Oct. 19, 2013
Site: Terre Haute, Ind. (LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course)
Meet: NCAA Pre-Nationals (6,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 6th Place of 49 Teams (219 points)
Top U-M Individual: Erin Finn, 16th (20:33.72)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Oct. 25 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 4 p.m.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The 14th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team took sixth place with 219 points behind a 16th-place individual effort from freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) at NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday (Oct. 19) at LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course.
Georgetown took the team title with 117 points, while Boise State's Emma Bates won the individual crown in 20:09.09.
Led by Finn, the Maize and Blue recorded a 47-second split between its first and fifth runners. In just her third race in a Michigan uniform, Finn ran a personal-best 6K time of 20:33.72 to place 16th overall. She got a solid start from the gun and was sitting in 18th place with 1,000 meters to go. Her strong kick over the last kilometer allowed her to pick off two runners to cross the line in 16th place.
Junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) made the most impressive advancement for U-M throughout the final 1,000 meters, moving up 16 spots from 46th to eventually finish 30th in 20:49.48.
Senior/juniors Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) and Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) completed the 6K race just one second apart. Pogue stopped the clock at 20:58.67 to finish 42nd, while Weschler took 46th place in a time of 20:59.85.
Senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) secured Michigan's fifth scoring spot in a time of 21:20.16, which was good enough for 85th place in the field of 340 harriers.
Junior/sophomore Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland) (21:39.10) and sophomore Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) (21:59.50) rounded out the seven-woman squad, taking 126th and 187th place, respectively.
Members of the squad will compete in the EMU Fall Classic on Friday (Oct. 25) at Hudson Mills Metropark to conclude the regular season. The women's 5K is slated to begin at 4 p.m. The postseason will begin on Nov. 3 at the Big Ten Championships, which will be hosted by Purdue University.
Top 10 Standings
1. Georgetown 117 2. Florida State 162 3. Butler 176 4. Virginia 191 5. Oregon 214 6. MICHIGAN 219 7. Colorado 223 8. William and Mary 248 9. Stanford 275 10. Princeton 421
Top 10 Finishers
1. Emma Bates, Boise State 20:09.09 2. Aisling Cuffe, Stanford 20:10.70 3. Cally Macumber, Kentucky 20:12.15 4. Jessica Tonn, Stanford 20:12.84 5. Colleen Quigley, Florida State 20:13.64 6. Hannah Walker, Florida State 20:14.22 7. Emily Lipari, Villanova 20:17.09 8. Emily Stites, William and Mary 20:17.73 9. Kate Avery, Iona 20:18.12 10. Katie Clark, Butler 20:19.59
16. Erin Finn, U-M 20:33.72 30. Brook Handler, U-M 20:49.48 42. Taylor Pogue, U-M 20:58.67 46. Megan Weschler, U-M 20:59.85 85. Alex Leptich, U-M 21:20.16 126. Anna Pasternak, U-M 21:39.10 187. Taylor Manett, U-M 21:59.50
Open 6K Top 10 Finishers
1. Molly McNamara, Stanford 21:23.15 2. Rebecca Mehra, Stanford 21:42.97 3. Maria Elbon, Oregon 21:42.20 4. Andrea Keklak, Georgetown 21:45.20 5. Bobbie Burgess, Georgetown 21:58.47 6. DEVON HOPPE, U-M 22:02.13 7. Courtney Bouchet, Colorado 22:03.59 8. Theresa Warsecke, Toledo 22:05.65 9. Carolyn Hennessey, William and Mary 22:06.77 10. VICTORIA WAIDLEY, U-M 22:09.64
Open 6K Michigan Finishes
31. Brittany Robinson, U-M 22:46.80 36. Heather Price, U-M 23:02.19 49. Gina McNamara, U-M 23:15.84
N O T E S
With its sixth-place finish today, Michigan has placed in the top 10 at NCAA Pre-Nationals in each of the last four years, finishing third in 2012 and 2011 and seventh in 2010.
Erin Finn shaved 31 seconds off her previous 6K personal best (21.04.36) to finish as U-M's top scorer for the first time in her career.
NCAA Pre-Nationals served as a preview of LaVern Gibson Course, which will also be the site of the 2013 NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23. Indiana State hosted the national meet each year from 2004-11 and will again be the host school for the 2013 event.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire
On how the race played out today ... "Erin Finn did a heck of a job. I didn't think any of us got out great. Erin was out ahead of Taylor Pogue and Brook Handler, but we definitely need to call a little bit of attention to that area. Erin did an excellent job; she was out well enough that she had a chance to not get caught in traffic and then more through traffic. It was her best race of the year. I thought Brook and Taylor Pogue were also solid. I really thought we had a strong race out of Megan Weschler and Anna Pasternak. We also got, without a doubt, a season-best race from Alex Leptich as our fifth scorer. We saw some highs and some challenges that we have to work through."
On the team finishing strong and picking off runners at the end ... "Brook Handler had the most significant jump at the end. I don't think anyone went backwards over the last 1,000 meters, but Brook came forward the most in the last K. I think Erin Finn was 18th with a K to go, so she picked up a little ground as well. The race was what we expected going in. It was a big field, and there were a lot of bodies to negotiate. For the most part I thought we were solid. I feel like we'll tighten that split back up in a smaller setting and see what happens going into the Big Ten meet."
On previewing the NCAA Championships course ... "I really think any time you get a chance to preview a course it's great. It gives you better mental picture going in the second time through. The course today was in pretty good shape, but it could be a lot muddier when we come back here in November. It's a good cross country test. From an observational standpoint, it's great for coaches because we get a lot of feedback due to the fact that the course is spectator and coach friendly."
U-M Freshman Erin Finn
On how she felt in today's race compared to Kansas ... "I feel like I thrive off of big meet environments. I get really excited, and it just happened that my excitement and my fitness came together and allowed for a good race. I definitely felt a lot better than at Kansas. I get very excited when I see so many people who love to run, and there were 350 girls in our race, so that really helped me."
On the depth of team and how they've helped her get to this point ... "My team has been there for me so much. As a freshman, I feel like I've been going through so many changes, and you never really realize how big of a change it is going to be from high school. It's incredible how different it is, and I don't know where I'd be without all their guidance and support. It's really cool how our team has so much depth and how everyone has different strengths. I think that's the reason we finish differently at different courses, is because different people are good at different types of things and having that allows us to pull each other forward. Everyone knows that we can hang together, and we have to get to the next part of the course and focus on working together."
On previewing the NCAA Championships course ... "I think it was very important. It won't be as important for Big Tens or regionals, but it was very good practice for nationals, because nationals is a very big field. The caliber of athletes will be even greater, so it will be very tight up front. It's good to get more competition and realize that we're not the only team out there. It gets us fired up and training hard going into the postseason. It reminds us that we still have work to do, but we'll be ready once the time comes."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423