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September 12, 2005 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-12

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 12, 2005 - 7B

* Harriers start fast, take top
three spots in first meet

By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
For the first 20 seconds after the tape was broken,
all anyone could see was maize and blue. The Michi-
gan women's cross country team swept the field at
the Great Meadows Invitational at Great Plains, Va.,
on Saturday.
Sophomore Alyson Kohlmeier led the Wolverines to their
1-2-3 finish, winning the 5K race with a time of 17:14 and
kicking off Michigan's season on a positive note.
Redshirt freshman Nicole Edwards came in second,
followed by Arianne Field, who finished third at 17:34.
The Wolverines finished in seven of the eight top spots in
the event against Georgetown, Maryland, West Virginia
and Howard. The second group of runners consisted of
sophomore Erin Webster, senior Ana Gjesdal, junior Jes-
sie Stewart and freshman Claire Otwell - who finished
fifth through eighth, respectively.
"I was surprised," coach Mike McGuire said. "It was a
pretty good feeling because it was a tad unexpected, and
it was really great to see in September."
Kohlmeier's victory gives her the added reassurance
that her summer training in Canada is already paying
off. At the start of the race, she wanted to be in position
to distance herself from.the rest of the pack as the race
progressed, to assure that no one would pass her along
the home stretch.
"There was a degree of control with what she was
doing early," McGuire said. "She was able to maintain
that pace throughout the race, and she looked really
strong the whole way. And I think she is just at a whole
different level right now."

Competing in her first official race of her Michi-
gan career, Edwards crossed the finish line 10 sec-
onds after Kohlmeier, good enough for second place.
Edwards - a middle-distance runner for the track
and field team - showed her talent in the final leg
of the race, increasing her speed during the last 800
meters for a strong finish.
Edwards used the race to get acquainted with the
cross country course, and neither she nor her coach had
any expectations of how it would go. In the end, Edwards
wound up surprising everyone - including herself.
"As I was coming to the last mile, I was just still feel-
ing good, so I was focusing on people ahead of me and
trying to pass people," Edwards said. "Then all of a
sudden I looked ahead, and I saw Alyson (Kohlmeier),
and I'm like 'Oh my god that's Ali, I'm in second place.'
Before that, I hadn't realized I was so far up, and that
was just really exciting for me."
The Wolverines attribute much of their success to the
race plan McGuire devised last week. It divided the run-
ners into several clusters, which helped them maintain
speed and focus, especially during the first mile. The
clusters tended to drift apart as the race progressed. The
plan also allowed the teammates to defend against chal-
lenges from other teams, since there is always strength
in numbers.
"We try to set (the race plan) up around how they pre-
pare and who they have been training with and who they
can sustain an effort with throughout the race," McGuire
said. "You run into windows during the course of a race
where it can get a little difficult, so, if you have team-
mates around, you they can pull and push you through
- the same way as in practice."

Sophomore Alyson Kohimeler helped pace the Wolverines to a fast start to their season, winning the Great Meadows Invitational.

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