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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Great Lakes Regional Race Report

The women were up first.
The pre-race favorite would have to have been #3 Michigan (the Big Ten champs), followed closely by #5 Wisconsin (Big Ten runners-up) with #11 Michigan State (4th at Big Ten) in the mix as well. Also worth noting were #28 Butler (Horizon League champs) and Notre Dame (3rd at the Big East).

Here at the mile mark, no one has broken out yet. At about 2 1/4 miles, we're still looking at a tight group.I noticed a lot of red (Wisconsin) and green (Michigan State) but very little blue (Michigan).

At the finish, Nicole Edwards of Michigan takes first by a good ten seconds:But when the final scores were added up, it came out Michigan State 63, Wisconsin 66, Michigan 89. Next were Butler (111) and Notre Dame (116). Michigan will almost assuredly get an at-large bid to the NCAA meet; we'll have to wait and see about the next two.

The men came up next.
As far as teams go, #1 Wisconsin, the Big Ten champs, were an overwhelming favorite. They appear next to unbeatable at the NCAA championship, so they were clearly the class of the field. Other contenders included #11 Michigan (Big Ten runners-up), #18 Notre Dame (3rd at Big East), #27 Michigan State (4th at Big Ten), #29 Butler (Horizon champs), and unranked Eastern Michigan (MAC champs). On the individual front, there was a big question mark in host BGSU's Eddie Kipchoge; he won the All-Ohio championship but ran a terrible race at the MAC championship. I will admit that as a BGSU XC alumni I was not an impartial observer here.

As the runners head up The Hill for the first time (about 1 1/2 miles), we can see Kipchoge is going for it:with everyone else grouped up behind:At about 2 1/4 miles, Kipchoge still leads, but the gap has narrowed.
Coming back around to The Hill for the second time, Kip has met a man they call Riggy, and the race is on.At the finish, victory goes to EMU's Corey Nowitzke.Wisconsin's Chris Solinsky and teammate Stuart Eagin appear to jog in for 5th and 6th.Kipchoge holds on for 14th, which might get him to nationals (depending on the nuber of qualifying teams).
Speaking of teams, Wisconsin won easily with 52 points while not even taking the race seriously. Notre Dame ran a great race to get second (104 pts), followed by Butler (107), Michigan State (113) and Eastern Michigan (137). Michigan was all the way back in seventh.


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