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RE: Solinsky admits 2004 Wisco XC team "kind of choked" while Bairu says "we were overly confident and maybe not
It was a mistake to redshirt Withrow and the coach (must have been Jerry Schumacher, right?) had gone back and forth on the decision, if I recall correctly. However, you cannot say that they should have won because some guys went on to break 13 and Nelson went on to run 27 mid. You could as easily say that Spiker should have run worse because later on his career fizzled out quickly from injury/burnout. To get a fair comparison, you'd really want to look only at the then current credentials of both teams. One thing is that the difference is very small between most of the top fifty at NCAA's, so that the same runner having just a slightly worse trip or slightly worse race might shift from year to year in the standings by ten or twenty, and it happens every year. There were plenty of runners in that field who you would have thought should have placed higher. Rohatinsky, a future champ I think, was well back, as was Ryan Hall, who I think was 26th. Should a 2:06 marathoner be 26th at NCAA's?? Of course not. He never got his training right in college, as he said, usually going way too hard and having nothing in the races. Going out slower -- but not super slow-- has served Colorado very well in the past. Solinsky and Teg surely could and should have been able to maintain that 15:17 pace, though. Who knows what was going on with the other guys?

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