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November 30, 1998 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-30

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 23, 1998 - 7B

A season to remember

Okay, Here's the Latest

Women's season full
of peaks and valleys

By Ryan C. Moloiey
Daily Sports Writer
Looking back on the Wolverines'
1998 cross country season, is like
watching an action-adventure movie
backwards.
Instead of all the best action and
inevitable victory for the good guy
occurring at the end of the movie, the
outcome is reversed.
Although the Wolverines were
ranked as high as third in the nation
with team victories in each of their
first four meets, the remainder of the
season held little for the team -
except for the record-setting perfor-
mances of Katie McGregor.
McGregor, Michigan's first cross
country national champion, solidified
her status as one of the greatest ath-
letes in school history with her break-
through season. McGregor won every
race except for the Michigan
Interregional. To top it off, McGregor
won an individual NCAA champi-
onship.
While McGregor performed consis-
tently throughout the season, the rest
of the team faltered towards the end,
placing second in the two meets
before its I Ith place showing at
nationals.
Though the team did not perform up
to their personal standards, coach
Mike McGuire didn't make excuses.
"There were some disappoint-
ments," McGuire said. "You can say
'Woulda, coulda, shoulda,' but that
won't accomplish anything.
"We tried hard and we had a couple
of untimely injuries. We didn't under-
or over-achieve."

McGregor, for all she accomplished
this season, was still mindful of the
team's decline - yet she managed to
keep it in perspective.
"A whole lot of effort goes into a
season and to put a lot of emphasis in
one race is too much," McGregor said.
"We've won many races as a team."
While it is easy to say wait until
next year, the Wolverines cannot
afford that luxury. Among the notable
losses include not only McGregor, but
also senior Michelle Slater, who was a
formidable No. 3 runner in the lineup
as well as a leader.
McGuire's focus for next season
lies in improving upon an area of dif-
ficulty for the team - pack-running.
"If we have five people in the front
who can get under the 250th place, we
do better (in the national race),"
McGuire said. "We need to develop
kids who will be mentally and physi-
cally prepared for the competition.
"There's no way people will come
in and be as good as (McGregor and
Slater). Hey, these realities happen. It
will be a situation by committee for
that particular race day.
"Right now, we don't have someone
who will get first in every race, but we
have people like (Lisa) Ouellet and
(Elizabeth) Kampfe who will place
high consistently," McGuire said.
McGregor, who will graduate in
May and likely continue training with
the team as she pursues a professional
running career, doesn't view the suc-
cess of the team in terms of stats.
Interesting, considering the number of
new statistical standards she has
established this season.

20 Off
1.1
rec. 14th Dec. 18

D

Ith

DANA UNNANE/Daity
The Michigan women's cross country team finished a disappointing 11th at
NCAAs after junior Elizabeth Kampfe dropped out of the race.

Men's team found way to overcome troubles

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By Raphael Goodsten
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's cross country
team entered the year with questions
about how would they replace Kevin
Sullivan. But just like every other time
adversity surrounded the Wolverines,
ty found a way to succeed.
11 year, the team wanted to win the
-Big Ten Championship. The race was in
Ann. Arbor, and Michigan coach Ron
Warhurst celebrated his 25th year of
coaching.
Former run-
ners including CrOSS COUntry
Olympic captain C enIay
and medalist
Brian Diemer,
W ng others, were there. All-America
s jor John Mortimer was injured, yet
managed to finish third in the race.
Mortimer once said that running in Ann
Arbir on Warhurst's anniversary was the
reason he decided to run this year, rather
than redshirt.
Fellow senior All-America Todd
Snyder turned in his best race up to date,
finishing fifth. But the stars of the day
were Steve Lawrence and Jay Cantin.
Lawrence finished in l lth and Cantin
' 2th. The two kept the team together.

They paced other runners and beat other
teams' third and fourth runners.
The day was also special for the
Wolverines' fifth place runner, senior
Don McLaughlin, who finished in 19th
place. Like Lawrence and Cantin,
McLaughlin beat every other team's
fifth place runner. But for Lawrence, it
was the last time that he would run with
Snyder in Ann Arbor.
The two had been teammates in high
school. They won the state title together
at Ann Arbor Pioneer and both came to
Michigan for days like these.
Michigan's sixth-place runner, Mike
Wisniewski, finished in 33rd, good
enough to beat second-place Michigan
State's fifth-place runner. Wisniewski
managed to save the team very impor-
tant points.
One goal set. One goal met.
The Wolverines best runner,
Mortimer, could not run in the NCAA
regional race because of injury but again
the team managed to overcome adversi-
ty.
Snyder finished in second place and
freshman Mark Pilja, who ran in place of
Mortimer, also stepped up.
Pilja finished in 29th place and helped
the team insure a' bid to the NCAA

Championships in Lawrence, Kan. The
team finished in second place behind
Michigan State. Considering the circum-
stances, the team was ecstatic.
More adversity. Another hero.
The team went to Kansas knowing
that their best runner would run.
Mortimer was still injured but had prac-
ticed through the pain and was deter-
mined to run. The team wanted to come
home with something, and since only
the top four teams receive trophies,
another goal was set.

The No. 8 Wolverines went to Kansas
with their best runner - and more
importantly - confidence. They fin-
ished in fourth place. Once again, Snyder
stepped up, finishing in 10th place. More
amazingly was Mortimer. An injured
Mortimer finished in 31st place. Any
other race, he wouldn't have run.
The Wolverines found a way to suc-
ceed. If it was a freshman runner, or a
senior All-American, the team managed
to make coach Warhurst's 25th anniver-
sary a special one.

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