4 (11 inn.)
October 10, 1996
country races state
Blue battles in Michigan Intercollegiate
challenge for 'M'
By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
Possibly the greatest challenge for the
Michigan women's cross country team
so far this season has been to remain
focused and motivated while competing
against inferior opponents.
The Wolverines have been strong
favorites at each of their meets this sea-
son and have not disappointed so far,
winning each one in dominant fashion.
The Wolverines look to continue this
trend when they travel to Dowagiac for
the Michigan Intercollegiate Invitational
The Wolverines will face different
division teams from across Michigan.
The toughest challenges should come
from Eastern Michigan and Big Ten
rival Michigan State, which has the best
chance of providing Michigan with its
first upset of the year.
The term "rival" should be applied
loosely to the Spartans, however.
In their opening meet of the season,
the Wolverines trounced Michigan State
in head-to-head competition, 42-19,
with Michigan placing five runners in
the top seven scoring positions.
"The Michigan Intercollegiate pro-
vides the last of the Wolverines'
cream-puff competition before the
serious meets of the season begin,
which include the Big Ten champi-
The Wolverines must work to remain
focused despite the lack of challenge the
Intercollegiate will provide, according to
senior team captain Jen Barber.
"We've had some talks about (it
being) a make-it or break-it point in the
season," Barber said.
"Either we're going to buckle down
and just see what we can do with this
team or we're just going to get through
the rest of it and not focus on the things
to come. It's easy to say the first couple
of meets 'Well, it's the beginning of the
season.' But that's no longer an excuse
Michigan coach Mike McGuire also
stressed continued improvement, con-
sidering that the Wolverines face nation-
ally-ranked opponents for the first time
just nine days after the Michigan
"The big meets are coming up, so
you want to be trying to work and pre-
pare yourself for that level of competi-
tion," McGuire said. "We'd like to
pack up a little bit better, and we
haven't run real fast times yet. Our
theme all year has been to improve
each meet, and we want to continue to
The Wolverines have been making
strong efforts to keep themselves
focused both mentally and physically
during the two-week break since their
last meet at Miami (Ohio), and tomor-
row's invitational should help to main-
tain that edge.
Physically, the runners are reaching
their top form of the season, according
"We've had three real good work-
outs since out last meet, so I'm look-
ing forward to it being a real solid race
for us" McGuire said. "Everybody
has shown improvements in their
training, and it's just a matter of
(them) going out to do it that day on
Mentally, Barber has made sure that
her teammates are prepared for the chal-
lenges that lie ahead.
"We had a (team) meeting just the
other day," Barber said. "It wasn't an
official meeting, we just said 'OK, this is
it, we're going to go for it. We're going
to have to buckle-down and focus.'
"Now we realize that the big meets
are coming up, and it's time to get after
By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's cross country
team will continue climbing the lad-
der of competition tomorrow, when
it meets No. 3 Stanford in Maine.
No. 15 Arizona, Army, New
Hampshire, Holy Cross, Boston
College, Maine, William & Mary
and Kansas will also participate in
the Murray Keating invitational.
"Stanford is a good team,"
Michigan senior Scott MacDonald
said. "They're very deep through the
sixth or seventh spots, and they have
a lot up front."
But No. 9 Michigan is on a roll
right now, and the Wolverines have
their hopes set on an upset.
"Anything's possible," Michigan
coach Ron Warhurst said. "If we run
Stanford man for man, we can take
The Wolverines feel they've been
underestimated in the polls because
of Kevin Sullivan's preseason injury.
The Wolverines knocked off then-
No. 9 Notre Dame last Friday and
are in a position to turn some heads
with a good showing this weekend.
"We've climbed a little bit in the
polls," MacDonald said. "But we'll
make an even bigger mark if we run
a good race Friday. Even if we only
come close (to Stanford), we'll make
Warhurst will take I I runners to
Maine, and the top five score in the
Jay Cantin was promoted to the
varsity race, as expected.
"If everybody runs the way they
can, we will beat Stanford,"
MacDonald said. "But we'll all have
to step it up a bit."
The overall field won't be as big
as it was at Notre Dame, so more
Wolverines will have to finish high-
"It's going to be a Michigan frohn
rolling in if we are to win it,"
Warhurst said. "We'll be in goo*
shape if five of our guys finish in the
top 20, and two need to finish in the
top five as well."
MacDonald and sophomore John
Mortimer, Michigan's top two run-
ners, might be able to place in the,
top three, but they'll have plenty of,
competition from the likes of.
Arizona's Bob Keino, as well As~
"There's going to be a lot of goo,(
runners there," Warhurst said. "But
Stanford and (Michigan) each have
seven or eight of them, while the rest
of the teams only have one or two."
Mortimer placed second last Friday
at the Notre Dame Invitational while
MacDonald finished eighth.
"I wouldn't be at all surprised if
Mortimer won the race tomorrow,"
Mortimer has been the Wolverines
most consistent runner all year.
MacDonald, on the other hand, has
had an up-and-down season.
"He's been putting in a big effort,
Warhurst said. "But he's been training
real hard and now he's got the flu."
The terrain of the course might also
give the Cardinal an advantage.
Stanford is the fastest team coming in,
so it may have the edge running on
roads and open fields.
"It's a fast asphalt surface,.
MacDonald said. "So we won't wear
our spikes during the race."
The Michigan men's cross country team travels to Maine this weekend for the
Murray Keating Invitational. Among the 10-team field, the Wolverines will face No.
3 Stanford and No. 15 Arizona.
Michigan softball looks to continue winning
ways in first fall exhibition tourney
By B.J. Luria
For the Daily
-Even the most die-hard Michigan
fanis might not know which athletic
team has won the Big Ten champi-
onship four of the last five years. That
might just be because not enough peo-,
ple have paid close attention to the
This weekend, the Wolverines kick off
preparation for the 1997 season when
they host the Wolverine Classic at
The 1996 season was a record-break-
ing one for the Wolverines, who set 10
team season, six individual season and
six individual career records.
The Wolverines finished the season
20-4 in the Big Ten and 51-14 overall.
The 51 victories set a Michigan record.
The Wolverines continued their domi-
nance into the postseason, winning the
Big Ten tournament as well as NCAA
Michigan advanced to the Women's
College World Series, where it finished
seventh in the nation.
This weekend, the Wolverines will
face Eastern Michigan, Toledo and
Wayne State in the two-day event.
Although the classic is an exhibition
tournament, it is important nonetheless.
"The tournament is a chance for us to
get some competition when we would
otherwise just practice," Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins said. "It also gives the
younger players a chance to play and get
used to college softball.",
This season, the Wolverines expect a
few key members of last year's champi-
onship team to lead the way to another
Big Ten title.
"We are looking to Sara Griffin and
Kellyn Tate to provide a lot of the
offense,' Hutchins said. "Sara will also
set the tone on defense on the mound."
Juniors Griffin and Tate are coming
off All-America 1996 seasons.
Griffin won 35 games on the mound
for the Wolverines last year, en route to
repeating as Big Ten Player of the Year.
First baseman Traci Conrad was named
Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Besides the returning veterans, the
Wolverines will need help from their
"There is a lot of youth blended in
with the experience on this team,"
Hutchins said. "We have young people
on the left side of the infield as well as a
couple of young outfielders. The tourna-
ment will give us a chance to blend the
youth with the experience, to give them
a chance to gel."
The Wolverines play four games
Saturday and Sunday, twice against
Eastern Michigan and once against
Wayne State and Toledo. The first game
against the Eagles is Saturday at noon.
The Wolverines will play in one more
exhibition tournament, the Big Ten
Invitational, Nov 5-6 at Penn State,
before taking the winter off to practice.
The regular season begins in February,
when the Wolverines begin their quest
for five championships in six years.
The Michigan softball team hosts this weekend's Wolverine Classic at Alumni Fleld.
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