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September 15, 2005 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-15

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 15, 2005
Harriers looking to frosh for help

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By Max Sanders
and Nate Sandals
For the Daily
Sweat.
Blisters.
Gallons of water.
This is the life of a Michigan cross
country runner. The team is racing
toward its goal of a second or third place
Big Ten finish with seven freshmen run-
ners, and Lex Williams and Justin Swit-
zer lead the rookie class.
"They can make a huge difference this
year," senior captain Andrew Bauer said.
"All of them logged a lot of miles over
the summer."
With all these younger runners in the
mix, the upperclassmen are determined to
contribute to the team at a higher level. This
summer, Bauer and fifth-year senior captain

Rondell Ruff have logged more miles than
ever before in their collegiate careers. Bauer
stepped it up and ran an average of 80 miles
per week - including stretches where he
topped out at 90 miles in a week.
Even though Bauer and Ruff lead the
team, Williams and Switzer have shown
themselves to be capable of taking a big
role during practice.
The young runners - from Ann Arbor
and Waterford, respectively - have confi-
dently planted themselves at the front of the
pack in all of the team's workouts so far.
Some of their confidence might come
from the cohesive group the freshmen
have formed.
"We all live in the same hall and eat
meals together," Williams said. "It's just
such a big and comforting group that has
really eased the adjustment to college and to
the team. We work hard every day, but I felt

prepared coming into preseason because I
built up my mileage all summer."
Running with such a big group of
strong runners is something new for the
freshmen.
In high school they were the stars of their
teams and had to hold themselves back to
practice with the pack. At Michigan, they
have the opportunity to grow under the
tutelage of the seven upperclassmen on the
team, especially Bauer and Ruff. Training
with such experienced runners has remind-
ed all the freshmen how important it is to be
part of a team.
"I just want to be able to contribute
to the team as much as I can," Williams
said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to score in
a few meets."
With the team heading to East Lansing
for a non-scoring event this Friday, the first-
year runners have the chance to prove them-

selves to the team and discover their roles.
Bauer hopes the team can stay in a pack and
run a strong race. The meet will be a jump-
ing off point for the team as it tries to drive
back to elite status in the Big Ten.
Michigan has high hopes, but first place
in the Big Ten has practically been con-
ceded to perennial powerhouse Wisconsin,
which has won the conference champion-
ship every year since 2002.
"They have been practically unbeatable
for the past four or five years," Bauer said.
"We are realistically hoping to finish in sec-
ond or third place in the conference."
Bauer knows that the team will have
to surprise a lot of people this year to
achieve its goals. Many outsiders think this
a rebuilding year for the program, but the
squad said it's determined to show the con-
ference that youth doesn't negate speed and
dedication.

FILE PHOTO
Michigan captain Andrew Bauer Is optimistic about the freshman class.

0

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