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November 03, 2003 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-03

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 3, 2003 - 7B

tn mi wmwn

Leading in East Lansing


'M' harriers defend conference title

By Anne Uble
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - Senior Lindsey Gallo
crossed the finish line with a huge smile on her
"I saw Rebecca (Walter) finish, and Sarah
(Pizzo) was right behind me," Gallo said. "And I
just knew we had won"
Yesterday, the Michigan women's cross coun-
try team successfully defended its Big Ten
championship title in East Lansing, outscoring
second-place Michigan State by 26 points. Last
year Michigan narrowly beat out the Spartans to
win the championship title by three points. This
year the Wolverines went into the Champi-
onships as the underdog behind rival Michigan
State. Michigan came out ahead again, earning
the respect of the conference.
Rebecca Walter, a sophomore finished first
with a time of 20:40 to capture the team win and
earn herself the Big Ten individual title. Walter
also became Michigan's first Big Ten individual
champion since 1998.
"I felt really good today," Walter said. "I
worked with the front-runners and was able to
keep a close race."
Competing against Walter for the win was
Michigan State's Michelle Carson, who attempt-
ed to earn a second consecutive title. But Carson
lost ground with Walter about half a mile left,
handing the win over to Walter.

"I had a lot of help from Lindsey (Gallo) and
Jessie (Allen-Young)," Walter said. "They
pushed me really hard, and we won it together."
Gallo, Allen-Young and Walter have been
training together during practices and planned
on sticking together during the race.
"We've had some great training over the past
few weeks," Walter said. "And we stuck together
during the race, and it paid off."
Before the race, the team had a meeting and
captain Andrea Parker told the girls, "We don't
put in these miles for nothing."
"She told us that we've worked harder than
anyone to get here," Allen-Young said. "We all
have to put everything out on the course. And I
think we all did."
Michigan coach Mike McGuire didn't have
much to tell his runners before they raced.
"They were prepared," McGuire said.
"They've done their work, and it was time to be
Jessie Allen-Young, a senior, finished third
overall in her first appearance at the Big Ten
Championships, earning All-Big Ten honors and
providing the Wolverines with a solid hold on
the team title.
"It was a tough race," Allen-Young said. "It
was really wet and muddy out on the course.
But I think overall I ran well, and I was happy
with my performance."
The rain and mud made a more difficult race
for many of the runners, but Michigan was used

Blue men close gap behind Wisconsin

By Phil Kofahl
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan State may have been the
host of yesterday's Big Ten Cham-
pionships, it was Michigan that
made itself at home.
Despite heavy rains and dipping
temperatures at Forest Akers Golf
Course in East Lansing, Michigan-
finished second overall behind Wis-
consin, which won its fifth straight
Big Ten championship, placing
three runners in the top five. Junior
Nate Brannen led the Wolverines
with a second-place finish, his best
of the season. Senior Tom Green-
less and sophomore Nick Willis
were the other Wolverines in the
top ten, finishing seventh and
eighth, respectively.
Brannen and Greenless earned
first-team All-Big Ten for their
finishes, and Willis was named to

the second team. Senior captain
Nick Stanko finished 16th, his
best finish ever at the Big Ten
Championships. Rounding out the
scoring was senior Alex
L'Heureux, who finished 26th in
his first Big Ten Championship
Michigan was only 17 points
behind champion Wisconsin, who
finished 55 points ahead of the
Wolverines at last year's meet.
"Seventeen points isn't too
shabby to lose to the number-two
team in the country," Michigan
coach Warhurst said.
Brannen's second-place finish
shows the dramatic recovery that
he has made since an iron defi-
ciency forced him to sit out early
in the year. In seventh place with
1,000 meters to go, Brannen dug
in and out kicked all but one of the
runners in front of him.
"I hung in with the lead group

towards the end, and then took
off," said Brannen. "I think I got
the best finish of anybody in the
Big Tens, I'm not going to get out-
kicked. I'm starting to feel really
good. This is a positive sign going
into the end of the season, feeling
Warhurst was more than happy
with the way his team ran.
"Nate ran tremendous, he's
back," said Warhurst. "And what
can you say about Tommy, he's
been great all year."
Michigan fans took over the
course, wearing their maize and
blue and shouting at the top of
their lungs. Having the Big Ten
Championships in East Lansing
gave many parents a chance to see
their sons run. Pat Greenless,
Tom's mother, waived her maize-
and-blue "M" flag and cheered on
her son to his first All-Big Ten

Top: Rebecca Walter accepts her medal as Big Ten champion.
Left: Nate Brannen runs toward a second-place finish.


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