Howell’s Gallo is No. 1 for Michigan X-country team

Howell’s Gallo is No. 1 for Michigan X-country team

By tim morris

Staff Writer

Lindsey Gallo has always thrived on challenges. It’s that competitive drive that made her a state champion and an all-American at Howell High School, where she established herself as the greatest female distance runner in Freehold Regional High School District history.

The next challenge for Gallo was proving she could compete at the Division I-A level in college at an elite program. She did that as a freshman in fall 2000, making the top seven and competing in the Big 10 and NCAA championships.

Now, however, Gallo is facing her greatest challenge yet as the University of Michigan’s No. 1 cross country runner.

Under coach Mike McGuire, the Wolverines have steadily ranked among the best programs in the country, and his top runners are all-Americans. Being No. 1 at Ann Arbor isn’t enough. Athletes there are expected to compete at the very highest level in the country. McGuire thinks his sophomore has the talent to do it, but it won’t be done overnight.

"Lindsey is our No. 1 runner, and she has been all year," McGuire pointed out. "I’ve got to keep her hungry and not just satisfied to be the team’s No 1. She has to strive to the level expected of No. 1 at Michigan. Our last two No. 1’s (Katie McGregor and Katie Jazwinski) were all-Americans, and McGregor was a national champion. Lindsey is on her way to doing that, but she isn’t there yet."

Gallo wasn’t the fastest returning Wolverine from the 2000 squad that was 14th at the national championship, but that didn’t matter to the ex-Rebel star. A summer running program, which included some forays into local road races at the Shore, had the sophomore returning to Ann Arbor ready for her newest challenge.

"Lindsey is physically stronger than she was a year ago, and she has the confidence she gained from last year," noted McGuire. "She did a better job preparing for this season than she did last year. There were a lot of adjustments for her to make. Most college freshmen train for their first year like they trained in high school; plus, she was 600 miles from home, and that took some adjustment."

Gallo has been the Wolverines’ top runner in every meet this fall. In her last outing, the Notre Dame Invitational, she ran her best race ever in a Wolverine singlet. She posted her fastest 5,000 meters ever, 17:47, finishing eighth overall in a loaded field and leading Michigan to second place. At the same meet last year, Gallo was 37th and clocked 18:07.

"Lindsey has been doing a really good job for us," said McGuire. "She has stepped it up physically and mentally. We’re happy with her progress.

"She has the tools to be an All-American," he added. "I think she’s a year away. It’s a matter of her being able to get the training in with no interruptions."

Gallo and the Wolverines will be in action at the Big 10 championships at the University of Illinois on Sunday. This race will let Gallo know just what kind of prospects she has of making it to the NCAAs this year.

As good as Gallo has been this fall in cross country, McGuire thinks her improved training and racing will show up even more in track.

"Lindsey is someone who likes track better than she does cross country," said McGuire. "The way she’s running, she can take 25 or 30 seconds off her 3K time indoors. She did 10:08 last winter, and I think she can run in the 9:30s."