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November 23, 1999 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-23

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 23, 1999

BYU is
By ArunGopal
DailySports Writer
BLOOMINGTON -Toward the end
of the women's race at yesterday's
NCAA cross country Championships, a
number of media members and coaches
lined up next to the finish line, waiting
for the runners to cross. Everyone was
anxious to see who was going to win
both the individual and team titles.
Among the crowd were two assistant
coaches from Arkansas. They were con-
siderably more involved in the proceed-
ings than the majority of the spectators.
As runners from either Arkansas or
Stanford crossed the finish line, the
coaches frantically yelled out a running
tally of each team's finishers.
The coaches were tracking only
Arkansas and Stanford for an obvious
reason: the third-ranked Razorbacks and
the top-ranked Cardinal were the two
favorites going into the meet.
As .the fifth runners for the
Razorbacks and the Cardinal came in,
the two coaches stopped yelling and
began calculating in their heads each
team's score, trying to figure out whether
Arkansas or Stanford would have the
right to call itself national champion.
Then, a funny thing happened. The
scores were tabulated, and the winner
was announced - Brigham Young.
What happened to Arkansas and
Stanford? They came in a distant second

Kenyan star comes out of
nowhere to take NCAA title


Yesterday Lisa Ouellet and the Michigan women's cross country team finished 15th
at the NCAA Championships. In a surprising twist, BYU won the race outright.

and third. The Cougars sneaked up on
everybody, especially those two
Razorback coaches, to claim the NCAA
"We like to be a darkhorse," Brigham
Young coach Patrick Shane said. "We
were better than we showed earlier this
When the final statistics were released,
Brigham Young's top five runners had all
placed among the top 20, an impressive
statistic given that this field was com-
prised of the best runners in the country.
One reason why the Cougars might
have been able to avoid the national radar
is that they did not run any of their top
five members in any race until the
NCAA Regional Championships.
Consequently, the results from earlier in

Continued from Page 11
Palmer's victory (which happened to
come on her birthday) spoiled Yoder's
triumphant homecoming. Yoder, an
Indiana 'native, was nevertheless pleased
with her performance, as well as with
her team's showing.
"It was great to come back home to
Indiana," Yoder said, "I really gave it
everything I had, but I didn't feel like I
was 100 percent to go another gear when
Palmer took the lead. I've never cramped
up so bad in the last 100 meters."
A little bit further down the leader
board, Michigan capped off what had
been a topsy-turvy season with a 15th
place finish.
Even though the Wolverines weren't
able to defeat their archrival Michigan

State, which finished 14th, they were
still happy with the way they were able to
close out their year.
"We placed better than we were
ranked going in," Michigan coach Mike
McGuire said. "I thought we had good
races from Katie Clifford, Elizabeth
Kampfe, and Marcy Akard."
Leading the way for Michigan was
Clifford. The junior posted a time of
* 17:32.60 en route to a 41st place finish.
For Clifford, the strong showing at the
NCAA Championships was a fitting end
to a year where she erased many of the
disappointments of seasons past.
"I thought I did well today," Clifford
said. "I ran a minute faster than I did last
time I was here (in September)."
The Wolverines also got stellar perfor-
mances from seniors Kampfe and Akard,
who each ran their last cross-country

the season didn't reflect how strong the
team really was.
But at the Mountain Region
Championships, the Cougars flexed their
muscle by taking five consecutive spots
- two through six.
"I'm not surprised at all that BYU
won," Michigan coach Mike McGuire
said. "That team is so deep. All of their
kids run the same times, and they're
damn good.
"They laid low in the bushes for a
while, but when you run the way they did
at NCAA Regionals, you know that
they're going to be good."
So Brigham Young is national cham-
pion, and Arkansas and Stanford have a
year to try and get the license plate num-
ber of the semi that just ran over them.
race for the maize and blue.
One runner who did not have the kind
of day that she would have liked was
junior Lisa Ouellet. Throughout the sea-
son, Ouellet had been Michigan's most
consistent runner as well as the team's
top finisher in most of its' meets.
But Ouellet was not able to run up to
par on Monday, finishing as the team's
fourth runner in 129th place.
Given what the Wolverines have gone
through this season, one might think
that McGuire would be satisfied with a
15th place finish. But when you have
had the kind of success that McGuire
has had as a coach, 15th is simply not
good enough.
"When you consider what's happened.
it's a good finish," McGuire said. "I'll
take it for this year. But, I don't want to
make this a trend."

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Writer
freshman becomes NCAA cross-
country champion, his high school
would usually become a national
Thirteen year-old middle school
students from all over the world
would be lining up outside of the
doors of the school, trying to become
the next star.
ESPN would cover the school's
history classes, hoping to show the
next budding star in a class environ-
But when the freshman is a 22-
year-old Kenyan immigrant, things
change a bit.
Yesterday's NCAA Men's Cross-
Country Championship was dominat-
ed by teams such as Arkansas and
North Carolina State. But these top
teams in the country were dominated
by David Kimani, in the meet as an
independent after his school, South
Alabama, failed to qualify for the
team competition.
The victory was the first time in
the history of South Alabama that a
student had won a national champi-
onship in any sport.
Kimani, who first moved to the
United States on Sept. 5 of this year,
came into the meet riding a five meet
The native of Nairobi was predict-
ed to be among the leaders, and he
met and exceeded all expectations,
finishing with a time of 30:06.60,
Continued from Page 11
But after Cantin, the field for the
Michigan team took an odd twist.
Steven Lawrence, usually a solid
second man for the team, wasn't
able to run up to expectations.
Finishing 79th overall (60th team)
and fourth for the team, Lawrence
came in a full 40 spots behind what
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst had
Picking up the slack left by
Lawrence, sophomore Mike
Wisniewski ran well enough to tally
32nd (26) place, followed by fellow
sophomore Mark Pilja in 57th (43)
The team ran into problems with
its fifth man. Over the past two
weeks, sophomore Tom Caughlan has
been taking the place of John Butsie
due to various injuries. For a while
yesterday, it looked as though despite
Butsic's return, Caughlan was still
going to finish fifth.
But Butsic, who still wasn't feeling
100 percent, caught up to Caughlan
and finished in the 140th spot, a full
80 points behind Lawrence.
"He was back and he moved
through," Warhurst said. "He saved
our life." Cantin's run was good

almost nine seconds faster than the
course record set by Indiana's Bob
Kennedy in 1992.
While the freshman has been run-
ning his whole life, he first started
running cross-country competitiely
this past March.
To some, Kimani's choice of South
Alabama may seem like the Kenyan
is setting his sights a little low.
The NCAA champion could star
for any of the national cross-country
powers, and therefore have the
chance to have his team running with
him at the future championship
But to Kimani, the choice of South
Alabama is a connection to his
Kenyan heritage.
"'The coach down in South
Alabama wanted me because of my
former coach in Kenya," he said.
"And they worked together to get me
There are so many cliches that can
be used to describe Kimani's race.
One could say that he "put South
Alabama on the map," and "he's the
pride of South Alabama!"
Still, each of these terms would be
an incorrect assessment. His perfor-
mance yesterday benefits only him-
self, in that the uniform that he wore
was the only connection to his school
that he raced with.
Because of this, it is unsure
whether or not the school will be able
to hold onto its new star. A university
official expressed that he does know
if Kimani will return there.

"I hope we can keep him." he said.
"But we don't have the money to
otTer him that some of the top
schools do."
The freshman won exery race that
he ran this year, after coach Brad
Boxman sat him in the team's first
two meets. But since he beuan his
colleg-c rennin; career, he has been
thriving in the shadows of the nation-
al stars
Coming into Bloomincton on such
an impressive streak, there was still a
lot of head-turning by those xatchin
the independent take the led iiaround
the eight-kilometer mark and keep it
for the remaininii two.
In fact. some runners on the
Michigan team hadn't e en heard of
the phenom.
"I really don't know what to sav"
sophomore Mike Wisniewski said. "t
don't know who lie is.
To the track coaches around the
nation, however, the freshman was
amthing but unknown. Upon coin-
pleting his championship run,
Kimani was awarded with NCAA
men's cross-country athlete of the
year, an award selected by the coach-
es around the country.
Still, Michigan coach, Ron
Warhurst did not seem so impressed
with the meet's star.
"They say he's 22 years old, but he
may be older," Warhurst said. "It's
not like he's a rookie. He's a fresh-
man, but he's very experienced.
"It'd be like running a fifth-year

enough to make him an All-
Before the race, Warhurst had stat-
ed that anything above eighth place
would make him very happy. And yet,
after watching his team exceed his
expectations, Warhurst saw much
room for improvement.
"We ran ok," he said. "We didn't
run great. I was shocked to see that
we were fifth."
The Michigan runners shared the
Had his runners ran as well as they
had throughout the season, could
have placed much higher.
"I'm somewhat disappointed."
Butsic said, "because if we'd all had
our best races, we could have had as
high as second place.
"But, we're also very happy,
because we could have even ended up
like 10th."
But Warhurst still felt the excite-
ment of having watched his team
overachieve, even if they could have
done better. He explained that his
runners had responded tremendously
to the pressures and tension of run-
ning in the biggest race of the season.
Following Wisconsin were North
Carolina State with 201 points and
Stanford with 223.
Michigan rounded out the top five

with 282.
Arkansas came out to an early lead,
running with a strategy of starting
fast and maintaining the pace. Such a
plan is not often seen among top
teams, where often, the runners start
slower and build up a lead.
Perhaps Arkansas coach John
McDonnell knew something that the _
rest of the pack didn't. His__
Razorbacks never looked back, and
he went on to be awarded
NCAA men's cross-country coach
of the year, notching his 34th coach-
ing championship in cross-country
and track.
"I love Indiana," McDonnell said
"Everytime I come here, we win
Their top finisher, Michael Power
a senior from Australia, joined
Kimani and third place fiisher Steve
Fein of Oregon in breaking the
Indiana course record of 30:15.30
The three attributed their success to
the near-perfect conditions of the
"Halfway through, (McDonnell)
knew that we had won," Power said.
"So he was just telling us guys to go
for personal glory."
Big Ten champion, Wisconsin's
Matt Downin, and William and
Mary's Matthew Lane closed out the
top five,

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Academic Recognition
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these membership benefits.


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