Comfort paces Badgers' strong Great Lakes Regional finish


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ON WISCONSIN

ON WISCONSIN

Nov. 13, 2011

2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional
Ottawa Park • Toldeo, Ohio
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• Distance: 6 Kilometers
 Team Results
1. Michigan 45
2. Michigan State 77
3. Toledo 84
4. Wisconsin 91
5. Notre Dame 112
6. Ohio State 163
7. Indiana 191
8. Central Michigan 226
9. Dayton 343
10. Butler 354
 Individual Results
1. Danielle Tauro MICH 20:27.9
2. Rebecca Addison MICH 20:34.8
3. Caitlin Comfort WIS 20:36.5
4. Sara Kroll MSU 20:37.3
5. Jillian Smith MICH 20:39.8
11. Kyla Chapman WIS 20:53.4
12. Ashley Beutler WIS 20:53.5
24. Gabrielle Anzalone WIS 21:13.1
41. Hanna Knurr WIS 21:37.4
42. Kiah Ehrke WIS 21:37.7
48. Theresa Selestow WIS 21:45.8
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MADISON, Wis. -- It comes as no surprise that Wisconsin women's cross country team senior captain Caitlin Comfort sprinted across the finish line at the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional among the leaders of the race.

 Fast Facts
• Comfort earns fourth All-Region honor of career
• Badgers position themselves well for NCAA berth
• Newcomer Chapman strong in second race for UW

A consistent competitor all season, Comfort scored a third-place finish in 21 minutes, 36.5 seconds and guaranteed herself a berth at the 2011 NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind.

A now four-time All-Great Lakes Region honoree, Comfort has shown to be an invaluable member of the Badgers' squad, leading UW in four out of five races this year.

Her 2011 ticket to the NCAAs will mark her fourth appearance in as many years at the national championship.

"Her job was just to stay in the front pack, run as controlled a race as possible, not worry about winning," said UW coach Jim Stintzi. "She did that. She ran a paced race, made sure she was in that lead pack, got those points for us and advanced to the nationals."

Comfort finished behind Michigan's Danielle Tauro and Rebecca Addision, who clocked in at 20:27.9 and 20:34.8 for first and second place, respectively.

The duo led Michigan to an automatic NCAA berth, taking first place in the team standings with 45 points. Big Ten champion Michigan State's 77-point performance earned the Spartans second place and the second automatic-qualifying position.

Wisconsin took fourth place with 91 points, following host team Toledo's third-place, 84-point race.

"I think it was similar to two weeks ago (at the Big Ten championship). We ran well," said Stintzi. "It was a good, solid performance. We're going to have to wait and see how things shake out, whether we advance."

Aside from the two automatic-bid teams from each of the nine regions, 13 additional teams will be selected for NCAA competition based on points.

Wisconsin's fourth-place finish was aided by senior Kyla Chapman's 20:53.4 performance for 11th place.

Only her second race under the Badger label, Chapman came in second for the UW team. Junior Ashley Beutler followed in 12th place at 20:53.5.

Freshman Gabrielle Anzalone ran a solid race. The third freshman to cross the finish line, Anzalone competed the race in 21:13.1 to take 24th place.

Completing the scoring for Wisconsin was junior newcomer Hanna Knurr. Knurr ran in at 21:37.4 for 41st place.

The Badgers now look to tomorrow's qualifying results for news on their NCAA chance. However, according to Stintzi, the result won't change Wisconsin's training.

"We'll continue to do what we've been doing. They've been peaking at the right time of year," he said. "I think we're running well, the best we've run all year.

"The big issue is how we attack it. So we need to come up with a strategy for that and our fifth, sixth, seventh runners to help them move up a little bit. So that's going to be the focus.

"The other four we're just going to try and make sure they stay healthy and feel fresh going into the meet." The 2011 NCAA Championship is set for Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.

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