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April 20, 1999 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-20

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26 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 20, 1999

Continued from Page 21
Simply put, McGregor is a breath of
fresh air. In a sporting landscape filled
with the pollution of athletes whose feet
left the ground a long time ago,
McGregor prefers to stay put, run really
fast and live a fun-loving college life.
"When I go to practice, I put 100 per-
cent effort into it, McGregor said. "But
when I'm done, I just want to throw it
"I think if I thought about running
twenty-four-seven, I would go crazy."
A fiery competitor even as a middle-
schooler, McGregor learned to relax-
with the help of strict scheduling.
"It started in high school," McGregor
said. "Most of my friends weren't on the
team, so I would have to do my runs in
the morning or late at night just so that
I'd be able to hang out with my friends.
It's always been something I will get
done no matter what, but I don't want it
to take over other aspects of my life"
There's a line the movie "Dead Poets
Society" in which Robin Williams
warns a student - "sucking the marrow
out of life doesn't mean choking on the

bone." McGregor has pulled the ulti-
mate high-wire act - balancing all the
ills of a normal college student and, oh
yeah, managing to train up to the level
of a national champion. Amazed? Get
used to it.
"She works hard at school and run-
ning, but outside of those, she will
party," Froud said. "She will laugh and
dance and hang out. She will spend time
with her boyfriend. When she's not run-
ning she's a normal college student who
has fun.
"That's rare for a runner at her level
but she has a God-given talent to keep
everything up," Froud said.
On race day, McGregor doesn't even
bother to familiarize herself with the
competition - she doesn't care about
their running resume,' she only wants to
break the tape first.
The queen of college cross country
doesn't even own a single copy of a run-
ning magazine - a pre-requisite for
even the most novice of runners.
"If I needed to look at one I could
probably find one real easy," McGregor
said with a chuckle. "My parents look at
those now just to find out stuff about
me, but I tell them not to worry about
But McGregor has grown weary with

the increased outside attention. Every
college student deserves the right to live
without the outside dangers of the
media-monster - McGregor especially
doesn't like the labels.
"That's not me, it's a part of me but I
don't want people to label me as a
national champion - there's more to
me," McGregor said. "I want people to
like me for the person I am and not what
I'm doing."
A simple and reasonable request, but
at this point of her life, a sometimes dif-
ficult one.
At Michigan, there is a sense of com-
munity among the athletes which does-
n't always transcend to the student body.
Athletes recognize each other by let-
ter jackets and sweats, and even if a foot-
ball player and a rower member happen
to pass each other on the diag, more
often than not there is a nod or a wave of
recognition between them.
It's this maize-and-blue colored
extended family which McGregor val-
ues over her personal and educational
success at Michigan. Her place in the
"Michigan tradition," McGregor said,
by far outweighs any sacrifices to get

"You're not just a part of the track
team, you're a part of the whole athletic
campus. When I go to a field hockey
game, I get just as excited for the people
out there because I know how much
they want it, I've been there.
"The block 'M' across your chest
means something."
But as in any family, with the triumph
comes the tears. McGregor and atmost
everyone in the athletic community was
stunned by the death of Jeff Reese -
the Michigan wrestler who died in his
quest to cut weight before a match.
If anything good arose from the
tragedy, McGregor said, it was the
renewed sense of fraternalism among
the Michigan athletes.
"When he died, even if you didn't
know him it was just the biggest loss"
McGregor said. "It was the greatest loss
you could ever feel, like losing a family
"Imagine putting all this work in and
giving all you have just to win. It all just
got wiped away, it was what can happen
if you go too far."
The scene at Cliff Keen arena on
December 9, 1997 will forever remain
with McGregor-the sadness of the
occasion coupled with the outpouring of
grief from the most unlikely of sources.

"All the practices were canceled that
day and we all just went down there,"
McGregor said. "Even teams that don't
usually show up (for team meetings)
were there.
"Everybody just felt like 'gosh we're
a community'- if anything could epit-
omize what it feels like to be an athlete
at Michigan, that's what it would be. It
took this horrible occasion to recognize
it. It was just unbelievable, I can't even
explain it."
Perhaps McGregor didn't need any
further proof as to what her life philoso-
phy should be. But out of the horror of
the Jeff Reese tragedy there emerged
within her an appreciation for the deli-
cate nature of life as well as her duty as
a Michigan athlete.
"It could have happened to anyone,"
McGregor said.
This weekend, McGregor will race in
the world-renowned Penn Relays -
another opportunity to shine, another
chance for people to take a crack at her
national champion-reputation.
Afterwards, Big Tens and Nationals
beckon but that will pretty much be it.
She'll continue to train in Ann Arbor
and stay on as an assistant coach - like
a child who chooses not to leave home


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but stays to help out the parents for a lit-
tle while longer.
While you can still catch her charging
down Packard on a distance run, her
presence will be a bit farther from the
starting line instead of embracing it.
All we're left with are memorics, ;tt
what memories they are.
While her teammates can name p-
cific races which stood out over oths,
their fondest memories come from the
"You know, for all the hard works
we've done, I never heard her once ay
'Ican't do it,'" Elizabeth Kampfe sa.
"She was and is a great competitor."
Other memories run more personal.
"I'll always know who she wasa d
what she loved, and in 10 years I'll be
able to think about her and just sml',"
Froud said. "How many people can you
do that about?"
And what about the Big One, the
national title? That's for much later, s
McGregor, when it's all over. 4
"Maybe when I get older and I can't
run anymore I'll wear a pin that says '
was national champion,"' McGregor
If that day ever comes, may it be
many years and many cheap pizzas fro)
New track,
coach to
lead 'M'
Continued from Page 21
that makes him special. He also
sesses a special knack for getting the
best out of his athletes.
"He's definitely a player's coach:'
Laplante said. "He's just one of the
Warhurst's personality as well as
his reputation is a powerful weapon
in recruiting. Laplante, who has
recruited several of Warhurst's run-
ners, can attest to his influence.
"I've never met an athlete
didn't think the world of Ron,"
Laplante said. "He's got a unique-
ness that kids gravitate to."
Most recently, Warhurst's exper-
tise has benefitted distance runners
Jay Cantin and Steve Lawrence. T o
weeks ago at the San Diego Quad,
Cantin won the 1500 and the 809
while Lawrence captured the 500)
and finished second in the 1500.
Warhurst has worked tirele4
with several Wolverines on their
race strategies. He understands each
runner's style and is adept at devel-
oping unique programs for each of
"He's flexible with your race strat-
egy," Lawrence said. "He knows that
everyone is different and leaved us
options to do our own thing."
Come next winter, Warhurst ' j
open a new chapter in his coach
career. For the first time he will
oversee the entire track and field'
squad through the indoor and out-
door seasons.
"Ron's very positive and upbeat,"
Laplante said. "He'll bring an air of
toughness and enthusiasm to this
From this point on, every trophy
won and every athlete mentored will
simply add to an already brillt
legacy as well as cement Warhus
place in Michigan history.

scores in
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) -
Overshadowed by all the hoopla overthe
retirement of New York Rangers center
Wayne Gretzky was a storybook begin-
ning to the career of Jason Blake.
Blake, a former North Dakota hockey
standout, signed a free agent contract
Saturday with the Los Angeles Kings
and scored a goal in his first NHL g
Sunday against the St. Louis Blues..
"The experience was awesome," said
Blake, who scored at 12:03 of the thud
period in the Blues' 3-2 win. "The las
game in the (Great Western) Forum da4
the first game I ever play in, what a great
way to start your career."
Blake's lucrative contract with the
Kings isn't just testimony to his talent;
his agent says.
"I think this contract is a tributet
only to North Dakota and coach Dean
Blais and the program there, but to col
lege players who stay in school and never
quit," said Neil Sheehey of Minneapolis
"So many players are in a hurry to
leave school for pie in the sky. Betteir

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