With two kilometers remaining on Sunday, senior Mike Woods appeared to be running Michigan to a top-three finish at the Big Ten Championships. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Woods did not finish the race.

Woods was forced out of the race by an injury, and the loss of the team’s captain and best runner made the Wolverines slip in the final standings.

After the injury and an overall lackluster performance, the No. 10 men’s cross country team finished in fifth place at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday in Columbus. As the second-highest ranked Big Ten team in the national rankings behind No. 6 Wisconsin, the Wolverines expected to be among the top two finishers in the eight kilometer race, but failed to meet their own expectations.

“I think that my injury affected our score and if I had finished we would have finished higher,” Woods said. “But overall, we did not race well as a team.”

Wisconsin, who finished with five of the top 10 runners in the race, cleared second-place Minnesota by 32 points. Ohio State took third, and Indiana edged the Wolverines for fourth by two points and less than half a second. Redshirt sophomore Sean McNamara, who finished second among the Wolverines, reiterated that if Woods had finished, the race the team would have likely taken third place.

One bright spot for the Wolverines was freshman Craig Forys, who led the charge for the Wolverines with his seventh place overall finish at 23:56.77. Not only was this Forys’s first appearance at the Big Ten Championships, it was his first official race for the Wolverines.

“He ran phenomenally,” Woods said. “He really stepped it up and raced well when we needed him. He is a great racer and really proved to us why he was such a stud in high school.”

With the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships scheduled for Nov. 10 at Indiana University, the Wolverines will have to bounce back from this week’s disappointment to book their place in the NCAA Championships in Indiana on Nov. 19. Woods still feels the Wolverines are in a good position and will bounce back from Sunday’s disappointing finish.

“With the talent we have on this team we are definitely still contenders to make nationals,” Woods said. “We just have to relax, realize our potential and race well in the regional meet.”

McNamara spoke with the same confidence as Woods and stressed the team will have to have a short memory about this meet.

“We’ll have to put this in the past and try to use it as motivation,” he said. “We just have to believe in ourselves and make sure that we run better in two weeks.”

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