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November 16, 1999 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-16

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 16, 1999



McGuire's grin gives it away: They're in


By David Horn
Daily Sports Writer
At 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon the sun
began to set on Ann Arbor. At the Indoor
Track Building, the women's cross country
runners chattered nervously amongst them-
selves as they waited for coach Mike
McGuire to arrive.
The Wolverines had been waiting since
Saturday, when a third-place finish at the
Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Ind.,
left the continuation of their season depen-
dent on the NCAA selection committee.
They would not have to wait any longer."
Coach McGuire walked into the cavernous
track building, struggling to keep the smile
from spreading across his face. The team
knew - the sun may be setting in Ann
Arbor, but it will rise again on them for one
more race.
"Mike is a lot happier than he's letting
on,, said a relieved Elizabeth Kampfe,
Michigan's No. 2 runner on Saturday. "Just
the way he walked in - he had that cheesy
grin on his face - I think he would have
liked to sit us down and tell us, but he just
couldn't hold it in."
Michigan will be one of four teams rep-
resenting the Great Lakes Region at the
national meet next Monday in
Bloomington. Wisconsin and Michigan
State secured automatic bids via their first-
and second-place finishes, respectively.

Michigan and Notre Dame earned two of
the 13 at-large bids that were awarded yes-
terday. Joining Wisconsin, Michigan State
and Michigan from the Big Ten will be
Minnesota, which runs in the Midwest
"We have to go in with a blue-collar men-
tality," McGuire said. "We have to have a
fight- and-scratch mentality, and just go out
and battle for 5,000 meters. If we're only
going to battle for a few thousand meters,
we're not going to do very well."
The Wolverines rank No. 17 in the latest
poll, released yesterday. McGuire and his
team expect to place ahead of a number of
teams that received automatic bids, as well
as most of the at-large teams. Of the at-
large teams, only Arizona State is ranked
higher than Michigan.
"We would have liked to be automatic,
and not have to worry these past two days,"
Kampfe said. "But we're still confident
(with the at-large bid). We've beaten
Michigan State (at the Big Ten
Championship), and a few others, and we
can do it at nationals."
Last year, Michigan placed 11th at
nationals behind an individual first-place
performance by current assistant coach
Katie McGregor. It is unlikely that any
Michigan runner will place in the top 10,
but McGuire hopes that the team can meet
or surpass last year's finish.

"It will take career races from every-
body," McGuire said. "When you talk abo
the top 10 teams in the nation, you talk
about us.
"This year we may have struggled a little.
But you don't get back by wishing and hop-
ing. You get back by doing.
"Our two seniors (Kampfe and Marcy
Akard) have done a good job finishing
races. It's difficult for young kids to keep
their composure and focus in a race like
this. It's overwhelming. But we have people
who have been tested."
The team had recovery workouts yeste#
day and Sunday, and will run its hard prac-
tice on Friday. The spirits at the Indoor
Track Building yesterday were high, as the
runners joked about their now-relieved
nerves, and analyzed their competition.
This is the first time in McGuire's seven
year tenure at Michigan that his team has
advanced to nationals via an at-large bid. A
difficult regular season has made the post-
season successes particularly rewarding.
The Wolverines - with their seconO
place finish at the Big Ten Championships
and third-place finish last Saturday - have
worked just hard enough to keep their heads
above water and keep their season alive.
Just as it looked like the sun would set and
bring the darkness of the off-season to Ann
Arbor, McGuire's 'cheesy grin' brings one
more week of daylight.

Clifford leads 'M' to NCAA Tourney

By David Horn
Daily Sports Writer
For all the talk of cross country being a
team sport, this is sometimes hard to realize.
In meets that seem to pit individual against
individual, the true concept of a cross coun-
try 'team' isn't always so clear.
At the Great Lakes Regional in Terre
Haute, Ind., on Saturday, that concept was
realized by the Wolverines - in particular
junior Katie Clifford. She led a courageous
team performance in the face of season-long
No. I runner Lisa Ouellet's fight with the
"I had a rough week," Ouellet said. "It's
taken me a lot longer to get better than I had
hoped. I missed workouts. I was running
dehydrated. But I hate to make excuses for
myself. Fortunately, the team came
For a team that has been crippled by
injury all season, Saturday was a chance to
follow up the surprising success of a sec-
ond-place finish at the Big Ten
Championship two weeks ago. But Ouellet
was not able to lead her team on Saturday,
and her 23rd-place individual finish, third

overall for Michigan, left the top spot for the
Wolverines open for the taking. Clifford
claimed it, and did so with her finest race of
the season.
"I wanted to start out the season slowly,"
Clifford said after the race. "I wanted to
gradually improve with every race."
Clifford's wish materialized fully in Terre
Haute. A time of 17:22:00 earned her the
fifth individual place. Senior Elizabeth
Kampfe, senior Marcy Akard, and sopho-
more Katie Ryan finished 13th, 30th, and
42nd, respectively. In doing so, the
Michigan women dismissed any claims that
their success is reliant on a top finish by
Michigan ran well enough to come to
within two points of second-place Michigan
State. Their third-place finish was enough to
earn the Wolverines an at-large bid to the
NCAA Championships in Bloomington a
week from yesterday. They found out
Sunday afternoon.
"Clifford, Akard, and Kampfe all ran real-
ly well, "Michigan coach Mike McGuire
said. "Clifford ran hard, and closed very

On Saturday morning Wisconsin coacg
Peter Tegan pulled the Badgers' No. 3 runner,
sophomore Bethany Brewster from the race
She, like Ouellet, was not in top physical
form. Wisconsin's dominance over Saturday'4
field was such that her absence was not
missed, but the Wolverines were not in a posi-
tion where they could afford the loss of and
one. They needed to run as a team.
"Clifford has always been there,'
Michigan assistant coach Katie McGrego4
said. "Today she gave it that little extra -
she had that look of determination on her
"For Katie, we've all just been waiting for
this to happen," Ouellet said.
The Michigan women's cross country
team was just that in Terre Haute - a team.
The effort during the race and support o
the course define teamwork, and dispel tlW
misunderstanding of cross country as an
individual sport. Yesterday's call from
Indianapolis prolongs this emotional season
one more week, and speaks for Clifford's
leadership of a successful team - in every
sense of the word.

Women's coach Mike McGuire couldn't hide a joyful grin when he learned that Sarah Hamilton (above)
and the Wolverines will return to the NCAA Tournament. "Mike is a lot happier than he's letting
on," said a relieved Elizabeth Kampfe, Michigan's No. 2 runner on Saturday.

Team Deep

~ish Top Individual

Year Fin
1998 -

Year Fini










sh Top Individual
14 ,. Scam McDONALD

Tournament berth nothing new

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Writer
There is something glamorous about
an NCAA Tournament. Having your
team face schools from all over the coun-
try hoping to progress is fun to watch.
Watching an underdog score a last sec-
ond goal, or heave the half court shot to
win the game is almost as good as it gets.
In cross-country, things aren't so
melodramatic. Monday's NCAA
Championship in cross-country is not
likely to be the type of event that draws
crowds from all corners of the country. If
anything,- the streets of host-town
Bloomington will be packed with foot-
ball fans heading for the game between
Indiana and Purdue.
But for the Michigan men's cross
country team, the time that the
Wolverines will spend on the Indiana
University cross-county track, this com-
ing Monday, will be all that matters.
Yesterday, coach Ron Warhurst
received a phone call that would have
sent some other coaches around the
country into a joyous frenzy. The call was
from the NCAA rules committee
informing him of the selection commit-
tee's choice to give Michigan one of the
13 at-large bids in the nation.

"You get one chance," he said. "These
kids have a half hour to show what
they've practiced for six months. That's
drama, isn't it?"
Cross-country running is not the most
spectator-friendly sport in the NCAA.
The races last just thirty minutes or so
and, unless you're one of the fools that
tries to run along with the racers, you
might see action only five times. Those
who cheer loudest are the parents.
"I think that you have to be a follow-
er, senior co-captain Jay Cantin said.
"It's not like hockey where you can just
turn on the TV and see bodies cracking.
You have to understand what the athlete
is going through."
But Michigan's coach feels that the
drama comes from the lack of room for
error. In other sports, there is halftime or.,
a time-out to change the pace of the
game. In cross-country, once the race
begins, the coach can scream at his run-
ners from the side as much as he wants,
but the outcome is in their hands.
"Once the gun goes off, you have no
control over them;' Warhurst said. "Who
knows how they slept last night or what
they feel like today. "Nobody knows.
That's why we go and run"
Cantin attributes the dramatic

Cracking the NCAA Tournament - the
season's climax - Is nothing new to
veteran coach Ron Warhurst.
after a victorious cross-country effort
as they would over a football game.

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