The last time the Fuhrman University golf course hosted the NCAA cross country national meet, the Michigan men”s team placed fourth overall, had three All-Americans, and had a sub-3:54 mile runner place second in the race.

Now, four years later, the men”s cross country team will head back to Greenville, S.C. looking for the same success that its alumni had in 1997.

“We have the same type of personnel as in “97.” coach Ron Warhurst said. “It”ll be interesting to see how things turn out.”

In 1997, the Wolverines were led by Kevin Sullivan, a speedster known more for his fast mile times than his cross country performances. Sullivan, now an assistant coach for the team, placed second in the race and was followed by teammates John Mortimer and Todd Snyder, who placed 11th and 22nd, respectively, earning All-America honors.

Heading into today”s race, Alan Webb, who like Sullivan is known more for his stunning mile times, hopes to be a top-five finisher in a field containing the country”s best collegiate runners. Also hoping for All-America honors are seniors Mike Wisniewski and Mark Pilja.

The team is looking for it”s other varsity runners, Tom Greenless, Nathan Brannen, Brian Turner and Ryan Hesselink to help match the 1997 performance.

“We should be a top-ten team, but if we run well, we”re looking at fifth or sixth.” Warhurst said.

After a surprising second place finish at the Great Lakes regional meet, the team moved up to a seventh-place ranking in the Cross Country Coaches Association poll. Colorado, Stanford, Arkansas, Notre Dame, North Carolina State and Portland are the teams ranked ahead of Michigan.

But Warhurst and the team don”t place too much importance on these rankings.

“Rankings don”t mean anything,” Warhurst said. “Anything can happen that”s why they run the meet.”

The Wolverines have been looking forward to this meet all season.

“The national meet is what it”s all about,” Warhurst said. “That”s what we”ve been training for.”

Training has paid off for the Wolverines, and the team is poised and ready to make its mark on the national scene.

Freshman Alan Webb is favored to be among the top runners. Webb has run well all season, and is looking to make improvements for his season finale.

“I”m going to go out more aggressively,” Webb said referring to the start of his race. At the regional meet, Webb”s first 10-kilometer race, Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan beat Webb by starting out faster than the field and keeping enough distance to win the race. Webb learned from this experience, and plans to take this knowledge with him to the national meet.

“Now I know what it”s going to take,” Webb said, “It won”t be easy, but I”m confident.”

Running closely behind Webb will be his two senior teammates, Mike Wisniewski and Mark Pilja, who have both already run multiple national meets, and have already earned All-America honors. Both seniors hope to be in the top 10 to 25, and Warhurst hopes his other two scorers will be in the top 30 to 50.

“We”ve got the talent and experience to place really well,” Warhurst said. “We”re the healthiest we”ve been all season. We”re ready. It”s up to the guys now.”

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