The Michigan men’s cross country team has been in the middle of the pack all season, just short of winning in multiple meets. Friday, that was the case again.
The Wolverines traveled to Madison to compete in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Michigan placed fifth behind Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana and Eastern Michigan with 107 total points. The results of the race bring the Wolverines’ run in the tournament, as well as their season, to an end.
Junior Aaron Baumgarten led the race through the six kilometer mark, but in the final stretch, Wisconsin’s Malachy Schrobilgen and Morgan McDonald would prevail as the two top finishers. Baumgarten placed 10th overall, finishing as the top runner for the Wolverines with a time of 30:33.4.
Narrowly behind Baumgarten was junior Billy Bund, who finished 11th with a time of 30:34.0. Fifth-year senior Connor Herr came in 18th (30:50.5), freshman Jordy Hewitt came in 23rd (31:04.7) and senior Connor Mora came in 45th (31:39.9). Juniors Austin Benoit and Micah Beller finished in 104th (32:38.8) and 127th (33:11.2), respectively.
“Baumgarten and some of the Wisconsin guys were pretty much controlling the tempo of the race, and some of us Michigan guys were keying off each other right behind Baumgarten,” Bund said. “Over the last 2,000 meters the race separated a bit and all of us just tried to do our best to beat as many jerseys as possible.”
Added Michigan coach Kevin Sullivan: “You can let it get you down and you can mope and whine and stay pretty negative, or you can use it as motivation to do better the next time out. Talent doesn’t change. You’ve got to respond to performances that don’t live up to your standards just as you would to your exceptional performances.”
Even though the cross country season has come to an end, Sullivan still believes in the talent of his team.
“(Freshman) Jordy Hewitt was really exceptional,” Sullivan said. “He made up 10-15 places in the second half of the race, and that’s what we needed in a situation like we were in today.”
“I think, at the end of the day, we’re a team. We’re trying to support each other, and we will continue to get better from here.”