Michigan coach Mike McGuire encourages team efforts at cross
country meets. The Michigan women’s cross country team opened
its season at the Indiana State Invitational this weekend. The
Wolverines took first place overall, with a score of 34. Arkansas
came in second with a score of 50.

Instead of having just one person shine on his team, McGuire
prefers his athletes to understand the importance of teamwork, even
in an individual meet.

The consistency of the Wolverines’ times showed in the
victory.

Overall, Michigan runners took three of the four top positions.
In the individual races, Megan Metcalfe of West Virginia finished
first with a time of 17:07.

“(Megan) is a good runner,” said McGuire. “She
was (one of the) top ten (runners) in the nation.”

Junior Rebecca Walter came in second place with a time of 17:15,
two seconds faster her best effort last season. Seniors Sarah Pizzo
and Andrea Parker followed in third and fourth with times of 17:44
and 17:48, respectively.

Another Michigan trio finished just seconds apart from one
another. Sophomore Jackie Gaydos came in 18th-place with a time of
18:33.21, sophomore Jessie Stewart came in 19th (18:33.53) and
freshman Alyson Kohlmeier finished 20th (18:35).

“These consistent times were not a coincidence,”
McGuire said. “(These trios) run in groups in
practice.”

Practice for the team began on July 1, after a three-week break
from the track and field outdoor season. It was a needed break, due
to the fact that most cross country runners also run long distance
for the track team.

To transition from track to cross country, McGuire gathers his
athletes in northern Michigan for an eight-day training camp.

So it comes as no surprise that when teams train together for as
long as this team has, they cross the finish line together.
Practices make athletes. And for Michigan, its athletes do not
stand alone.

So far the practices have paid off for the team. McGuire wanted
to ensure that the team “keeps getting better”.

And the Wolverines have an opportunity to improve on their
already solid foundation this Friday at the Spartan Invitational.

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