SportsWednesday - September 6, 2000 - The Michigan Daily .- 9B
Anonymous Wolverines plan to extend run of excellence in cross country
By Ryan C. Moloney
Daily Sports NTiter
For the better part of the 90's, the
Michigan men's cross country team
churned out successful fall seasons like
a summer blockbuster movie seies.
Unlike in Hollywood, the sequels goi
better and better. With each year, heros
such as Kevin Sullivan, John Mortimer,
Jay Cantin and Steve Lawrence gradu-
ally moved in, starred, then gave away
to new protagonists.
The familiar faces this time around
are far and few in between - media
guides should be passed out at the
But coach Ron Warhurst enjoys ithe
lowered national projections and has
wasted no time tossing the team's five
freshmen into the fray.
"That's life in the big city," Warhurst
said. "You don't go to military school to
practice war and they can't get away
with BSing (on the collegiate level).
"I'm sure they got to the three-mile-
mark and said hey it's over, it's high
school."' Warhurst said at the end of
yesterday's Wolverine Invitational.
Most collegiate men's cross country
races span ten kilometers or 6.2 miles.
The invitational, however, was five
The meet is traditionally the opener
for the season and for all intents and
purposes, functions as a hyped-up time
trial. Both senior Mike Wisniewski and
junior Mark Pilja gave the appearance
of professional runners, sporting their
own uniforms as opposed to the usual
maize and blues.
Though the Michigan golf course is
closed for other home meets, the course
stayed open yesterday, providing a
peculiar site for spectators -- runners
filtering past foursomes searching for
lost golf balls.
The Wolverines return Pilja and
senior John Butsic, both key top five
runners from last year's team. Wis-
niewski, in all likelihood, will redshirt
this season according to Warhurst.
"He could be top ten at this year's
NCAA, but I'm banking on going with
nine solid guys next year - hopefully
we can challenge for the whole thing in
Wisniewski and Pilja went 1-2 in the
race, five seconds apart. Mason Ward,
perhaps the team's top incoming fresh-
man, took third.
Butsic, nursing an ear infection, fin-
ished in back of the pack.
"I'm concerned about him,"
Warhurst saidAdditionally, junior Tom
Caughlan and sophomore David Cook
are crucial to the depth and durability
of the top five. Both are challenging for
spots behind Pilja who, if Wisniewski is
redshirted, will most likely inherit the
number one spot from the departed Jay
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