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September 22, 2000 - Image 15

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-22

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 22, 2000 - 15

Pilja, freshmen lead
runners to Washington

By Nathan Linsley
For the Daily
The Michigan men's cross country
team begins its official scoring season
this weekend in the ninth-annual
Sundodger Invitational at Washington.
Following a tune up in the form of
the Wolverine Invitational, a non-scor-
ing meet held at the Michigan golf
course, the runners are excited about
embarking upon a new season of com-
petition.
last season, the Wolverines capped
their third-straight top-five season
with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA
Championships in Bloomington.
Though, they lost their top runner,
All-American Jay Cantin, to gradua-
tigpthe team expects to fare just as
well this season, beginning with this
weckend.
Junior Tom Caughlin thinks that
teamiwork will be the key to the team's
success this weekend, 'and throughout
the season.
"We have a really tight pack of
about nine guys that are running the
woikouts together, day in and day out,,,
Caughlin said.
Junior Mark Pilja has established
himself as the No. I runner this sea-
son, and John Butsic joins him as
returning top five runners. This week-
end, though, could shape up to be a

coming out party for a number of
freshmen.
"We had arguably the best recruiting
class in the nation and all of them are
running very strong," Caughlin said.
Though Pilja should be leading the
team this weekend, don't be surprised
to see some new names on the scoring
list for the Wolverines.
The emergence of the freshman class
will be instrumental this weekend and
for the rest of the season with senior
Mike Wisniewski rcdshirting.
Wisniewski, a first-team all Big Ten
selection will be kept for a stronger
group next season.
Senior Nate Hoffman also returns to
the team after missing the last two sea-
sons battling stress fractures.
Freshmen Mason Ward. lom
Greenless, Andy Martin and Benjamin
Sage all finished in the top eight at the.
Wolverine Invitational, and have their
sights set on a strong showing in Seattle
this weekend.
"We are the dark horse team,"
Caughlin said. "We surprised ourselves
last year, and from our early season
times. we could be better"
The Wolverines did not compete in
the Sundodger last season, when the
Utah Utes captured the team title. Host
Washington came in third, but the field
did not include any of the Big Ten or the
nation's top ten teams.

THIS WEEKEND
CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULE
The Men:
What: Sondodger Invitational
When: Tmorrow,10:15 am.PST
Where: Lincoln Park (Seattle, Wash.)
Latest: This is the first year that the Michigan
men'steamiscompeting in the SundoJer.
The Women:
What: Williami& Mary Inviritional
When: Tomorrow, 10a In.
Where: Will ianshura, Vir.
Latest: The No. 14 Wolverines are looking to
win their third straight meet this season.

IR ISH
Continued from Page 13
Jones, who has 184 yards on kickoff
returns. "They just blitzed every play
and we had a little trouble picking it
up. It was hard to get a running game
going."
Irish coaches expect No. 23
Michigan State (2-0) to try to do the
same thing Saturday. Rogers said the
Irish will be better prepared.
"If they want to take chances on us,
we've got to make them pay." Rogers
said.
BIG-Pi.AY THREAT DAvIS RETURNS:
Nick Davis' three-game suspension is

over, and he warns that could be bad
news for the Northwestern Wildcats
when they visit No. 7 Wisconsin on
Saturday.
"I'm going to go out there and take
all my frustrations out on
Northwestern," said Davis,-
Wisconsin's big-play threat and one
of the nation's top punt returners.
Davis and 25 of his teammates
were suspended one to three( games by
the NCAA for receiving unadvertised
shoe discounts last month. He had to
sit out the Badgers' first three games,
all of which were close calls.
"I've been waiting for three weeks
so I can put all of this behind me and

finally get in there and do what I love
doing," the junior wide receiver said.
"What's kept me going is what hap-
pened to m.e I use that as motivatioi."
With No. I receiver Chris
Chambers also suspended - ad
injured - the Badgers' passing game
has been pitiful.
Through three games, quarterback
Brooks Bollinger managed 'to
improve his record as.a starter to l t-0
despite completing just 21 of 43 pass
es for 246 yards and no touchdowns
Bollinger also has been sacked :l1
times for 67 yards after getting
sacked 13 times for 76 yards last sea-
son.

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