Sept. 13, 2013
Site: West Lafayette, Ind. (Boilermaker Cross Country Course)
Meet: Purdue Invitational (6,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 1st Place of 4 Teams (16 points)
Top U-M Individual: Taylor Pogue, 1st (21:18.0)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Oct. 5 -- at Rim Rock Farm Classic (Lawrence, Kan.), 10 a.m. CDT
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The University of Michigan women's cross country team secured five of the top six spots at the Purdue Invitational, including individual winner senior/junior Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), to win the Big Ten Preview with a near-perfect 16 points on Friday (Sept. 13). The 6K race at the Boilermaker Cross Country Course served as a preview of the Big Ten Championships course, as Purdue will host this year's conference meet on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Pogue earned her first collegiate victory, completing the 6K course in a time of 21:18.0. Pogue, as well as teammates junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), senior/junior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt), freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) and sophomore Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford), were each in the lead pack at the 3K mark, splitting a time of 10:25 halfway through the course.
Handler finished on Pogue's heels in 21:19.4, while Weschler took third, stopping the clock at 21:23.6. In her collegiate debut, Finn finished fourth in a time of 21:31.1. Manett rounded out Michigan's top-10 finishers, placing sixth in 21:43.3.
Senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) completed the course in 22:12.6, to finish just outside the top 10 in the 11th spot. Junior/sophomore Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland) completed Michigan's top seven, taking 16th in 22:27.6.
The Wolverines will take two weeks off from competition before traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for the second consecutive year to compete in the Rim Rock Farm Classic on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. CDT.
1. MICHIGAN 16
2. Ohio State 58
3. Purdue 79
4. Illinois 87
Top 10 Finishers
1. TAYLOR POGUE, U-M 21:18.0
2. BROOK HANLDER, U-M 21:19.4
3. MEGAN WESCHLER, U-M 21:23.6
4. ERIN FINN, U-M 21:31.1
5. Alyssa Schneider, Illinois 21:34.9
6. TAYLOR MANETT, U-M 21:43.3
7. Michelle Thomas, Ohio State 21:48.6
8. Katie Borchers, Ohio State 21:50.3
9. Samantha Walkow, Unattached 21:53.1
10. Blair Doney, Purdue 22:02.7
Other U-M Finishers
11. Alex Leptich, U-M 22:12.6
16. Anna Pasternak, U-M 22:27.6
22. Devon Hoppe, U-M 22:40.9
33. Laura Addison, U-M 23:08.2
40. Gina McNamara, U-M 23:18.3
42. Brittany Robinson, U-M 23:24.2
43. Heather Price, U-M 23:24.3
44. Victoria Waidley, U-M 23:28.6
49. Gabriella DeFlorio, U-M 23:37.2
58. Megan Pearson, U-M 24:41.0
63. Hailey Middlebrook, U-M 25:34.9
U-M Head Coach Mike McGuire
On getting a preview of the Big Ten course … "I think it's important to preview a championship course. We had a pretty good day to run -- the course was in good shape; it was hard and firm. I thought collectively we were two weeks better than we were when we opened the season at Hudson Mills. We had some objectives coming in -- at the first meet Purdue split us up after our third runner and today we had five ahead of their first runner, so in that regards we had a benchmark that we could accurately compare ourselves to from two weeks ago."
On the highlights of today's race … "That was Taylor Pogue's first collegiate win in cross country so that was great to see. She was right up there the whole time running with Brook (Handler). We had a nice pack with Brook Handler, Taylor Manett and Taylor Pouge, as well as Erin Finn and Megan Weschler. We did a good job of staying together -- Taylor Manett fell off a little bit after 5K, but it was a much better finish for her than two weeks ago. A lot of things have improved -- we're now settled in school and are in our routine of being student-athletes in Ann Arbor. We're two weeks fitter and we had a good day to run. We did a really great job of feeding of each other."
On the team running in packs … "We definitely did a good job in the front, splitting 13 seconds between one and four. I think Taylor Manett is on her way up. We didn't have Shannon Osika in the lineup today, but we hope to have her back when we go to Kansas in three weeks. I thought our second pack was better, but I'd like to see that next wave of runners, our six-seven-eight spots, running a little closer to our scorers, and I think they're certainly capable. I'd like to be in a position to have for our five number five runners, rather than a distinction at five and then a drop off after that."
U-M Senior/Junior Taylor Pogue
On her first collegiate win … "I'm really happy to have my first win -- it's a really great way to start your senior year. I think I achieved it both individually and within our team goals. We have really been focusing on running together as a group and running strong. I think that's what really helped me today. There were definitely times where I knew my teammates were struggling and I had to be there for them and there were times when I was struggling and they were there for me and that really helped me get through."
On getting a preview of the Big Ten course … "I really like the course. It loops back on itself and I think that's kind of nice because physically you know what's coming and mentally it's easier that way. I also think the rolling hills play to our strengths. I have always liked that that type of course and I think that's what we'll do well on."
On some of the underclassmen getting a good race experience today … "I think a lot of our girls who are new to wearing the Block M had a really good race. They are definitely two weeks better than the last race, which is always the goal -- to be better than the last race. I think they have worked really hard to get here so I think it's awesome to have them traveling with us now."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423