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October 30, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008 - 5A

From left: Senior Lex Williams, redshirt sophomore Ciaran O'Lionaird and redshirt junior Katie Williams, seen here at the 2007 NCAA meet, will all compete in Sunday's Big Ten Championships on the University of Michigan Golf Course.
'M' goes for first title since 1998 Edwards eyeing top of podium

Daily Sports Writer
The last time the Michigan cross
country team won the Big Ten
Championships, most of the team's
current runners were in grade
Since that day in 1998, when the
Wolverines ran to their seventh Big
Ten Title under Michigan coach
Ron Warhurst, Wisconsin has
dominated the Big Ten Champion-
ships, winning nine straight.
And on Sunday at the University
of Michigan Golf Course, Wiscon-
sin is looking to make it 10.
"There's no big game plan here.
It's just get out and try to run
Michigan into the ground," first-
year coach Mick Byrne said in a
statement released by the Wiscon-
sin Athletic Department yesterday.
Warhurst knows that while
Michigan and Wisconsin are even-
ly matched on paper, beating Wis-
consin won't be easy.
"Champions don't give up titles,
people have to take the title from
them," Warhurst said. "They're not
going to lay down."
Fifth-year seniors Stuart Eagon
and defending 2007 Big Ten indi-
* vidual champion Matt Withrow
lead the Badgers. Both have yet to
race this season due to injuries, but
plan to race on Sunday.
Minnesota, which is led by 2006
Big Ten individual champion senior
i Chris Rombough and sophomore
Hassan Mead, is another contend-
er. Mead is coming off the perfor-
mance of a lifetime at the NCAA

Pre-Nationals in Terra Haute, Ind.,
where he posted the school record
in the eight-kilometer run and one
of the best times in the country this
year (23:331).
The Wolverines, however, are
focusing on the team title.
Redshirt junior co-captain
Brandon Fellows said he and his
teammates would not make any
type of move in the race on Sun-
day that could put the team title in
"We're really focusing on get-
ting the team championship and
not risking anything by having
someone go for an individual win,"
Fellows said. "It's all about the
The Wolverines have two big
advantages. First, their depth and
experience should prove crucial
during the race. Six of the nine
runners ran in last years' Big Ten
Championships, and all nine have
posted impressive times this sea-
Second, the home-course advan-
tage will have the Wolverines run-
ning on familiar ground.
"It'sone ofthehardest courses in
the country," senior co-captain Lex
Williams said. "It's a tough course,
but we've been out there four morn-
ings a week doing workouts. When
the other teams get here, they're
goingto be surprised."
While redshirt sophomore Cia-
ran O'Lionaird believes that the
home course will prove to be an
advantage, he knows the timing of
when certain runners make their
moves will decide the outcome of

the race. On such a hilly course, if
one runner breaks away too early,
it could cost them the race.
"We're definitely not going to be
naive enough to think that on our
course that we can just take it, be
gone and run away from every-
body," O'Lionaird said. "It's too
close of a team race for any team to
be able to do that."
The No. 9 Wolverines are hun-
gry to claim a Big Ten title this
year, and would be disappointed
with anything less. Coming off an
impressive third place finish at the
Pre-Nationals Meet, which they
ran on tired legs, the Wolverines
are hoping to improve upon their
With the hilly, intense course,
Warhurst believes most runners
will follow the Wolverines' lead
and wait to break until the last
2,000 meters, and if the past few
meets are a precursor of the Big
Ten Championships, the final
stretch of the race should be neck
in neck between Wisconsin, Min-
nesota, and Michigan.
Warhurst is hoping his runners
see the opportunity that has been
placed in front of them to win a
championship. He believes that
if they put together their years of
training with their mental tough-
ness and make smart decisions
during the race, they will be in
position to claim the title, and end
Wisconsin's winning streak.
"You only get one opportunity
to do something like this, to be
this close," Warhurst said. "So they
have to take advantage of it."

By KATIE FIELD Wolverines and seventh overall.
Daily Sports Writer But the team is going to need
-- -~---- more thanjust astrongperformance

individually, we'll be in good posi-
tion team wise."
Unlike last year, when three

The Big Ten Championships have from Edwards. In the last three Big teams contended for the title in
been on fifth-year senior Nicole Ten Championships, Edwards and Columbus, six teams have the
Edwards' mind all season long. fifth-year senior tri-captain Aly potential to make a bid for the
And this Sunday, there's only one Kohlmeier paced Michigan, notch- crown in Ann Arbor. Ranked just
place she wants to be - on top of ing top-10 finishes each.Kohlmeier, one place ahead of No. 8 Michigan,
the podium. who has returned this season after Minnesota leads a string of four Big
"My personal goal is to win," six months off for stress injuries, Ten teams. Trailing the Wolverines
Edwards said. "That is what I have finished second overall in two of are No.9 Michigan State and No.10
looked towards all season, so I'll be the meets. Illinois. Wisconsin and Penn State
disappointed with anything less." Michigan will race nine run- are also ranked in the top 20.
The tri-captain of the Michigan ners at Big Tens, with the top-five ButMichiganishtngrytoreclaim
women's cross country team will finishers counting for scores in the the Big Ten crown. Edwards, in her
compete in one of the deepest fields meet. Winning the title will largely last conference effort, has a chance
that the Big Ten has seen in years. depend on how closely the other to capitalize on the atmosphere and
Seven Big Ten schools are ranked four Michigan runners can pace familiarity of the Ann Arbor hills
in the top 30. At the top of the list themselves behind Edwards. beneath her feet.
is No. 7 Minnesota, the team that "She's been the model of con- "I'mjust goingto make sure that
broke Michigan's five-year Big Ten sistency," Michigan coach Mike I run my very best, as hard as I can,
Championship reign last season. McGuire said. "We think she'll so that when I cross the line, no
Winning the championship on impact the very front of the race. matter what the result is, I'll know
the hills of the U-M Golf Course ... If we can gap within a minute of that there is nothing more I could
won't be easy for the decorated a person that can vie for the title have done."
runner. But Edwards, who holds
Michigan mile and distance med-
ley relay records, has been usingW c n 3
the home-course advantage in her
mental preparations for the meet.h R c t
"I like to think about the race Recent Grad BMogs
beforehand and sort of go over itin Find out from U-M grads
my mind and picture myself being ~
tough when it hurts," Edwards how to survive
said. "I picture myself hanging
on to someone and not dropping your first
off when I'm tired. It's especially - -5 job ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
helpful to know the course so well - iO , UoIVEesiT IF MICHseAN
because I can see it in my mind."
In her last performance at the
Big Ten Championships, Edwards
led Michigan to a third-place fin-
ish, crossing the line first for the

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