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November 04, 1996 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-04

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68- The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - November 4, 1996

Women's cross country quiets critics, places
third in competitive Big Ten championships

By Chris Farah
D~aily Sports WriterK
The Michigan women's cross country
team has been the target of more than
just upstart competition recently.
Coming into Saturday's Big Ten
Championships at Bloomington, the
Wolverines had to prove both to them-
selves and to outspoken critics that they
were capable of running with the best
teams in the country, and that their initial
success over lackluster competition was
not a fluke.
With inspired performances from all
of its top-five runners, Michigan was
able to grab a third-place finish with a
score of 74 points, finishing behind Big
Ten powerhouses Wisconsin and Penn
State, which placed first (28 points) and
second (48), respectively.
Most importantly, the Wolverines
were able to meet their expectations and
provide themselves with the confidence
they will need as they head into the final
and most important weeks of the season.
"We were really happy with third
place" Michigan captain Jen Barber
said. "We had a really good effort from
the whole team, so it will definitely
boost our spirits a little bit.

"We're out to prove that we're a better
team than a lot of people have been giv-
ing us credit for, and I think we did that.
We improved our standing going into
districts, as far as what other people
think, but most importantly, as far as
what we think we're able to do."
Michigan was able to maintain a tight
We were really
happy writh third
place.f
- Jen Barber
Michigan women's
cross country captain
front pack of runners, while moving up
overall in the field. Redshirt freshman
Marcie Akard finished in ninth place,
earning Big Ten freshman of the year
honors, while fellow redshirt freshman
Allison Noe placed 12th overall.
The top five was rounded out by
freshman Elizabeth Kampfe, who fin-
ished 13th, followed by Barber, who

came in 15th, and sophomore Katie
McGregor, in 25th.
Barber cited intra-team competition as
one of the factors contributing to the
pack's high placement.
"Our pack was moved up further, like
we wanted it to be," Barber said. "We
were more aggressive in the beginning.
"Some of us got out (fast), and right
away we were up closer to the front. We
weren't all in a line, but we were pushing
each other, competing with ourselves to
make our team better"
Noe agreed with Barber, and said that
the team's success could be attributed to
the initiative of many runners.
"There was a great effort by the entire
team," Noe said. "We had different lead-
ers throughout the entire race. Elizabeth
Kampfe stepped up at the beginning of
the race, and Marcy Akard (as well). We
switched on and off because it was a
pack, but the pack definitely moved up."
The Wolverines' performance was
even more impressive considering the
conditions that they were racing in.
Extremely cold temperatures and heavy
winds made the Indiana course seem
more like an Alaskan invitational.
"It was a tough course," Barber said.

"We didn't have our normal uniforms -
we had (to wear) long tights and long-
sleeved shirts. It was hilly and windy, but
we still came through."
Michigan coach Mike McGuire said
he was pleased with the improvement,
but that the Wolverines will need to be
even better at the district meet in two
weeks in order to qualify for the NCAA
Championships.
'There was a definite improvement
from the two previous weeks," McGuire
said. "We had solid performances, but
we still lack someone to impact the head
of the race, (and) we're still a bit young"
Barber said that the third-place finish
will help provide momentum going into
districts, and she is confident that with
this added boost, the Wolverines will be
able to make it to nationals.
"We're going to have to run well at
districts, and this meet really boosted our
4:onfidence," Barber said. "We've proved
to ourselves what we're capable of doing
now, and we're just going to look for big-
ger and better things in the next couple
of weeks.
"Hopefully, that will be enough to get
us to nationals, because I know we
deserve to be there?'

DAMIAN ITSCU/DRIILY
Despite placing the top two runners in the field, the Michigan men's cross country
team had to settle for second-best next to Wisconsin for the third consecutive yeah

Badgers foil men's harriers again

. :

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By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
For the third straight year the
Michigan men's cross country team fin-
ished second to Wisconsin at the Big Ten
championships.
The meet was held Saturday at
Indiana.
Despite stellar performances from
John Mortimer and Scott MacDonald,
the Wolverines couldn't place enough
runners near the top to oust the Badgers.
"Team-wise, it was disappointing"
MacDonald said. "Beating Wisconsin
has been one of our goals all year."
The Wolverines were near the lead all
day, eventually losing 55-63 to the
Badgers. Michigan State placed third
with 82 points.
Ironically, the five Michigan runners
that placed either equaled or exceeded
expectations. Big contributions from the
next four, however, were missing.
"We were all prepared coming in,"
Todd Snyder said. "A few guys didn't
have their day. It's been a long season."
The top five Wolverines certainly
weren't lacking in contribution.
Mortimer and MacDonald placed first

and second respectively in the race,
while Snyder finished ninth.
"Coming in, we thought we had a
pretty good chance to finish in the top
two," MacDonald said. "But we expect-
ed more competition from (Wisconsin's
Pasquel) Dobert.'
Dobert placed third.
"He was all by himself at the top for
Wisconsin," MacDonald said, "while
John and I had the advantage of working
together. That probably made the differ-
ence."
MacDonald held the lead early in the
race, before Mortimer caught up, even-
tually passing Dobert and his teammate.
"1 went right from the gun and led
most of the race," MacDonald said.
"John slowly moved up, and with about
a mile and a half to go we separated our-
selves from Dobert.
"I looked back about 100 yards later
and we had a big gap on him."
That scenario has been repeated all
season long: MacDonald controlling the
lead early before Mortimer comes from
behind for the win.
"We push each other every day,"
MacDonald said. "But we do have very

different racing styles. I feel comfortable
coming out strong early on, while he
likes to stay away from the front and just
cruise. It takes some of the pressure oft
of him early on?'
Unfortunately, things didn't go so well
for Michigan behind those top three.
Snyder placed ninth, but the Badgers
dominated the middle of the pack, plac-
ing four runners between the eighth and
18th spots.
"Wisconsin clumped together near th
middle,"Snyder said. "Then they surged
from the back of a big pack before the.
finish. We didn't expect them to do that.
The Wolverines were forced to count
on two freshman, Jay Cantin and Steve
Lawrence to place fourth and fifth inthef
team race and 24th and 27th overall.
"They did a great job," MacDonald
said. "But depending on freshman to
place is asking a lot. We needed other
guys to step up"
Consistency has been a problem this
season. Behind Mortimer, MacDonald
and Snyder, the top five has changed*
weekly. Dave Barnett, Nic Watson, Ryan
Burt and Jeff Beuche have all taken turns
scoring for the Wolverines.

information Session: Nov. 6, 1996 * 7:00 p.m. * 2046 Dana Building
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