Oct. 28, 2012
Site: East Lansing, Mich. (Forest Akers Golf Course)
Meet: Big Ten Championships (6,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 1st of 12 Teams (55 points)
Top U-M Individual: Rebecca Addison, 3rd (20:21.7)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Nov. 9 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), Noon CDT
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team captured the Big Ten team title at the conference championships on Sunday (Oct. 28) at Michigan State's Forest Akers Golf Course. The Wolverines' top five finishers each placed within the top 20 to tally 55 points.
Michigan State was runner-up with 75 points, while Penn State recorded 96 points to round out the top three. The lead pack, which included several Maize and Blue runners, established itself by the 2K mark, but by the 4K mark began to break up. There was just a 31-second split between Michigan's top five finishers, as all five were across the line before Michigan State's fourth scorer completed the course.
Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) paced the Wolverines to the finish line, placing third in a time of 20:21.7 to earn All-Big Ten first team honors.
Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./[Tecumseh), senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) also joined Addison on the podium, earning All-Big Ten second team accolades for finishing within the top 14 runners.
Eccleston and Smith finished almost simultaneously in times of 20:35.5 and 20:35.8, respectively. Eccleston's career-best 6,000-meter time earned her a 10th-place finish, while Smith followed in 11th.
Michigan's two freshmen secured the final two scoring spots in their Big Ten Championships debut. Osika clocked a time of 20:41.6 to finish 13th, while Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) ran 20:52.9 to place 18th.
Senior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) and sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) rounded out U-M's top seven, finishing 24th (20:58.8) and 29th(21:03.3), respectively.
The Wolverines will take a week off before continuing the championship portion of the season with the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 9. The meet, which will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin, is slated for a noon CDT start at Zimmer Championship Course in Madison.
1. MICHIGAN 55 2. Michigan State 75 3. Penn State 96 4. Minnesota 134 5. Wisconsin 147 6. Ohio State 170 7. Northwestern 185 8. Indiana 197 9. Illinois 216 10. Iowa 228 11. Purdue 248 12. Nebraska 397
Top 10 Finishers
1. Sara Kroll, Michigan State 20:12.4 2. Mareike Schrulle, Iowa 20:16.8 3. REBECCA ADDISON, U-M 20:21.7 4. Leah O'Connor, Michigan State 20:24.6 5. Rebekka Simko, Penn State 20:26.5 6. Ashely Beutler, Wisconsin 20:28.1 7. Gabi Anzalone, Wisconsin 20:30.7 8. Courtney Yaeger, Illinois 20:34.9 9. Laura Docherty, Minnesota 20:35.4 10. AMANDA ECCLESTON, U-M 20:35.5
Other U-M Finishers
11. Jillian Smith, U-M 20:35.8 13. Shannon Osika, U-M 20:41.6 18. Taylor Manett, U-M 20:52.9 24. Lindsey Hilton, U-M 20:58.8 29. Brook Handler, U-M 21:03.3 38. Taylor Pogue, U-M 21:15.3 50. Megan Weschler, U-M 21:27.6
N O T E S
Michigan won its ninth Big Ten team title in program history and first since 2006. All nine Big Ten titles have come during head coach Mike McGuire's tenure at Michigan, including three victories at Michigan State.
Shannon Osika was the first freshman in the Big Ten to cross the finish line.
Rebecca Addison's third-place effort is her highest career finish at the Big Ten Championships. She finished fourth as a junior in 2011.
Michigan has never finished lower than fifth place at the Big Ten Championships during McGuire's tenure, earning first or second place in 17 of his 21 seasons.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire
On getting Michigan back to the top of the Big Ten ... "It feels great. We've been close a couple times in the six-year stretch since we won last. This has been a primary objective for us, but it really didn't start at the beginning of the season, it started when we left Champaign, Ill., last year after the Big Ten meet. Reaching the destination is great, but the journey with these guys has been equally has fun."
On what's special about this team ... "I think they're as selfless of a group as I've had. They really click on and off the course. The way they took Amanda (Eccleston) in -- that's a big transition for Amanda coming from a small school. She's come in where she's running our lineup around and nobody has been threatened by it, everyone has embraced it and it speaks to the character of the people we have on this team."
On the depth of the Big Ten squad ... "It goes back to the fact that we realize we have a talented crew. If someone is on a little bit more that someone else on a given day, then the order changes. What we never lost sight of is that we're back to splitting 25-30 seconds between our first and fifth scorer. That's going to bode well in any competition that you're in. That ingredient has been with Shannon (Osika) leading the pack, Jill (Smith) leading the pack and Becca (Addison) leading the pack. Today, Taylor Manett did a great job. She has never run in the scoring position all year and she really stepped up on her biggest stage to date and performed admirably."
On channeling this success into the last two championship meets ... "I think we all realize that there is more there. I think we can come back and validate what we did today at regionals in two weeks. We have enough experience, where if we can get to the national meet and not lose each other in the crowd, I think we have a chance to really finish off a special season."
U-M Senior Rebecca Addison
On winning the Big Ten title ... "It means a lot to us because when we came to Michigan, Mike (McGuire) always talked about how Michigan used to dominate the Big Ten. The Big Ten has gotten a lot stronger and we wanted to get back up on the podium. It meant a lot to do it for Mike and for each other and finally get back on the podium."
On the depth that has allowed the team to be successful ... "We honestly don't ever know what order we'll be in, one through nine, because we're so deep and we're all so strong this year. It's so nice to know that every race it doesn't matter what place you're in on the team. As long as you run hard you know that everyone else will be running hard too."
On staying motivated through the remainder of the season ... "We have to keep the exciting going. We have four seniors, so it's our last two meets. Instead of wanting to get the season over with or being tired, we just have to keep our focus the same. We can't blow off any workouts or meets because we only have so many left. We really want to do well at nationals and not be satisfied with the Big Ten title."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423