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January 18, 2005 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-18

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The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - January 18, 2005 - 7B

In Kentucky, runners
qualify for NCAAs

MEWS TRACK
Porter runs strong for 'M'
in preparation for hurdles

By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
With the Michigan women's track and field team
just two events into its season, several Wolverines
have already qualified for the NCAA Champion-
ships in June. The nonscored Kentucky Invita-
tional this weekend proved to be just the laidback
environment needed to jumpstart the Wolverines
and help many athletes meet NCAA provisional
qualifying standards.
Michigan opened the two-day meet by shatter-
ing the existing Nutter Field House record in the
4x800-meter relay. Fifth-year senior captain Lind-
sey Gallo anchored the relay and crossed the fin-
ish line in 8:47.75, just six seconds faster than the
old record set by Auburn in 2003. Freshmen Laura
Gyll and Nicole Edwards and junior Theresa Feld-
kamp ran the first three legs of the race, helping to
clock a time 26 seconds faster than second-place
Clemson.
"I would have to say that it's a mission accom-
plished," Michigan coach James Henry said of the
team's performance. "We have made it a goal to
get better each week, and this week we showed
improvement since the Jack Harvey Invitational.
We looked more relaxed this weekend, and the
performances were coming to us, rather than us
having to fight to get those performances."
Former All-American junior Stephanie Linz got
her 2005 season started with a bang, striking a new
personal best while meeting an NCAA automatic
qualifying standard in the high jump with a height
of 6-0 . Linz sat out last season due to injury and

was eager to get back in the swing of things. At
the beginning of the season, her goal was to set
a new personal best, and, just two meets into the
season, she has already achieved that goal as well
as punched her ticket to Sacramento, the site of this
year's NCAA Championships.
"That was the performance of the meet," Henry
said. "Stephanie sat out a year and this was her first
away meet. But she came in relaxed but intense.
She has gotten even better than she was in 2003,
when she was an All-American, thanks to excel-
lent training and great focus. Her head is realfy in
her sport this year."
Freshman Alyson Kohlmeier proved it doesn't
take long for some new Wolverines to adjust to
collegiate competition. She met an NCAA pro-
visional qualifying standard on Saturday in the
3,000-meter run with a time of 9:23 and helped the
4x800-meter relay squad set a new record.
"She just looked really confident out there and
everything," senior captain Rebecca Walkers said
of Kohlmeier.
Gallo clocked in right ahead of Edwards in the
mile with a time of 4:45.28, enough to meet an
NCAA provisional qualifying standard as well.
Out of a field of 35 runners, five Wolverines scored
in the top-10 in the 3,000-meter. Walters was
also able to meet an NCAA provisional qualify-
ing standard in the 3,000-meter run with a time
of 9:23.15.
While the meet did not affect the Wolverines'
ranking, it gave them the confidence they will need
in the weeks to come, while hosting back-to-back
meets in Ann Arbor later this month. But, the run-

By Pete Sneider
Daily Sports Writer

While most of Michigan's top runners on
the men's track team are just trying to find
their rhythm, senior Rondell Ruff hasn't
missed a beat. Ruff posted the fastest time in
the 800-meter run on Saturday at the East-
ern Michigan Invitational. This came just a
week after he paced the mile field en route to
a victory in Michigan's home opener at the
Jack Harvey Invitational.
"It was another good tune-up race with
decent competition," Ruff said. "We got out
pretty slow, but we closed pretty good. At the
end, closing so quick, even though we hadn't
been doing any speed work, it lets me know
my sprint was there."
Ruff's competition at the non-scoring
meet came mainly from teammates sopho-
more Sebastien Lounis and freshman Mike
Woods, who finished second and third,
respectively. Woods's indoor debut was a
little slow at 1:55.08, but his coach won't be
losing sleep over Canada's top junior miler.
"We knew it was going to be slow," Mich-
igan coach Ron Warhurst said. "We just
needed a little sharpening. He's been train-
ing hard. He's been doing a lot of hill work,
a lot of long distance stuff. (Times of) 1:54
and 1:55 are fine for him right now, and I'm
really happy with that."
Warhurst was pleased with the rest of
800-meter field as well.

"(It) started out slow and just picked up
the pace faster and faster, which indicates
that they're very strong, but not sharp. They
don't want to be sharp now."
SophomoreJeff Porter also began his indoor
season and finished tied for fourth place in the
60-meter finals with a time of 6.99. Porter,
last year's Big Ten champion in the 60-meter
hurdles, is running the dash to improve speed
for the hurdles, his main event.
"One of my strengths- is speed," Porter
said. "I will win the hurdle race between the
hurdles more so than (with) my technique.
My technique has to be good, obviously,
but the speed is where I'm most dangerous.
Helping with that, helping with my start, my
speed, so when I put it all together for my
hurdles, I'm there."
Porter's ability in the 60-meter dash has
not gone unnoticed by Warhurst, who said
he expects to see more of him in the event
down the road.
"If he gets down to 6.80, he might run it
in the Big Ten meet," Warhurst said. "Coach
(Fred) LaPlante wanted him to work on his
speed."
Warhurst has. a clear set of priorities for
the early part of the season but plans to acti-
vate most of his roster next week at the Red
Simmons Invitational in Ann Arbor.
"Taking everybody home in one piece,
that's the key," Warhurst said. "You'll see a
good group next week. We should get rolling
next week."

f "LtNflt-LJ IAUVSJ/t tiy
Alyson Kohimeier met an NCAA provisional qualifying
standard in Kentucky this weekend.
ners know that it takes a lot to keep their times low
and attributes most of their success to their rigor-
ous practice schedule.
"If we just continue working hard in practice
and focusing on what we need to and what our
problem areas would be, I think we are going to
end up doing really well and everyone will be
really prepared," fifth-year senior captain Lynn
Gasparella said. "So practice is a big thing and,
if we can continue working hard, everything will
come together."

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