The Wolverine

December 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 79 of 91

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: CROSS COUNTRY Wolverine Women Finish Fifth In The Nation, While Michigan Men Stumble To 23rd cross country teams ended Nov. 17 in vastly different fash- ions at the NCAA Championships, with the women finishing fifth in the country — the team's highest placing since 2003 — and the men running to a 23rd-place conclusion. "We had an outstanding presence among ourselves the entire trip," women's head coach Mike McGuire said. "There was a quiet confidence, and they really drew off the strength of each other — it was a real business-like approach. "Before the season started, we talked about making this a ines featured a quintet of run- ners that all placed within the top 100 in senior Jillian Smith (52nd, 20:24.0), senior Rebecca Addison (56th, 20:26.3), se- nior Amanda Eccleston (61st, 20:29.6), sophomore Brook Handler (75th, 20:36.7) and senior Lindsey Hilton (94th, 20:46.3). "Any time you can come to The sixth-ranked Wolver- " this meet and finish better than you were ranked going in, that's a great feeling, Guire, who has been in charge of the program since 1992. "I'm happy for them more than anything. "It's a process, and it's in- " said Mc- consistently elite program, and that starts with top-10 fin- ishes. To surpass that goal was extremely encouraging, but it still would have been nice to be in that top four and earn some hardware. The respective journeys of Michigan's men's and women's season in which Michigan also captured Big Ten and NCAA Great Lakes Regional championships. The men, on the other hand, appeared to peak earlier than head coach Alex Gibby would have preferred. Ranked No. 13 in the nation after stellar second-place results in both the conference and regional races, U-M managed only a 23rd- place outing in cross country's version of the Big Dance. Junior Mark Beams was the school's top finisher (101st, 30.43.2), followed by fifth-year senior Dan Lowry (125th, 30:56.2) and freshman Tony Smoragiewicz (132nd, 31.00.1). "I think the word I would use is disappointing, who will enter his fourth season as the Wolverines' man in charge next year. "What's frustrating is that throughout the " said Gibby, volved a lot of clawing our way back up. We've had the right people to do it. They had a great season and a great per- formance today, and I think they really re-established a benchmark that future teams can follow. as demonstrated by the 22-second split between U-M's top five runners, helped the team persevere through a sluggish start and reinforced the toughness in critical situations, both mentally and physically, that epitomized this team. "We started slow and were back a little bit early, but did a good job of keeping our composure and working through it. That was all five of the scorers doing that, The senior leadership and the ability to compete as a unit, " "Jill and Becca had each other's presence there for a while, and then Amanda came on. I really thought Brook had her best race of her collegiate career, whether in track or cross country. "We emphasized, 'Race, don't follow, " McGuire said. in this type of meet is to get back a little bit and aimlessly follow people around the course. I saw a lot of alert eyes throughout the race with all of them. That's what you need to navigate your way through that type of field. ' because the tendency The strong effort provided an exclamation point on a " 80 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2012 After capturing the Big Ten and NCAA Great Lakes Regional championships, the Wolverine women posted the best NCAA finish for the program since 2003. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS season we were pleased; at Big Tens we were very pleased, at regionals we were very pleased. We didn't drop the ball all year until we got here, but unfortunately it's the last one. "These guys are adults, they've worked hard to get here — they're ambitious. At this level, the points add up. There's a narrow margin from 15th to 25th, and we ended up on the back side. results, and the Maize and Blue have notched only one top-20 finish in the NCAAs since 2003. Still, progress is be- ing made for a program that will be returning two standout performers. "From a positive standpoint, I thought Mark Beams ran very well," Gibby said. "Two years ago, if he would have run in this meet, he would have been dead last, and now he's one of the top 100 kids in the country. "I was really pleased with Tony Smoragiewicz — the first time at 10,000 meters for a freshman this late in the year is typically brutal, and I thought he did a really good job. — Kevin Minor " Unfortunately ambition doesn't always transform into "

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - December 2012