
race once," Szabo said.
The 5000 meters didn't go as well
as expected forthe Wolverines. Going
intp the race, Molly McClimon and

By BRIAN SKLAR
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
INDIANAPOLIS - For two
Michigan distance medley relay team
members, it was a happy end to their
indoor careers. For the other two, it
was an honor that they will carry into
next season. But for the entire dis-
tance medley team, its win at the
NCAA Indoor Championships at the
HoosierDome Saturday was an inspi-
rational effort.
The champion medley team, com-
prised of Kristine Westerby, Richelle
Webb, Molly McClimon and
Courtney Babcock - as well as the
other Wolverines representing the
Michigan women's track and field
team at the championships - com-
peted with the thought of assistant
coach Mike McGuire on their minds.
McGuire, a former Michigan track
standout, left the team in Indianapolis
on Friday with news that his father
had passed away.
"We wanted to win for Mike since
he wasn't here," Westerby said. "We
had a lot of motivation."
The team was also motivated to
win in order to prove that their top
seed in the meet was deserved. Com-
ing off disappointing finishes in the
5,000 meter run on. Friday, some
people considered Babcock and
McClimon overrated.
"Some people thought me and
Courtney choked (in the 5,000),"
McClimon said. "But we proved that

we're the best relay team in the coun-
try."
The team finished with a comfort-
able lead. Its time of 11:08.60 was
nearly five seconds faster than run-
ner-up Georgetown. However, the
team did not have this comfort zone
for most of the race.
From the onset of the event, the
Wolverines battled for the lead with
Georgetown and Alabama. Westerby,
who ran the first leg, knew the impor-
tance of starting off strong for the
team.
"I just wanted to get us in good
position," Westerby said. "If we didn't
have at least the third or fourth posi-
tion, then it would be over."
Westerby finished the 800-meter
leg in third place, handing off to Webb,
who ran the 400-meter leg. Webb,
though, was not nervous about start-
ing in third place.
"I wasn't worried too much about
time," Westerby said. "I knew if I ran
smart the people behind me would do
their jobs."
McClimon, the third member of
the team, ran the 1,200 meter leg and
maintained the team's third place po-
sition. Even though she was not "as
fresh as when (the team) qualified,"
she was confident that the team would
win the event.
"I knew if I handed off near the
lead, Courtney would be able to
take care of the rest," McClimon
said.
Babcock received the baton from
McClimon with the 1600-meter leg
of the heat to go. She immediately
passed Vicky Lynch of Alabama and
eventually caught up to Georgetown's
Joline Staeheli to take the lead for
good.
"I just tried to pick it up gradually
and close on the leaders," Babcock
said. "I kept pretending everyone was
on my heels. We really wanted to win
this one."
PRINTING
HIGHQUALITY
LOW PRICES
d% is bWUM Atd*rft

Courtney Babcock takes

Men's track finishes
16th at NCAA, meet,

By ELISA SNEED
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
INDIANAPOLIS - Six mem-
bers of the Big Ten champion
Michigan men's track team quali-
fied at various meets throughout the
season for the NCAA Champion-
ships. This weekend at the Hoosier
Dome, in front of a crowd of 17,954,
they got to compete with the best in
the nation.
"It was a really great experience
knowing that you're competing
against the best,"juniorNick Karfonta
said of his first trip to the two-day
meet.
Friday, freshman Neil Gardner ran
in the preliminaries and semi-finals
of the 55-meter hurdles but missed
qualifying for the final heat. His times
of 7.43 seconds in the prelims and
7.47 in the semis were both slower
than his NCAA qualifying time of
7.28.
Robert Foster, the Fresno State
senior who went on to win the event,
posted a time of 7.11 - the fastest
mark by a collegiate runner this
season.
Gardner indicated that part of the
problem may have been that he wasn't
quite ready when he ran.
"My only thought is that they held
us a bit long around the back before
we came out," he said. "When we get
out we're just ready to go and we
didn't really have a chance to warm
up.
Sophomore Jon Royce also com-
peted Friday, finishing a non-scor-
ing ninth in the finals of the men's
high jump. Royce's best jump this
season came at the Central Colle-
giate Championships when he
cleared the bar at 7' 3 1/4". This
weekend however, Royce did not
fare as well, jumping only 7' 1 3/4"
before faulting out at 7' 3".
Royce did receive All-American
honors, though. The top eight finish-
ers in an event are automatically All-
Americans, but in the high jump, one
of the athletes was not an American
citizen which meant he could not re-

JOE WESTRATE/Daily
the baton from teammate Molly McClimon.

ceive the accolade. That put Royce
among the top-eight Americans in the
event.
The winner of the event was Randy
Jenkins from Tennessee, whojumped
7' 7".
While the first day of competition
ended with Michigan scoreless, the
second day did bring some success to
the Wolverines.
Kevin Sullivan improved on his
time in the mile prelims, running
4:00.83. It was only enough for a
third-place finish behind second-
place Providence's Andrew Keith
(4:00.55) and Arkansas' Niall
Bruton (3:59.34), who celebrated
by slowing down to almost a walk at
the finish line, and then running a
victory lap.
"It bothered me a little," Sullivan
said of Bruton's behavior following
the event. "He won the national cham-
pionship, so it's acceptable for him to
be excited, but the victory lap and all
the commotion really were not called
for."
The distance medly relay team of
Karfonta, sophomore Trinity
Townsend, Scott MacDonald and
Sullivan also finished third (9:41.15)
behind Arkansas, who posted a new
world record (9:31.17), and Seton Hall
(9:38.97).
"We competed real well," Sullivan
said. "We were never out of it. We
were always in the pack."
MacDonald, Michigan's only meet
veteran, added that inexperience may
have affected them.
"We didn't quite get it together
like before," he said. "We didn't re-
ally have much experience ... it's a
really new experience running in a
national championship."
Despite holding the world record
prior to this weekend's- meet, the
members of the team said that they
didn't feel any pressure to win.
"Arkansas hadn't run a good race
yet, so we sort of knew they'd be the
team to beat," MacDonald said. "A.
lot of people were watching us,
though."
"There wasn't really any pressure
because Arkansas was the favorite,"
he said. "We had the best time, but we
were considered underdogs."
Even though they finished tied for
16th, the team's positive attitude has
it looking ahead.
"Wejust came out to run as hard as
we could," Townsend said. "We'll be
back next year, and the year after
that."

Michigan
men have
bright future
By TOM SEELEY
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
INDIANAPOLIS - Confident,
young, hugely talented and successful.
Sound like the Fab Five?
Well, it is, but it's not what you're
thinking.
This group of talented youngsters
meets the above criteria, but they've
never even touched a basketball, or
any ball for that matter.
Trinity Townsend, Jon Royce, Neil
Gardner, Scott MacDonald and Kevin
Sullivan are the men's track team's
quintet of the future.
Granted, only two of them are
freshmen and you don't really think@
"recruiting hype," when someone says
track and field. But together they are
the ones who will lead the Wolver-
ines to any promised land that they
might see in upcoming years.
Two weeks ago, these five led the
team to its first Big Ten title since
1982,and their success has surprised
everyone, including their coach.
"We knew they were good," Wol-
verine coach Jack Harvey said. "But
we weren't sure how good."
Townsend - the 600-meter cham-
pion at the Central Collegiate meet- is
the most charismatic of the group and
has been trying all year to establish a
new, looser atmosphere for the team.
"People don't highlight personality
in track and field," he said. "Basketball
players have personality, it's time for
track to have personality."
Royce, on the other hand, tends to
let his actions speak for themselves,
and this year the sophomore's actions
have been talking up a storm.
The Chelsea native won the high
jump at both the Big Ten and Central
Collegiate meets and claimed Athlete
of the Year honors at the latter.
Gardner is the young colt from
Jamaica's fair shores, who despite
injuries, stepped in and placed high in
the long and triple jumps and the 55-
meter hurdles in key meets - events
where the team had no one else.
Gardner'spotential is huge.Inhigh
school, his personal best performances
in the long and triple jumps would
have been good enough to win him
Big Ten titles in the events.
As important asTownsend, Royce
and Gardner are, the future success of
the team lies in the hands of two
young men who you might recognize
by the distinctive tattoos that they
sport on their right thighs.
Red maple leafs with gold 'M's in
the middle adorn the legs of sophomore
Scott MacDonald and freshman Kevin
Sullivan. The Canadian pair are the best
distance combination that the Big Ten
has seen in quite some time.
Last year, the soft spoken
MacDonald, who also has been slowed
by injuries this year, won the mile at
Indoor Big Tens and was named Big
Ten Freshman of the Year.
MacDonald echoed Townsend's
belief that a new atmosphere has been
a major contributor to their success.
"We've got a better team attitude,"
he said. "At Big Tens, everyone wase
looking around after they ran to see

where their teammates were. That's the
kindof team that wins championships."
Sullivan has had a year that most
can only dream of.
In two collegiate seasons- cross
country and indoor track - he is two-
for-two in Athlete of the Year awards.
"Even before the season, I considered
myself to be the best (distance runner) in
the conference," Sullivan said.
He may come off as cocky, but
after running in the 1993 World
Championships before even getting
to college, he has good reason to be
sure of himself.
It's difficult not to agree with
Gardner when he said that "this is the
beginning of a long, long season of
victories for Michigan."
And with a Big Ten title already in
hand, they can consider themselves
the most successful group of Michigan
youngsters ever.

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