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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Great Lakes Regional Results

I just got back from West Lafayette where Wisconsin continued their domination with their 7th consecutive men's title.  For what it's worth their women won too. 

Racing conditions were not ideal.  Intermittent rain showers, steady winds, and cold temperatures made for an uncomfortable setting. Furthermore half the course was extremely muddy causing the times to look unimpressive. This is why times are overrated in cross-country. There are too many external factors that can affect performance. 

Despite an underwhelming performance from senior Matt Withrow, the Wisconsin men were able to cruise to victory on a course whose challenging terrain was overshadowed by the terrible conditions.   According to head coach Mick Byrne, the Badgers decided to run conservatively and let the leaders go.  This strategy worked well as four Badger runners finished consecutively in the top seven to pace the team to victory.

Patrick Smyth of Notre Dame out-dueled Andy Baker of Butler for the victory.  Baker was somewhat of a long-shot to finish in the top five coming into the race but he was clearly focused and gave Smyth all he could handle for most of the race.  At about 8k Smyth made his move and put Baker away.  

The surprise of the day came courtesy of the Butler Bulldogs who finished in third place.  If you would have told me they would beat Notre Dame I wouldn't believe it.  I still don't believe it. Notre Dame might be a little worried on their standing as the at-large bids are handed out for Nationals in the next couple of days.*

In the end it was an enjoyable experience.  Even with the cold and wind I had a good time.  I even ran the course after the race was over causing me to be covered in mud.  I had a good time and judging by the crowd there today they enjoyed it too.  

*Only the top two finishing teams from each of the 9 regions are guaranteed a spot at Nationals.  The remaining thirteen spots are decided on by a committee and given to teams based on their performance throughout the season.

This is a snapshot of the ravine area which the runners had to run 
through two times.  The mud was deep causing the uphill climb to be slick. 

The prairie area held up pretty well despite the conditions.  
Runners were probably relieved to hit this section of the course despite the challenging hills.

Patrick Smyth of Notre Dame and Andy Baker of Butler assert themselves 
early by taking the lead just before 3k.  These two would battle it out 
for about 8k before Smyth pulled ahead for the win.

Wisconsin and Indiana fight for position in the lead pack just after 2k.
Michigan ran well as a team while Indiana faded in the second half of the race; a disappointing performance which will probably cost them a trip to Nationals.

Joe Miller finishing the most difficult part of the course with authority.  His tough performance enabled Notre Dame to place fourth.

Just short of 5k.  There is no doubt who the guys to beat are at this point 
as the lead pack is nowhere to be seen.

Here comes the lead pack led by Landon Peacock of Wisconsin 
and Pat Sovacool of Miami.

Patrick Smyth comes down the homestretch.  He finished with a time of 
31:06--an impressive performance considering the conditions.

Landon Peacock checks on the whereabouts of his teammates as they 
head towards the chute.  Chris Lemon of Dayton holds off the Badgers 
for third place.

In a most impressive display of team unity, Sean McNamara, 
Lex Williams, Ciaran O'Lionard, and Craig Forys finish together 8-11.  
They were separated by a total of 0.2 seconds.

For more information on the race you can go here.
Click here for information on other regional results.
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