8B The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 22, 1999
Continued from Page 18
Carolina State and Colorado -
Michigan simply cannot match on paper.
But the eighth-ranked Wolverines cer-
tainly have pride on the line.
"There's no reason why we can't per-
form better and have the best race of our
season," Michigan coach Ron Warhurst
said. "That's the goal from the start - to
have your best day at the end. I expect
them to react the way they have the rest
of the season - and that's to come out
with flying colors."
An immediate goal for the Wolverines
is to shut down their conference rivals,
Wisconsin and Notre Dame, two teams
that Michigan faced in the last two weeks
with subpar results.
The Wolverines lost both weeks to
Wisconsin and last week to the Fighting
For others, particularly Michigan's two
senior stars, Cantin and Steven
Lawrence, the meet poses an opportunity
to end their times wearing the Michigan
colors in memorable fashion.
"It's my last cross-country race for the
school; Cantin said. "There's nothing I'd
like more than to go out with a bang."
Such a case would not surprise
Warhurst, who anticipates both Cantin
and Lawrence finishing with the meet's
top pack and making the top-20.
"I think that they're realistically think-
ing about being All-Americans,"
One particularly bright note for the
team is that junior John utsic will be
returning to action today, after missing
last week's race with an injury that had
negatively affected his run at the Big Ten
"We're ready to go," Warhurst said.
The coach also acknowledged the
need for him to step back and let each
team member adjust to the pressures
alone. He's done all that he can do.
"I don't want to get them too excited,"
he said. "They're nervous enough."
One of Michigan's budding stars,
sophomore Mark Pilja, asserted that the
team's performance at the NCAA
Regionals has no bearing on its ability to
beat its two biggest rivals today.
"Last year, I think of the three meets,
districts was our worst," he said. "If you
run well at two of the three that's good.
One of them has to be a little bit more of
a 'down' meet."
Such an answer probably would not
suit Warhurst. Despite the popular opin-
ion that the season was surprisingly suc-
cessful, the coach adds that the season
does not end until the runners cross the
finish line later today. Nothing else mat-
"There's no reason for excuses for any-
thing at this point," Warhurst said. "I
refuse to let them come up with an
excuse. They're good enough. I believe it,
and they believe it."
Michigan's men and women will compete for national honors today at the
NCAA Cross Country Championships in Bloomington.
Here are the 1999 NCAA lineups:
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Continued from Page 1B
champion, Katie McGregor, was a
"major disappointment" according to
This year, the stakes are somewhat
different. Michigan is not as strong as
they have been, so some of the pressure
"There's a little bit of a feeling that
we don't have anything to lose this
time; McGuire said. "Where things
went wrong a year ago, our runners
have had a year of experience to learn
from their mistakes. The main thing is
keeping your head in the game, because
it can make the difference between fin-
ishing four places higher than expected
or placing lower than you expect."
As one of the favored teams,
Michigan has always had the focus of
trying to win the NCAA title. Simply
qualifying for the NCAA
Championships has usually been taken
for granted, but not this year.
When Michigan got the all-important
phone call from the NCAA Selection
Committee notifying them that they
had received an at-large berth, there
was a sense of relief among the team
Winning the NCAA title is pretty
much out of the question this year, but
that doesn't mean that the Wolverines
won't be ready when today's meet rolls
"There was an initial feeling of relief,
because we had that air of uncertainty
about whether or not we would get in,"
McGuire said. "But I talked to them
after we found out, and stressed the
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importance of continuing to focus on
the task at hand.
"We're not a top-five team, and if we
go in thinking that we are, then we'll
finish 20th. What we have to do is
understand that we're 17th, and then we
have to try to improve on that."
The Indiana course provides a stern
test to the field today. Michigan already
ran there once, at the Sam Bell
Invitational, so the layout isn't unfamil-
But, as the old saying goes,
"Familiarity breeds contempt."
"This is the toughest course we're
going to run all year, except for our
own," McGuire said. "Generally, what
slows you down isn't so much the hills
as it is the soft footing, but there's been
no rain this year. Last week, the course
in Terre Haute was hard as a rock.
"Bloomington hasn't had any rain
either, so the course is again going to be
hard. As a result, this is going to be a
Michigan will run the same seven
who participated in Terre Haute: Marcy
Akard, Katie Clifford, Julie Froud,
Elizabeth Kampfe, Lisa Ouellet, Katie
Ryan, and Jeanne Spink.
These seven, along with alternates
Angie Stanifer and Sarah Hamilton,
know that they need to be at their best
to do well in Bloomington.
"When we went to regionals, we just
put our seven best runners on the line
and saw what happened," McGuire
said. "This is going to be the biggest,
most talented field of the season.
"Our runners have to go out and keep
competing and working. You just can't
with the University?
Need help making
sense of your
U of M experience?
By Dena Beth Krischer
Daily Sports Writer
Almost every senior student athlete
of every Michigan varsity team stood
near the 50-yard-line of Michigan
Stadium Saturday and held up the "M
GO BLUE" banner for the final home
football game of their college experi-
Hundreds of Michigan student ath-
letes scrambled into two single-file
lines to glimpse their team as it rushed
under the banner.
Of those hundreds of seniors, the one
who stood out the most was the one who
wasn't there - who couldn't be there.
Jeff Reese's final athletic moment
was two years ago, unplanned and
He left without notice.
The wrestler still leaves his mark on
the hearts and minds of his graduating
"Whether you know him or not, you
can relate to him just being a student
athlete," said senior Michigan tennis
player Brad McFarlane.
Jeff was there.
You could feel it.
They could feel it.
In his honor stood eight winners who
contributed to the Student Athlete
Advisory Council raffle that raised
more than $3,700 for a scholarship held
in his name.
"The best part is seeing the excite-
ment on these people's faces when they
go out there and hold the banner,"
Michigan administrative assistant April
Bayles said. "This whole thing is such
and honor for them."
Especially with a cause as empower-
ing as this one.
"This is what it's all about," SAAC
treasurer and senior wrestler Matt
Michalski said. "That the people who
donated so much money towards the
cause can be a part of this."
"I'd donate money regardless," said
junior Michigan baseball player Joe
Young of Detroit, whose mother won
the raffle and had him go in her place.
"Going on the field is just an added
Dr. John Wesley, father of Michigan
freshman cross-country runner John
Wesley Jr., was stunned he was able to
be a part of it.
"It's a great idea;' Wesley said. "It's
great for the scholarship to be in honor
of an athlete, and I'm pleased to con-
tribute to it."
For Pete Stae, a Michigan alumnus,
this was his first time ever standing on
the field of his favorite football stadi-
"This is great," an elated Stae said. "I
told somebody at work that this is one
of the few things I wanted to put on my
list to do in my life."
Ann Arbor resident Ken Bylsha
raised the banner in memory of Reese
- and somebody else very close to his
"My dad died this week," Bylsha
said. "He was a big Michigan fan, so it's
really helpful. It's a great way to get you
more tied up with the athletic depart-
ment. It's a great idea It's what I've
always wanted to do."
Matt McGee, an Ann Arbor resident
who has enjoyed Michigan football for
the past 20 seasons, didn't directly win
his spot on the gridiron.
"A friend of mine won it and trans-
ferred it to me," McGee said. "This is
great, I can't believe it."
To Phil Laveck, a Syracuse alum and
Michigan season ticket holder since
1980, there's nothing that could top his
few seconds on the grass.
"This is the most exciting thing that
has ever happened to me as far as being
in this stadium," Laveck said. "It's an
absolute thrill to come out through than
And the cause he was there to support
made the experience that much more
"They had someone who was so ded-
icated, who really wanted to get that
wrestling weight," said Laveck, "and
then have something so unfortunate
happen to him, I think it's a great
memorial to him."
Reese died getting ready to compete.
He needed to lose 14 pounds in four
days, and in turn Michigan lost him.
-That's why the Student Athletic
Advisory Council started the scholar-
ship" It has raised more than $18,200. It
The money will go to any student ath-
lete who embodies the hard work and
determination that Reese represented.
"I'have to thank the people that were
there," SAAC president and former
Michigan swimmer Andy Potts said.
"The student athletes really made the
commitment to themselves to not let
this opportunity to start something new
and great for Michigan athletics pass
"It made it that much more special
that it was for a good cause. It wasn't
just for kicks, it had a purpose to it."
That purpose was Reese.
This one's for him.
- ' .-