What began for fifth-year senior Lindsey Gallo as an extracurricular activity in the seventh grade has morphed into an infatuation. A distance runner on the Michigan women’s track team, Gallo finds motivation from her coaches as well as her teammates. Both cheer her on at meets, enunciating her last name, “GAL-LO!”

Though the acoustics at the track facilities are such that Gallo usually does not hear the chorus of her name, the support has paid off.

At the Wolverines’ second meet of the season, Gallo achieved an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the mile, finishing in 4:45.28.

“Qualifying for the mile was a goal of mine,” Gallo said. “But I still think I will have to run faster to actually make the national meet. To prepare, I am running the (800-meter run) to increase my speed.”

Running faster is Gallo’s passion, because she knows that, no matter how well she runs, there is always room for improvement.

“There’s always a time out there that’s faster than what I’ve run,” Gallo said.

This realization keeps Gallo on top of her running game. Coach Mike McGuire helped Gallo improve by setting high goals for her and training her to accomplish those goals. Gallo remembers one example in particular.

“Last year (at the NCAA Outdoor Championships), I had a good preliminary race,” Gallo said. “And (McGuire) thought I had a shot at beating Mississippi State’s Tiffany McWilliams, who was the defending national champion and the collegiate-record holder in the (1500-meter race).

“I never would have gone for it if (McGuire) hadn’t told me he thought I could do it,” Gallo said. “But he had a race plan for me.”

The race plan was for Gallo to stay right behind McWilliams until the last 100 meters.

“(McGuire’s) plan worked really well,” Gallo said. “I probably would not have been so aggressive if he had not told me to go for it.”

Gallo did not beat McWilliams in the race, but she did earn her third NCAA All-America honor of the 2004 season.

Gallo also helped the Wolverines’ distance medley relay team place seventh, and she became Michigan’s highest-finishing runner in the mile with a sixth-place showing. Both feats garnered All-America status for the runner.

Gallo’s All-America honor in the 1500-meter race was just the second earned by a Wolverine in the history of the women’s track program. Former Wolverine Cathy Schmidt (1985-86) was the first to do so when she placed sixth in the event at the 1986 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Gallo credited her success to McGuire, but her coach insists the credit belongs to Gallo. The coach recalled Gallo’s success as a high school runner at Howell High School in Freehold, N.J. While there, Gallo was a two-time All-State sectional champion and was named All-Shore Conference in cross country and track. She was also a four-time county champion in the 1600-meter race and a two-time state champion in the 3200-meter race. McGuire said that Gallo’s success is the result of nature and nurture working together. “(Lindsey’s) ability to work hard has merged with her natural talent,” McGuire said. “She has great physical pulls.”

These pulls could come from the fact that her father, Rocco Gallo, used to run in high school. Rocco did not pursue running on a collegiate level because of lack of interest and motivation, but he appreciated his daughter’s “self-motivation.”

“I didn’t have anyone to push me,” Rocco said. “But with Lindsey, she doesn’t take much pushing. The motivation is already there.”

Gallo gets her motivation from her teammates. She said that without them to practice with, she would not be able to run as fast. Though their support may not always be heard during track meets, it is felt during practices. Gallo said that it is important in running to have people saying, “Let’s add on another mile,” because it’s easy to end a run early when you’re alone.

“All of us on the team work so hard,” Gallo said. “No matter what their goals are,

whether they are trying to be an All-America or not. We all work hard, and our work is a group effort.”

One non-All America runner on her team that Gallo looks up to is senior Emily Anderson, who has fought off many injuries that have stopped her from racing over the past three years. Anderson has suffered a right hip flexor strain, a right femoral neck stress fracture among other fractures and strains. But despite the injuries, Anderson has never quit — She worked out with the team as much as she could.

“(Anderson) pretty much epitomizes the phrase ‘never give up’, so I find her inspiring,” Gallo said.

With Anderson as inspiration, Gallo’s goal for this season is to improve for the NCAA Indoor Championships, both indoor and outdoor.

“Overall, I would like to win another Big Ten title, both individually and as a team,” Gallo said.

With a coaching staff that believes in her, Gallo’s potential is endless. McGuire’s hope for Gallo does not end on the collegiate level.

“Her best running is still ahead of her if she keeps training,” McGuire said. “I think she is a prospect for a professional running career. I even see the Olympics in her future.”

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