Aug. 29, 2014
Site: Dexter, Mich. (Hudson Mills Metropark)
Meet: Michigan Open (5,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: Non-scoring
Top U-M Individual: Shannon Osika, 1st (17:01.5)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Sept. 20 -- at Black and Gold Invitational (Iowa City, Iowa.)
DEXTER, Mich. -- Junior Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) secured her third consecutive title at the non-scoring, 5,000-meter Michigan Open, as the University of Michigan women's cross country team began the 2014 season with a strong showing Friday (Aug. 29) at Hudson Mills Metropark.
Osika improved on her winning time from 2013 by more than 43 seconds when she clocked a time of 17:01.5; her time today was matched by sophomore Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield). Just inches separated the two runners at the finish line, and race officials determined that more accurate scoring would have shown Osika to be the winner.
Finishing behind Osika and Finn were senior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) and fifth-year senior Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), who secured third and fourth place, respectively with times of 17:35.8 and 17:45.4.
Senior/junior Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland) and fifth-year senior Alexandra Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) crossed the finish line in fifth and sixth place, with Pasternak finishing in 17:51.9 and Leptich crossing the line exactly six seconds later.
Though the race did feature a number of unattached competitors, each of the top-10 finishers were competing Wolverines.
Over the 18-minute mark, sophomore/freshman Jamie Morrissey (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) finished at 18:03.4, while fifth-year senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) placed eighth with a time of 18:17.8. Sophomore/freshman Corinne Florie (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) came in at 18:19.6 to finish ninth, while senior/junior Devon Hoppe (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar)rounded out the top-10 at 18:25.8
Finn, Osika, Handler and Pogue led the group from the gun and helped pace a group of Wolverines that remained tightly knit through the first mile. Over the second mile, Finn and Osika spread things out and with about 500 meters to go, the two were deadlocked. Both finished strong over the final stretch, with Osika earning the win by the slimmest of margins.
The Wolverines will take two weeks off from competition before traveling to Iowa City, Iowa, for the Black and Gold Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 20. The meet will give the team a preview look of the Big Ten Championship course, as the Hawkeyes will be hosting the event on Sunday, Nov. 2.
Complete Results (5,000 meters)
1. Shannon Osika, U-M 17:01.5 2. Erin Finn, U-M 17:01.5 3. Brook Handler, U-M 17:35.8 4. Taylor Pogue, U-M 17:45.4 5. Anna Pasternak, U-M 17:51.9 6. Alex Leptich, U-M 17:57.9 7. Jamie Morrissey, U-M 18:03.4 8. Megan Weschler, U-M 18:17.8 9. Corinne Florie, U-M 18:19.6 10. Devon Hoppe, U-M 18:25.8 11. Rachel Barrett, Unattached-Michigan 18:26.4 12. Gina Sereno, U-M 18:34.0 13. Laura Addison, U-M 18:35.3 14. Tori Waidley, U-M 18:38.8 15. Sydney Badger, Unattached-Michigan 18:40.2 16. Olivia Brackett, Unattached-Michigan 18:41.0 17. Sarah Zieve, U-M 18:55.2. 18. Taylor Manett, U-M 18:55.8 19. Ellie Leonard, Unattached-Michigan 19:05.1 20. Lauren Kettle, Unattached 19:12.2 21. Gina McNamara, U-M 19:16.8 22. Darby Middlebrook, U-M 19:21.4 23. Sophie Linn, Unattached-Michigan 19:26.9 24. Courtney Munley, U-M 19:37.4 25. Claire Borchers, Unattached-Michigan 19:43.1 26. Hailey Middlebrook, Unattached-Michigan 19:44.3 27. Christine Cielslak, Unattached 19:49.0 28. Hayley Mullen, Unattached-Michigan 20:25.0 29. Sydney Elmer, Unattached-Michigan 20:28.7 30. Audrianna Bornamann, Unattached-Michigan 20:32.3 31. Colleen Conroy, Unattached 20:58.6 32. Anna Haritos, Unattached-Michigan 21:27.2.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire
On the team's splits and pacing ... "You would always like the split to be a little tighter between your first and fifth runners, but it was solid. We got off to a good start with Shannon and Erin in the front there and I thought Anna Pasternak was really solid. It's great to see Taylor Pogue back in the lineup as well, and I thought Jamie Morrissey had an outstanding race. It's been a bit of a whirlwind the last day and a half with us coming back from camp and kids moving in and all that, so overall we have handled things pretty well."
On the opportunity to evaluate some runners for the first time in a competition setting ... "We have some girls returning to competition after long layoffs and we have several redshirt freshmen who just had their first experience wearing the Michigan singlet for cross country. It's a process with several transitions for different people."
U-M Junior Shannon Osika
On setting the pace of today's event ... "It felt really smooth; the goal was to go out and hit that first mile at 5:30 and we hit it in 5:31, so from there we kept it rolling and I think it worked out very well. I'm not sure what our second-mile split was, but I think it was very close, so we're happy about that."
On how she will approach to the next event ... "It's different for everyone. For me, I try to stay relaxed. Some runners have a lot going on in their head, and you do have to be mentally tough, but my motto is just to keep it as simple as I can and not put too much emphasis on the mental side of things. Just go out there and run my hardest. It's more physical to me, making sure I take my recovery runs at a slow pace and things like that."
U-M Sophomore Erin Finn
On the importance of this race for helping everyone adjust to the competition mindset, especially freshmen ... "As a freshman, you need that rust-buster. You need something to open your legs up and get you back into competition. You experience the shakeout, having breakfast, warming up as a team, and a little bit of nerves, so it's good to get a sort of practice competition out of the way. Just as important as it is to train physically, you need to train mentally. There are connections you have to make in your mind and rebuild to get to that top gear of racing, and you need a couple of races to get there."
U-M Senior Captain Brook Handler
On how the team ran as a group ... "I was excited about how big our pack was at the one-mile. We had a time we wanted to be at and we hit it exactly, and we had a lot of girls there, so we were really happy with that. Things got a bit more broken up after that, we had a lot more people looking to pair up, and we finished one after another. We were feeling tired from camp, so nobody really felt top-notch except for maybe our top-two, but we tried to be tough and finish as close together as possible. Our one-to-five spread was not our best ever, but it was reasonably good so we were pleased. We had a lot of girls run well."
On taking advantage of the long break between events ... "I think the three-week break will be really good for us, especially transitioning from a 5K to a 6K. We get a nice, solid training block. It's easier to train when you're not thinking about that next race and you can just focus on training and I think that will be good for the freshmen to get acclimated for a while."
Contact: Chad Shepard