IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team placed all five scored runners among the top 16 -- finishing within 53 seconds of each other -- as the Wolverines captured their third consecutive conference team title at the Big Ten Conference Championships on Sunday (Oct. 31) at Iowa's Ashton Cross Country Course. U-M's total of 45 points gave the Wolverines a 40-point margin of victory over Illinois and Michigan State.
Walter joins Lindsey Gallo as U-M's only three-time All-Big Ten first teamers.
The lead group continued to pull away from the rest of the field, clocking a 3,000-meter split of 10:14 while building a 100-meter gap on the competition. Walter and Doetzel picked up the pace midway through the final loop of the course, pulling away from Hunt and clocking 16:25 through the three-mile mark. With approximately 1,000 meters remaining, Doetzel accelerated to build a insurmountable gap on Walter and finish 20 seconds ahead of the Wolverine runner.
The remaining Wolverine scorers ran together in a tight group through the 3,000-meter mark until separating into packs of two. Freshman Alyson Kohlmeier (Sarnia, Ontario/St. Patrick's) and fifth-year senior Andrea Parker (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson) boasted top-10 conference performances for the first time in their U-M careers as Kohlmeier was the second U-M runner across the line, placing seventh with a time of 21:19, and Parker crossed the finish line in the ninth spot, clocking 21:30.
Junior/sophomore Katie Erdman (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac) and senior/junior Theresa Feldkamp (Lorain, Ohio/Amherst Steele) stayed near the front, running side by side until the final stretch. Erdman finished just two seconds out of the top 10, claiming 11th place with a time of 21:38, while Feldkamp rounded out of the Wolverines scoring in 16th place with a time of 21:26, just seven seconds shy of her personal best. Feldkamp crossed the finish line 13 positions ahead of the Spartans' fifth runner and 18 spots ahead of the fifth Illini runner.
After a two-week hiatus, the Wolverines will continue postseason competition at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Eagle Crest Golf Course in Ypsilanti, Mich. The women's 6,000-meter race is slated for an 11:00 a.m. start.
1. MICHIGAN 45 2. Michigan State 85 Illinois 85 4. Minnesota 133 5. Indiana 135 6. Penn State 142 7. Iowa 170 8. Wisconsin 178 9. Purdue 190 10. Northwestern 258 11. Ohio State 276
Top 14 Individuals
(All-Big Ten: Top seven finishers are first team, next seven are second team)
1. Danette Doetzel, MSU 20:33 2. Rebecca Walter, U-M 20:53 3. Jessica Gall, Indiana 21:02 4. Molly Landreth, Penn State 21:03 5. Cassie Hunt, Illinois 21:09 6. Jaime Turilli, Illinois 21:13 7. Alyson Kohlmeier, U-M 21:19 8. Katie Kelly, MSU 21:25 9. Andrea Parker, U-M 21:30 10. Maggie Carroll, Illinois 21:36 11. Katie Erdman, U-M 21:38 12. Kristen Whitezell, Indiana 21:39 13. A'Havahla Haynes, Wisconsin 21:40 14. Lauren Williams, Minnesota 21:41
Other Michigan Individuals
16. Theresa Feldkamp 21:46 23. Arianne Field 21:59 39. Lisa Canty 22:27 41. Jessie Stewart 22:30 71. Laura Brosius 23:22
Q U O T E S
Head Coach Mike McGuire
On the team's performance ... "I didn't think we were especially sharp today, but I thought we competed really hard. We were missing one of our top runners, Sarah Pizzo, so the others really needed to step up. I thought we had a tremendous performance from our fifth spot, Theresa Feldkamp. Overall, I'm very pleased."
On Rebecca Walter and Michigan State's Danette Doetzel ... "They've been going back and forth all year, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for her (Doetzel). We knew it wouldn't be a sure thing -- Rebecca was the defending champion, but we knew that it wouldn't necessarily mean she would do it again. They are two great national-caliber athletes; Danette has a bright future with three years ahead of her. Hopefully, we can get it back next year."
On the rest of Michigan's runners ... "Alyson (Kohlmeier) had a great performance for a freshman, while Katie (Erdman) and Theresa (Feldkamp) really tracked some people down at the end of the race. Feldkamp finished 25 places better than last year too, which is impressive. Andrea (Parker) and Arianne (Field) also had excellent races, even though as a team we didn't feel as sharp as we could be."
On Michigan's Big Ten title three-peat... "This is a great reward for all the hard work the girls have done over the last three years. This is Andrea's (Parker) and Rebecca's (Walter) third title and the first for Alyson (Kohlmeier), so it's nice to keep the winning tradition going. It's rewarding to see so much improvement with athletes like Theresa (Feldkamp), Arianne (Field), Andrea and Katie (Erdman) while still seeing so much young promise in girls like Jessie (Stewart), Lisa (Canty) and Laura (Brosius)."
Junior Rebecca Walter
On her second-place finish ... "I felt like I went out there and ran tough. It was a good race for me. I have no regrets. I was tired and Danette (Doetzel) just ran gutsy, and she deserved to win."
Senior/junior Theresa Feldkamp
On the race ... "It went well. We were all pretty tired and flat, so it's encouraging that we still won. I was really hurting with a 1,000 meters left; on another day, I might have given up, but today I didn't because you really have to step up for Big Tens. We all had great support from our teammates, who drove all the way out here. We wrote 'tough as Piz' on our arms, and I think that gave us an extra push at the end."
N O T E S
Junior Rebecca Walter earned All-Big Ten first team honors for the third straight year with her second-place finish. Walter was the Big Ten individual champion in 2003 and finished fifth overall in 2002.
Freshman Alyson Kohlmeier earned All-Big Ten first team honors for her seventh-place finish. Kohlmeier is the third freshman in three years to earn Big Ten Conference honors for the Wolverines. Katie Erdman earned All-Big Ten second team honors in 2003 and Rebecca Walter earned All-Big Ten first team accolades in 2002.
Senior Andrea Parker earned All-Big Ten second team honors for her ninth-place finish, bettering her 2003 performance by 19 spots. It is the first Big Ten honor for the senior and her third conference championship.
Junior/sophomore Katie Erdman earned All-Big Ten second team honors for her 11th-place finish, giving her back-to-back seasons with Big Ten conference honors. Erdman finished 14th in 2003 to earn her first All-Big Ten accolade.
Senior/junior Theresa Feldkamp finished in 16th spot, just out of the running for all-conference honors, but improved on her 2003 showing in the Big Ten Championships by 25 places.
Michigan captured its third straight Big Ten women's cross country championship, giving the program six titles overall. The 2004 squad is the second to earn a Big Ten three-peat, tying a mark set by the 1994 team that capped a string of titles beginning in 1992.
Contact: Richard Retyi (734) 763-4423