The defending Big Ten Champion women’s cross country team started its quest for a fourth consecutive title on Friday afternoon when a contingent of five Wolverines competed in the non-scoring Jeff Drenth Memorial 5k meet at University Park in Mt. Pleasant.
After weeks of training, coach Mike McGuire had been anxiously awaiting the start of the season.
“It was good to go out and get a meet under our belts,” McGuire said. “You can train all you want, but when you race, it’s different.”
The first of the Wolverines to cross the line was sophomore Laura Glynn, who posted a ninth-place time of 19:19. Three other Michigan harriers posted finishes in the top 25.
Glynn, who had been hampered by a foot injury that forced her to miss some practices, was eager to see how her foot would react to the stresses of a meet.
“I wanted to see how it would feel,” Glynn said. “My foot didn’t bother me the whole race.”
Though encouraged by the lack of pain during Friday’s 5k race, Glynn is still worried that her foot might not be able to hold up as well during the longer meets.
“My next race will be different because it is a 6k,” Glynn said. “As I get more work, hopefully it will get better.”
For three redshirt freshmen, the meet marked their first time competing in a maize-and-blue singlet.
The highest finisher among them was Lisa Montgomery, whose 11th place of 19:30 was just eleven seconds behind Glynn.
“It was a good first race for Lisa Montgomery,” McGuire said.
McGuire was also glad to see Natasha Luppov on the trail. The Ann Arbor native, who finished in 25th place with a time of 20:20, suffered an injury during the outdoor track season that forced her to miss some cross country training.
“She did a good job,” McGuire said. “Her fitness level is not at the same place as the others.”
Linda Montgomery, twin sister of Lisa, was the other harrier to make her Michigan debut on Friday. She posted the 38th-place time of 22:03.
The only other Wolverine to compete in the meet was senior Chelsea Homan, the third Michigan to cross the line. The Cincinnati-native ran a time of 20:03, good enough for 23rd place.
Former Michigan cross-country runner Sarah Pizzo also competed in the race. Pizzo, who registered a second-place finish, has exhausted her cross country eligibility, but still has one year of track eligibility remaining.