History tends to repeat itself.

And that could be a bad omen for the Michigan women’s cross country team after its third-place performance at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional last weekend – especially with the NCAA Championship coming up this afternoon.

But coach Mike McGuire thinks his team’s poor performance couldn’t be a better sign for how they’ll perform today.

“We expect we’ll bounce back similar to how we bounced back from Pre-Nats to Big Tens,” McGuire said. “And if we do that I think we’ll be fine. (We’re) putting behind the fact that we had an off race. We’ve managed not to push panic buttons up to this point.”

Following their worst showing at Regionals since 2001, the Wolverines are looking to bounce back today with a top-four finish and a spot on the trophy stand.

“Our team just really hopes to do as well as we can,” Regional champion Nicole Edwards said. “We definitely think getting a trophy is a possibility for us, so that’s top four. . If we’re all having a good to normal day, I think it’s definitely a possibility for us.”

Even though there may have been doubts after the team’s poor showing, McGuire was quick to point to the team’s woes earlier in the season at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, after which Michigan rebounded to win a Big Ten Championship. The disappointing second-place tie with Wisconsin at Pre-Nationals was a low point of Michigan’s season. But just a couple weeks later, Erin Webster and Alyson Kohlmeier led the Wolverines to a dominating Big Ten Championship victory, finishing first and second, respectively.

Even if the team recovers from last week’s performance the way they expect, the Wolverines still have an uphill battle to win the Nationals.

Stanford is the clear favorite to take home the championship. The Cardinal is such a good team that Edwards is careful to regard it as Michigan’s key opponent.

“I don’t really know if I’d call them our main competition because I think they might really be a step ahead of the rest of the field as a team.” Edwards said. “So I think our main competition could be North Carolina State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, all people who are in there probably more equal with us. We’re all going to be trying to get up there.”

At the Big Ten Championships, No. 10 Michigan defeated both Wisconsin and Minnesota by a healthy margin, but the Badgers tied the Wolverines at the Pre-Nationals and both finished behind North Carolina State.

Though there may not be much competition for first place, the fight to finish in the next three spots on the podium will certainly be intense – and Michigan is preparing for just that by doing something it hasn’t done all year.

“We’re resting, trying to get a lot of sleep,” said fifth-year senior Arianne Field, who is cutting her mileage down from the normal 60 miles a week to 40 miles. “We’ve kind of made an agreement between all of us that we’re going to go to bed earlier and we’re not doing any morning practice and we’re tapering back a bit. Less mileage, lower-intensity workouts, and just trying to rest our bodies.”

But in terms of strategy for the actual race, McGuire is looking to the same source of inspiration he has used all week to motivate the Wolverines – history.

“Our goal is to try to get on the trophy stand, which is the top four,” McGuire said. “So to do that, you have an idea of what that’s taken in past years, so you focus on that.

“We’re capable of that, we’ve done it, so we just have to go out and do it on Monday.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *