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September 08, 1999 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-08

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16A - The Michigan Daily - Wedne
IMichigan
finds itsel
.ly Michael Kern
baily Sports Writer

esday, September 8, 1999

men's cross country
f a sufficient foe for now

4

The Michigan men's cross country team
kicked off its season yesterday by running in
the Michigan Open at the Michigan Golf
Course.
The Open, an intrasquad meet, acted as a
time trial for the team, as well as a tryout for
walk-on hopefuls.
Junior Mike Wisniewski and sophomore
Mark Pilja crossed the finish line in a tie for
first with a time of 26:12. The two slowed
down for the last few steps, crossing the line
.together rather than fighting each other for
the top spot.
"We weren't racing at all," Wisniewski
said. "We were working together the whole
race and just running easy."
Senior co-captains Jay Cantin and Steve
Lawrence along with sophomore Sam Dorri
rounded out the top five for Michigan, all
crossing the line at 26:29.
"We have to run as a pack and pull each
other along," Cantin said. "Steve
(Lawrence), Pilja, Wisniewski, and I ...
those four are the key guys. All we need is
to pull along one of the other guys, and it
looks like we have four or five guys who can
be in the fifth spot."
As a team, the Wolverines ran a promis-
ingly quick race. Each runner on the team
improved on his time from last year.
. "With the first time trial, you never know
Swhat to expect," Michigan coach Ron
Warhurst said. "We lost two All-Americas,

but my senior co-captains are running very
well along with a lot of other people. I've
got a lot of pleasant surprises.
"Last year's fi.fth-place finisher would
have finished I Ith this year. So if that is any
indication of what we're looking forward to,
we are going to have a pretty decent season."
Warhurst downplayed the team's strong
showing, reminding his team that the impor-
tant races were still eight to 10 weeks down
the line and improvements still had to be
made. But he was optomistic about the
team's chances for the season.
"I hope we can improve like we did last
year," Warhurst said. "If we do, we'll have a
chance to finish top three in the Big Ten and
make our goal of making nationals and fin-
ishing in the top 12."
The All-Americas that Michigan will have
to replace, John Mortimer and Todd Snyder,
were its top two runners last year and led the
Wolverines to a Big Ten championship and a
fourth place finish at the NCAA
Championships.
Mortimer and Snyder finished third and
fifth, respectively, at Big Tens last season,
leading the Wolverines to their second
straight championship. At the NCAA
Championships, Snyder placed 10th and
Mortimer 31st, despite suffering multiple
injuries in the weeks leading up to the event.
"The year before (last), we lost Kevin
Sullivan who was probably the most prolific
distance runner that ever attended Michigan,
and rebounded pretty well with Mortimer

and Snyder," Warhurst said.
This year, the Wolverines will rely on the
leadership of co-captains Lawrence and
Cantin to "pick up the slack" in their quest
for a third straight Big Ten title.
Warhurst also expects last year's support-
ing cast to step up and contribute this sea-
son.
"Pilja is running very well in camp and
practice so far this season and Wisniewski is
also running tremendously," Warhurst said.
"There are also numerous other guys who
have made strides over the summer."
The Wolverines boast a strong freshman
class this year that includes eight runners.
Warhurst hopes that four freshmen from the
group - namely Nick Stanko, Andy
Vyncke, Aaron Lindell, Kevin Hughes, and
Ryan Hesselink - might be able to con-
tribute this season but noted that the transi-
tion from high school to college is difficult.
"They are going to be contributors down
the road," Warhurst said. "I don't know how
much they are going to make it this year, but
if they are ready to go they will compete for
~
us."
With such a youthful team, the
Wolverines are humbly calling themselves
underdogs in the Big Ten this season rather
than favorites as they have been the last two
years yet they remain confident in their
abilites.
"We're not the favorites," Wisniewski
said, "but if we run our best we have a shot
at them."

DANA LINNANE/Daily
The Michigan cross country team competed in the Michigan Open against a tough opponent -them-
selves. The Wolverines are seeking their third-straight Big Ten title.
S (3

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Wolverines take apart
By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's cross-coun-
try team started its new season
Saturday with a dominating win over
an under-manned Michigan State team.
Michigan placed the top seven runners
and finished with a perfect 15 points to
Michigan State's 50.
"Michigan State held out some of
their top kids so we kind of used it as a
hard workout," Michigan coach Mike
McGuire said. "We focused on keeping
our group together. I thought we got a
tough race, Lisa (Ouellet) ran a good
race and our two freshmen Jane
Martineau and Lyndsi Gay ran strong
in the last couple minutes.
"Overall, I thought it was a good
effort. You can't get much tougher con-
ditions than we had today, we haven't

s

Spartans with a perfect
run a hard effort in this kind of heat so
overall I'm happy."
Ouellet, who's 18:01 time won the
5,000 meter race, is one member of a
committee that will need to exceed
expectations if they are to replace
national champion Katie McGregor.
"Instead of having one top front run-
ner we're going to run more as a tight
pack this year where all of our runners
are within 30 seconds of each other,"
freshmen Lyndsi Gay said. "It will be
different this year but we'll have a
good, strong pack to run."
Gay was part of the good, strong
pack on Saturday, finishing in seventh
place. Katy Radkewich, Erin White,
Martineau, Elizabeth Kampfe, Katie
Ryan and Gay took second through
seventh place, respectively. The six
runners were all within 12 seconds of
each other.
McGuire agreed.
"It's going to have to be done by
committee," McGuire said. "You don't
replace a national champion with one
person. You'd like to, but in out situa-
tion you're not going to. Erin White is
going to have to be a heck of a lot bet-
ter this year and just all of them (are
going to have to be better).
Injuries to Kampfe and Radkewich
left the Wolverines short-handed last
year, however, McGuire thinks that a
healthy, balanced team could be suc-
cessful.
"The makeup of the team is really
different so if we meet or exceed the
success of last year it's going to have to
be done with a much more balanced
team. We don't have a the national
champion individually on this team.
That's not taking away anything from
the people we have, that's just a fact. So
if you can make up for it, you have to
do it with a lot more balance."
Michigan State's top runner, recent
Arizona State transfer Jen Dreth, fin-
ished in eighth place with a 19:38 time.
The pre-season eleventh-ranked
Wolverines' new running style
impressed Michigan State distance
coach Jim Stintzi. Stintzi was filling in
for Spartan's coach Angela Goodman

start to 1999 season; Freshman run strong

DANA LINNANE/Daily
Michigan's women's cross country team got off to a perfect start Saturday, when
they downed the Spartans at Buhr Park.

Saturday because of a personal matter
Goodman had to attend.
"They were impressive, they're
always impressive" Stintzi said.
Though the Wolverines impressed
him, Stintzi was more focused on get-
ting his runners experience, not com-
peting with the Wolverines.
"I just started working with this
group on Monday," Stintzi said "We
just trained through this weekend so I
wanted to hold out our top nine run-
ners. For this group it was really just

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about getting the racing experience."
McGuire didn't want to use that as
an excuse.
"We held out three runners our-
selves," McGuire said. "We've got
some runners that are sick, (Katie)
Clifford, (Angela) Stanifer, and (Sarah)
Hamilton did not run so we would have
been stronger ourselves:
"I think we did pretty well," senio*
Marcy Akard said. "Obviously, there
weren't too many people in the race
butthe first race is always pretty hard"
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