The conditions at yesterday”s Wolverine Interregional were not what the Michigan women”s cross country team is used to. A soggy Michigan Golf Course caused the toughest trail in the Big Ten to be even tougher.
“You have to disregard times on a day like this, and just concentrate on trying to beat people, which is what we tried to do,” sophomore Lindsey Gallo said.
The Wolverines scored 92 points to finish fourth behind North Carolina, Wisconsin and Purdue, which tallied 26, 47 and 65 points, respectively.
North Carolina sophomore Shalane Flanagan took the lead early and blew away the field, finishing in 17:26 36 seconds ahead of Bethany Brewer of Wisconsin.
Gallo was the top finisher for the Wolverines for the fourth time this season. Her time of 19:05 was 10th-best in the field.
“It was a good race, but (Lindsey) went out a little bit fast and paid for it in the middle of the race,” Michigan coach Mike McGuire said. “We were hoping she”d be more like a top five.”
Jeanne Spink and Rachel Sturtz came in one after another by finishing 15th and 16th. Team captain Katie Ryan also had a strong performance on the gloomy day. After not scoring at the Notre Dame Invitational, Ryan”s 19:50 was good enough to finish 24th.
The squad was missing freshman Andrea Parker, who is one of the team”s most consistent runners.
An Achilles injury, combined with the muddy course, factored into McGuire”s decision to sit Parker.
“We just didn”t want to risk it,” McGuire said. “As important as this meet is, being the first home meet, Big Tens are way more important.”
While the Wolverines knew that they were going to have a tough time competing against North Carolina and Wisconsin both consensus top 15 squads Michigan wanted to fair a little better against Purdue.
“(North Carolina) is one of the best teams in the country, so we knew coming in that they we”re going to be a pretty tough team,” Gallo said. “We have to keep it in perspective that we were running against Wisconsin and North Carolina. Obviously, they are going to come out here and do pretty well.”
Michigan now looks toward its biggest meet of the year the Big Ten Championships Sunday Oct. 28. With the return of Parker, the Wolverines believe that they can come back and overtake Purdue at the Big Ten meet.
“(The course at) Big Ten is really flat, and I think a lot of us have a good leg speed,” Ryan said. “Our goal is to beat Purdue and finish in the top two or three. We think we have the ability and we think we can do it.”