Nov. 2, 2003
The Michigan Wolverines successfully defending their women's Big Ten Cross Country Conference title on Sunday by winning the championship race with 31 team points. The Wolverines turned in an excellent team performance placing five runners in the top-15. Leading the way for Michigan was sophomore Rebecca Walter, last year's fifth place finisher, who won the women's individual crown navigating the course in 20:40.5. Close behind her was senior teammate Jesse Allen-Young, finishing in 20:52.4. Rounding out the Michigan scoring was senior Lindsay Gallo (6th), junior Sarah Pizzo (7th), and freshman Katie Erdman (14th).
The host team Michigan State finished second for the second time in as many years, being out-dueled again by its instate rival. 2002 champion, senior Michelle Carson, moved down a spot this year finishing second, just nine seconds behind Walter. Fellow senior Jamie Krzyminski came crossed the line fifth in 20:57.7. Another senior, Sarah Pepera, repeated her '02 result finishing eighth for the Spartans.
Last year, the Wolverines edged Michigan State by a mere three points (73 to 70), recording the smallest margin of victory ever in the Big Ten and the highest winning score in Big Ten annals. This year, they slipped past the Spartans by just four points, which is the second smallest margin of victory ever in a Conference championship.
Together, Michigan and Michigan State combined to snatch eight of the top-ten spots.
Penn State and Indiana flip-flopped their 2002 standings. This year, the Nittany Lions finished third, while the Hoosiers were fourth. Penn State had one of the best team showings of the championship. Molly Landreth placed third in 20:55.2, Jenny Stevens placed 10th in 21:26.4, and then four Lions crossed the line together in 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th positions.
The Hoosiers landed in fourth behind the effort of senior Audrey Geisler who finished ninth in 21:22.9. Indiana's second scorer, sophomore Kelly Siefker, placed 31st.
Rounding out the top-5 in the team standings was the Wisconsin Badgers. Senior Megan Guiney had an impressive race, crossing the line 11th to earn second team All-Big Ten. Sunday marked the final Big Ten race for head coach Peter Tegen as he is retiring from his coaching career following the 2003-04 season.
The top seven finishers in Sunday's race earned All-Big Ten honors, including Rebecca Walter, Michelle Carson, Jesse Allen-Young, Molly Landreth, Jamie Kryzminski, Linsey Gallo, and Sarah Pizzo.
The conditions were wet and chilly at the Forest Akers Golf Course East in East Lansing on Sunday. The temperature hovered around 55 degrees during the morning with periods of light and heavy rain. The rain did stop in time for both the men's and women's races.