BY IAN ROBINSON
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 14, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — As senior Theresa Feldkamp handed the baton to fellow senior Lindsey Gallo in the last exchange of the Distance Medley Relay at the NCAA National Indoor Championships, the Wolverines trailed leader North Carolina by more than 30 meters. Over the next 1,600 meters, Gallo and runners from Villanova and Stanford slowly brought the field closer to the leaders. Entering the last lap, Gallo was in fourth place, behind runners from North Carolina, Stanford and Villanova. On the final turn she kicked into a higher gear, passed three runners, and helped Michigan earn its fourth indoor national championship with a time of 11:08.24.
“(Winning a national championship) was my No. 1 goal coming into school,” Gallo said.
The victory in the DMR provided the Wolverines with 10 of their 16 overall points en route to a 13th-place finish, 33 points behind the champions from the Tennessee.
“As long as we kept Gallo close, we’d have a chance once she was within 15 meters,” Michigan coach James Henry said.
Freshman Nicole Edwards started the race for Michigan in the 1,200-meter leg. After staying in the middle of the field for much of her section, her finishing burst put Michigan in second place at the first hand-off.
“I felt like it was hard to lead off because I just didn’t want to mess anything up for the team,” Edwards said. “I just wanted to put the team in the best position I could.”
Edwards was one of two freshmen to win a national championship over the weekend.
“I am fortunate that I could be on a great team,” Edwards said.
After the opening 1,200-meters, Edwards handed the baton to senior Sierra Hauser-Price. Although North Carolina had already built a substantial lead over the field, Hauser-Price was not worried about the deficit and maintained Michigan’s second-place position.
“I was just trying to run the fastest I could and make sure that no one from behind catches me,” Hauser-Price said.
After competing on the women’s basketball team for three seasons, Hauser-Price never had the opportunity to compete in the indoor track season. She was in awe of winning a national championship in her only NCAA indoor meet.
“I can’t put it into words,” Hauser-Price said. “It’s something that blew out all of my expectations.”
In the 800-meter leg, North Carolina built a lead of more than six seconds and Feldkamp did not appear to gain any ground on the leaders. She was more concerned about Villanova and Stanford than North Carolina.
“I handed off (tied) with Villanova, and Gallo said that she preferred that because she wouldn’t have to lead the chase pack,” Feldkamp said. “I feel that if she would have led the chase pack, she wouldn’t have had the kick in the end.”
Last year, Feldkamp competed on the Michigan DMR team that was disappointed with a seventh-place finish. This year’s squad knew it had a chance to win but did not expect it.
“It’s awesome because one girl is a freshman and three of us are seniors, so it was a great way to end our season,” Feldkamp said.
Gallo focused on staying with the Villanova and Stanford anchors.
“The two anchors from Stanford and Villanova are two of the best runners,” Gallo said. “I knew that if I tucked in behind them, they would carry me up to the (UNC runner).”
Gallo stayed with Stanford and Villanova until the last turn, when she passed them.
On Saturday evening, Gallo competed in the mile-run as the No. 1 qualifier. At the beginning of race, Gallo slipped to the back of the pack and stayed there until after the first quarter. Then, she passed six runners before the half-mile mark. On the final lap, Gallo was in third place, trailing the leaders from Duke and Nebraska by 10 meters. Moving down the backstretch, Gallo lost distance on the leaders and could not recover. She finished the race with a time of 4:41.52 — 3.29 seconds behind the winner, Anne Shadle of Nebraska. Her third-place finish added six points to the team’s point total.
Gallo ran the anchor leg of the DMR the night before, while the runners from Duke and Nebraska did not.
“We made a decision to have (Gallo) run the relay and open mile hoping for two wins, and we came up a little short,” associate head coach Mike McGuire said.
Although she did not win the mile, Gallo had no regrets about her meet.
“I would not trade it for anything because the DMR is what we came here to do and the mile was secondary,” Gallo said.
Two other Wolverines that competed in the championships were junior Stephanie Linz in the high jump and freshman Alyson Kohlmeier in the mile-run.
Linz placed 14th in the high jump after clearing the bar at 1.72 meters. In the mile Kohlmeier finished in 15th place but failed to qualify for the finals.