Maize & Blue Puts Four in Top 10 at Spartan Invitational
Shannon Osika

Sept. 14, 2012

Site: East Lansing, Mich. (Forest Akers Golf Course)
Meet: Spartan Invitational (6,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: Non-scoring
Top U-M Individual: Shannon Osika, 3rd (21:23)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Sept. 29 -- at Rim Rock Farm Classic (Lawrence, Kan.), 10 a.m.

DEXTER, Mich. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team faced its first competition of the 2012 season at the Spartan Invitational on Friday (Sept. 14) at Michigan State's Forest Akers Golf Course. The Wolverines placed four runners in the top 10 and that quartet crossed the line in a nine-second span at the non-scoring event.

Freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) was Michigan's top finisher, taking third overall in a time of 21:23. Senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) finished just four second later in fourth place in 21:27.

A key component to U-M's success was senior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams), who set the tone for the Wolverines, running the majority of the race in the front of the lead pack. Hilton was on Osika's heals coming into the final straightaway and eventually finished sixth in a time of 21:28. Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./[Tecumseh) followed Hilton across the line in eighth place at 21:33.

Sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) (21:44) and senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) (21:48) rounded out Michigan's top-15 finishers, placing 13th and 15th, respectively.

The Wolverines will take a week off from competition before traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for the Rim Rock Farm Classic on Sept. 29 at the University of Kansas. The race is set for a 10 a.m. start.

Top 10 Finishers

  1. Sara Kroll, Unattached               21:10
  2. Audrey Huth, Northwestern            21:16
  3. Shannon Osika, U-M                   21:23
  4. Jillian Smith, U-M                   21:27
  5. Anna Rudd, Unattached                21:28
  6. Lindsey Hilton, U-M                  21:28
  7. Amanda Eccleston, U-M                21:32
  8. Julia Otwell, Unattached             21:33
  9. Michelle Thomas, Ohio State          21:36
 10. Rachel McFarlane                     21:38

Other U-M Finishers

 13. Brook Handler, U-M                   21:44
 15. Rebecca Addison, U-M                 21:48
 19. Taylor Pogue, U-M                    21:51
 25. Megan Weschler, U-M                  22:05
 30. Michaela Carnegie, U-M               22:12
 35. Kaitlyn Patterson, U-M               22:21
 41. Anna Pasternak, U-M                  22:27
 71. Meg Bellino, U-M                     22:54
 94. Laura Addison, U-M                   23:11
 95. Nicola Hallenborg, U-M               23:12
119. Chloe Prince, U-M                    23:37
122. Devon Hoppe, U-M                     23:43

­U-M Head Coach Mike McGuire

On his thoughts on the team's first race against competition … "I thought overall we tightened things up much better from the first meet with the extra kilometer added. I think the big thing was that the weather wasn't the X-factor. Lindsey Hilton did a fantastic job. She ran the point the whole race and at the end Shannon (Osika) and Jill (Smith) were a little bit faster, but that was the best race of Lindsey's career. She's racing the way she's training and then some. I thought we ran well collectively, but she deserves being singled out. I liked the fact that we were only a nine-second split from one to four, but I'd like to see us closer between four and five and we're capable of that. I think we can run seven or eight people in there pretty tight with each other. I think it's going to be a situation where today Shannon was the first runner like last meet, but we've got different people that are capable. We're not really worried about who the number one runner is. Whoever it is that day and gets it started, we just want to be coming in rapid fire after that."   

On running the Big Ten course … "The seniors had input on our decision to run here. We went to Champaign, Ill. last year to preview the Big Ten course and they ran well at the Big Ten meet after previewing the course, so that was a little of the motivation for being here. A lot of the girls ran this course in high school, but there are still nuances inherent to the extra kilometer that they have to take into account. There will be a lot more nervousness at the Big Ten meet, but as far as the Big Ten atmosphere, I thought it was pretty cool with all the high school kids here as well."

U-M Senior Lindsey Hilton

On her individual improvement from last season … "After Big Tens for track last year, I took time off, but was still cross training the whole time so I feel like I never really got out of shape. I was working on my base all of track and I feel like I'm finally seeing the benefits of all my hard work."

On the team's performance today … "For the first mile, we all decided to go out and see what (Michigan) State was doing because we wanted to race them today. It went off conservative and the first mile was pretty slow so after the first mile I thought I would just take it out how I felt it and the team followed suit. We really came in close together and the nine-second spread for the top four is so good, so that's promising."

On a solid race helping the team's confidence moving forward … "I was saying before the race that we needed to either win by a ton or lose by a little so that we either got really mad or pretty confident. I know that none of the girls on our team will get a big head because of this, so I think it was a really good day to build that confidence."

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423