November 2, 1998 - SportsMonday - The Michigan Daily - 3B
SyRyan C. Moloney
Daily Sports Writer
Asthe Wolverines stood in the finish
chuEin the waning moments after yes-
terd4-s Big Ten Championships, one
did ;ot have to listen for the final
ulis to realize the story would not
W a happy ending.
Instead of smiles and high-fives, the
runners consoled each other with tear-
511 hugs and words of encouragement
p- asplay that typified the close-knit
relationships on the Michigan cross
country team and made the five-point
loss to Wisconsin a bitter pill to swal-
low for those who have supported the
team throughout the season.
As many predicted, the race turned
i to a war between the Wolverines (36
nts), the conference's highest-
ranked,team at No. 3 in the nation, and
Wisci|sin (31), which had conquered
the Big Ten meet in each of the past
Katie McGregor came within one
sicond of matching her course record
at the Michigan Golf Course with a
winning time of 17:16, easily beating
Wisconsin's Erica Palmer for the indi-
vidual conference title.
Wisconsin placed two more runners
after Palmer until Michelle Slater, Lisa
Ouellet and Elizabeth Kampfe cap-
tured the sixth, seventh and eighth
positions with times of 17:53, 18:01
and 18:04, respectively.
The clincher for the Badgers
occurred when they placed two runners
ahead of Michigan's fifth, Sarah
Hamilton, who placed 14th with a time
"We're definitely disappointed. We
knew that if we ran a great race and
they ran a great race it would still be
tough to beat them," Kampfe said.
"There were a few people, including
myself, who didn't have their best per-
formances. We still, as a team, did
Kampfe, who has finished second
overall behind McGregor in four races
this season, took her disappointment in
"I went out thinking I could have a
great race and it just didn't go that
way," Kampfe said. "I was a little bit
tired ... things like that I just wasn't
able to overcome today. So, I'll just
have to deal with it and move on."
McGregor's victory was one of the
highlights of the day for the
Wolverines, though the senior admits
that it is bittersweet in light of the
"I'm glad I won it, but at the same
time I don't get to share it with my team-
mates," McGregor said. "Of course,
they got me to where I am today, but it
doesn't really mean that much when
they aren't able to share it with me."
Michigan coach Mike McGuire was
especially impressed with McGregor's
perseverance throughout the race.
"I don't think she felt super-great
today. She had some difficulty after the
race," McGuire said. "She has a pretty
high threshold for discomfort, and
that's what running is.
"She's got a good combination: She's
obviously talented, but she's every bit
as tough as she is talented, and that's
the difference between the good ones
and the great ones. She's the best run-
ner I've ever coached."
The five-point difference between
Wisconsin and Michigan surprised no
one, though nine other teams competed
in the race. The next highest finisher,
Minnesota, finished with 104 points.
"I felt going in that it would be a
five-point swing either way," McGuire
said. "It was basically going to be a
dual-meet and that's what I tried to
relay to my athletes. They had a couple
kids run better for them and it surprised
me a little bit, but that's what it's all
Though the Wolverines were dis-
heartened with their overall perfor-
mance, the team's leaders were quick to
put things in perspective.
"We've got two more chances,"
Ouellet said, in reference to the upcom-
ing district and NCAA meets.
"I think it's hard to get too upset
about it, because we've got so many
friends and so many family and alumni
here that you're not really going to sit
there and sulk," Slater said. "Now we
want to win districts and then be top 10
in the nationals. We're picking up and
moving on now."
Snyder, McLaughlin fiish at home in style
By Chds Langrill
Daily Sports Writer
Todd Snyder and Don McLaughlin,
both seniors on the Michigan men's
cross country team, have been running
together since their days at Ann Arbor
Pioneer High School.
" esterday's Big Ten Championships
the Michigan Golf Course marked
their Tinal time running together in
front of the hometown crowd.
sIltage was set for a great finish to
the tandem's finale at home. With over
3;00'fans in attendance to watch the
nieet, the two runners knew that their
performances would be critical in
deciding whether or not Michigan
could epeat as Big Ten champions. The
*lveines beat out Wisconsin last sea-
son for the team title.
,When all was said and done yester-
day, amidst the roar ofa crowd cheering
especiglly loud for Michigan, Michigan
Statd"'br Wisconsin, the Wolverines
were indeed able to repeat as Big Ten
'And:without the efforts of the two
Ann Arbor natives, it wouldn't have
,nyder, Michigan's No. 2 man, was
to pull away from two Michigan
State runners in the final 1,000 meters
to finish with a fifth-place time of
24:34. Snyder's time was second for
Michigan, behind fellow All-American
Continued from Page IB
4guys really came through at the
en4," Warhurst said. "Down the
stretch we had Jay (Cantin), Don
(1cLaughlin) and Mike
(Wisniewski) kicking really well."
Former runners were in atten-
dahce to help Warhurst celebrate the
One former athlete at the
Michigan Golf Course yesterday
was All-America, Olympic medalist
and Olympic team captain Brian
It is awesome to still watch
Ronnie make champions out of these
young men," Diemer said. "I am in
coaching now and a lot of the things
that my runners learn are from
Warhurst seemed to enjoy having
his'gojner runners around, as much
as t1Tformer players enjoyed being
*This is really special to have all
of these guys around," said
From here the Wolverines will try
to repeat as district champions, and
earn another berth in the NCAAs,
where they finished fourth last year.
"We have a week off and now we
Will turn our attention to repeating
as district champions," Bunt said.
"From there we want to finish in the
top four at nationals."
John Mortimer, who finished in third
place with a time of 24:24.
McLaughlin - the critical "fifth"
man on the team - followed Steve
Lawrence (11th) and Jay Cantin (12th)
in a final push that helped propel the
Wolverines' top five runners ahead of
those of Michigan State and Wisconsin.
McLaughlin finished in 19th place,
with a time of 25:27.
McLaughlin and Snyder both
stressed how important it was to them
to be running in front of family and
friends for the last time as Wolverines.
"There are a lot of parts on the course
where the crowd's really condensed,"
Snyder said. "There was a lot of yelling
there ... it kind of soothed me."
"Both my high school coaches were
here, and just a lot of people. It was nice
to go out with a win;" McLaughlin said.
Both runners stressed that it was
important to the team to perform well,
as this meet celebrated the 25th
anniversary of Michigan coach Ron
Warhurst's first Big Ten title.
"We're glad we were able to have a
victory for him," McLaughlin said.
Snyder and McLaughlin won a state
championship together at Pioneer.
They've now won two Big Ten titles
together here at Michigan. What else
could be left?
"Nationals is most important to us,"
Continued from Page 10
But the great ones run with discom-
fort, and she did a great job of not
letting her pain interfere with her
McGregor surprised few by cap-
turing her second straight Big Ten
crown. The question that arises is:'
Was this just another win, or does
this accomplishnient rank among
the top in her career and in
Michigan history? The answer
depends on whom you ask.
"Well, (the victory) is very
important and I am excited about it
now, but it's just another race,"
McGregor was more concerned
with the overall team score, rather
than her individual performance.
"In my mind it's only good when
you have your teammates to cele-
brate with," she said. "When you're
by yourself it's not really that fun.'
On the other hand, McGuire said
McGregor's achievements were
"I think that her accomplishment
today might be abigger one than her
victory last year at Big Tens,"
McGuire said. "Katie ... had to deal
with all the pressure and expecta-
tions that everybody put on her -
that's what separates the good run-
ners from the great ones. And Katie
is one of the greats."
No doubt about fr: These
runners are truly amazing,
ross country meets are deceptive. Here's what they look like to the
average spectator: The runners string across the starting line, and
when the gun sounds, everyone takes off in a flash.
But then, once the runners are out of sight, there's not a whole lot left to
the spectators. Everybody just sort of looks at each other and says, "OK,
so, we meet back here in about 15 minutes to see the finish?"
And that's pretty much what happens. The fans are left to talk amongst
themselves, essentially killing time until the action loops back into view.
But in the meantime, the runners are just getting started. Meets such as
yesterday's Big Ten race at the Michigan Golf Course are a throwback to
the very earliest athletic competition. They're about one person saying, "I
can do this faster than you can." It's raw, grueling, primitive competition,
and it pushes the very best athletes to the brink of collapse - and then,
often, a little bit further.
The number of runners who hit the finish line with arms extended in tri-
umph - usually just one per race - is, without fail, tiny in comparison to
the number of runners who simply hit the ground after getting to the finish
At the conclusion of both the men's and women's races yesterday, a hand-
ful of runners barely made it to the final tape before crumbling, out of
energy and breath, to the ground. An entire team of athletic department
staff and helpers was on hand for the sole purpose of orchestrating post-
In theory, the runners were supposed to continue on past the finish line
into a single-file "chute," from which the order of finish was determined.
But in practice, the chute vicinity became less organizational tool and more
hazard area. With gasping runners crashing into one another and falling all
over the place, the race organizers were forced to become an impromptu
medical assistance team.
And to the spectators, all of this tends to be fairly surprising. Having qui-
etly mingled with fellow fans for 15 minutes or so, the chaos that is the end
of the race is at first a bit bewildering. The athletes return looking as if
they've been off fighting a war, as opposed to, well, just running.
But in reality, there are few things in sport that are more physically tax-
ing than a cross country meet. The average person tends to look at a race as
a jog through the park - or, in this case, across the golf course. To say as
much does not do this sport justice.
The performances of Michigan's cross country runners, men and women
both, have been nothing short of spectacular. Think of it this way: Of all the
women that are students at Big Ten schools, not one is a better distance
runner than Katie McGregor - for two years in a row. Of all the schools,
none has put together a better men's team than Ron Warhurst - even
though his best runner, John Mortimer, is at less than 100 percent.
When you really stop and think about it, Michigan's runners seem pretty
The way they've continually been at the front, meet after meet, weekend
after weekend, is astounding. Their efforts deserve recognition and com-
It might fairly be said that anyone can jog through the park. That might
be true. But there aren't too many people who can do it faster than
Michigan's runners. Congratulations are in order.
- Jim. Rose can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
Senior co-captain Don McLaughlin (right) helped Michigan round up the wagons
yesterday at the Big Ten Championships, with a fifth-place finish.
Slater, Ouellet, Hamilton save 'best' for Big Tens
By Evan Braunstein
Daily Sports Writer
There is no doubt the women's
cross country team felt some disap-
pointment after falling just short of
grabbing the Big Ten title yesterday.
But if moral victories can lessen the
hurt, this team has to be proud of its
Along with Katie McGregor's
winning performance, three of the
Wolverines' top five finishers ran
their best races of the season.
Michelle Slater placed sixth with a
time of 17:53, 12 seconds better than
her time two weeks ago at the
Lisa Ouellet recorded a personal-
best time, finishing in seventh place,
just eight seconds behind Slater.
"This was my best time by 32 sec-
onds," Ouellet said. "That felt really
good. We are disappointed, but we're
too close to give up. We are not
going to let Wisconsin go."
Slater's performance fits in well
with the season she is having, as she
continues to improve in each race in
which she competes. The senior was
an All-American in her first year of
competition in 1995, but an injury
kept her out of the 1996 season and
may have contributed to a drop in
productivity last year.
But this season, Slater has proven
her All-American status was well-
deserved, with consistent perfor-
mances all season, culminating in
her outstanding race yesterday after-
"This was my best time so far," she
said, "and was really nice because
this was my last time running this
course, and it was a huge home meet
with lots of alumni and fans around."
But possibly the most surprising
time of all came from Sara
Hamilton, who finished 14th with a
time of 18:25.
Yesterday marked Hamilton's best
finish of the season, and far and
away her top finish at a Big Ten
Without her performance, the
meet would not have been nearly as
close as the five-point margin indi-
"The better team won today,"
Michigan coach Mike McGuire said.
"But we had about three kids run the
best they have all year.
"Hamilton ran great. Ouellet ran
by far her best race of the season and
Slater was as solid as ever."
Michigan's Michelle Slater placed sixth in yesterday's Big Ten meet.
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