The Eastern Michigan Fall Classic is a small event at the end of cross country season. You could even say it’s unimportant, but that’s not the case to Michigan coaches Mike McGuire and Kevin Sullivan who view it as a great oppurtunity to showcase young runners’ talent and the work they’ve put in all season.
The Michigan men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Eastern Michigan Fall Classic on Friday in Dexter, Mich. While a small event, the meet is still a good benchmark for the young Wolverines searching for experience at the end of the fall season.
Michigan rested its starting lineups in preparation for the Big Ten championships meet next Sunday. And even though the meet was not scored, that didn’t stop the Wolverines from having what Sullivan labeled a positive day, gaining experience for their young runners.
For the men, sophomore Gabe Mudel was the first to cross for the Wolverines in fourth place, with a time of 15:04. Freshmen Colton Yesney and James Gedris crossed the line next in seventh and ninth, respectively.
“Our guys did a good job of injecting themselves in the race and being competitive,” Sullivan said.
The women’s team brought a larger group to the meet and got similar results. Five runners finished from spots eight to 13, led by senior Faith Reynolds in eighth place.
“Faith’s been running with the travel squad all year so I thought it was a strong race, ” said Michigan coach Mike McGuire.
This is the second time the Wolverines have raced this course this season, the first of which was in the season opener at the Michigan Open, where they had overall slower performances.
“We came back and improved on what they established in late August on this course,” McGuire said.
This all comes after an entire fall of training and an entire season of experience. And while most of these runners don’t get to see action as often as some of their teammates, when the opportunity arose on Friday, they showed up.
“Really happy that their body of work in the falls being reflected,” McGuire said.
While the runners here aren’t running in the postseason this year, they may next year, making this experience possibly invaluable.
“We will have people running in the Big Ten meet who were in this position a year ago,” McGuire said.
Preparing for next year isn’t all experience is good for. In the more immediate reality, this is a time for young runners to showcase what they’ve worked towards.
“This is like studying all fall and taking an exam at the end,” McGuire said. “This exam happens to be different and maybe next year, this exam will be the Big Ten meet.”