Michigan Looks For Fourth Straight Big Ten Women's Cross Country Title Sunday
Oct. 26, 2005
All 11 conference schools, including five ranked in the FinishLynx National Top 30 Poll, will compete at the 2005 Big Ten Championship this Sunday, Oct. 30, which is hosted by the University of Minnesota.
The 6,000-meter race, which precedes the men's 8K race, will take place at 10:45 a.m.
No. 3 Michigan looks to capture its fourth straight conference title and seventh overall, after posting three consecutive titles from 1992-94 and 2002-2004. Wolverine mentor Mike McGuire, now in his 14th season, has a host of runners that have made headlines this season as five of the eight Runner of the Week selections went to Michigan this season. U-M sophomore Alyson Kohlmeier, who earned three of those awards, helped pace the Maize and Blue last season with a seventh-place finish at Big Tens. Rebecca Walter, last year's runner-up and 2003 conference champion and Athlete of the Year, also returns for a Wolverine squad that posted the sixth-highest winning score (45 points) in Big Ten history in 2004.
The Wolverines, who placed three runners in the top 10 and scored all five runners in the top 16, have now finished in the top two at the championships 12 times under McGuire's tutelage.
This year's individual crown is there for the taking as 2004 Big Ten champion Danette Doetzel of Michigan State did not return to East Lansing for her sophomore campaign. In 2004, she became only the second freshman in league history to claim Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year accolades in the same season and the first since 1994. The Spartan freshman won the 6,000-meter race in convincing fashion in a Big Ten-record time of 20:33, besting second-place finisher Walter of Michigan. The Spartans recorded 85 points and finished tied for second with Illinois, which is currently ranked sixth nationally.
Minnesota, which is ranked 11th, finished fourth in 2004. Rounding out the current top 30 poll is No. 23 Michigan State and No. 30 Iowa, which took seventh last season.
This year's event marks the third occasion Minnesota has hosted the Women's Big Ten Championship. The Golden Gophers first hosted in 1990, when Indiana topped runner-up Wisconsin for the championship. The Badgers returned to Minnesota to claim first place in 1995, defeating Michigan by 28 points.