BLOOMINGTON— The Michigan men’s cross country team couldn’t outrun illness and injury in the Great Lakes Regional meet on Saturday.

The team’s 10th place finish proved to be a disappointing step back from last season’s second-place triumph.

Fifth-year senior Sean McNamara, who tied for 10th in last year’s regional meet, strained his Achilles tendon with 1,000 yards to go Saturday, causing him to lose about 50 places.

Sophomore Bobby Aprill, who placed 84th at last year’s meet, couldn’t run due to illness. Freshman Dallas Bowden, who was slotted to run, did not compete for undisclosed reasons.

Even though the Wolverines faced problems outside of their control, Michigan coach Ron Warhurst wasn’t going to blame his team’s mediocre performance solely on that. After 35 seasons as head coach, Warhurst knows that every team faces these same issues.

“We’ve been pretty affected by illnesses and stuff,” Warhurst said. “Everybody is going through it. We just didn’t run well. Period.”

Coming into the meet, Michigan was hoping to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the second straight year. The top two teams at the regional receive an automatic bid into the NCAA meet, and 13 other teams receive an at-large bid. With the Wolverines’ 10th-place finish, they were nowhere near qualifying.

“We ended up 10th, and you’re thinking coming into it that you can get second or third,” Warhurst said. “It was very disappointing.”

Leading the way for Michigan was redshirt junior Peter Christmas in 29th place. Following close behind him were freshman Brendon Blacklaws, finishing 31st, and fifth-year senior Brandon Fellows, finishing 33rd. The race is a 10-kilometer run, or approximately six miles.

“I did great up until about 7K,” Christmas said. “About everybody on our team just had a bad day. Personally, I just had a cramp in my lung. Not really anything I can do about that.”

Christmas knows the Wolverines had an outside chance to make it to the NCAA Championship and didn’t perform to their maximum potential.

“I would say it was a mediocre race for me at best,” Christmas said. “I didn’t have a horrible day, but I didn’t have a great day, just not a good one.”

With this meet, the team is done for the year. Warhurst wasn’t very pleased with the team’s performance throughout the season, but he knows it can bounce back. The Wolverines had plenty of talent, but just couldn’t tie it all together.

“I just don’t think we performed well in a lot of situations, at least up to their capabilities,” Warhurst said. “We’ll have to reevaluate and find out what the deal is.”

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