Tauro's Fourth-Place Run Helps Michigan to Runner-up at Big Tens

Oct. 31, 2010

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Site: Madison, Wis. (Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course)
Meet: Big Ten Championships (6,000 meters)
U-M Finish: 2nd of 11 Teams (88 points)
Top U-M Individual: Danielle Tauro, 4th (20:20.1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Nov. 13 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Rochester, Mich.), Noon

MADISON, Wis. -- Senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) claimed fourth place to lead the No. 21-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team to a runner-up team finish at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday (Oct. 31) at Wisconsin's Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. The Wolverines registered a season-low 88 points in the 6,000-meter race, just 14 points shy of champion Michigan State.

The runner-up performance was Michigan's top Big Ten finish since capturing its fifth consecutive conference title in 2006 and represented a 34-point improvement over last season's fourth-place showing. All five Wolverine scorers crossed the line with a strong 43-second spread and placed among the race's top 30.

Tauro paced the Wolverines for the fifth time this season and earned her third top-five finish in five appearances, covering the course in a personal-best 20:20.1 -- a four-second improvement on her previous best. The Wolverine runner stayed among the race's top six throughout the race, clocking 10:15 in fourth place through the 3,000-meter split before falling back to sixth -- and largely running by herself -- heading into 4,000 meters. When Wisconsin's Caitlin Comfort caught up with her moments later, the two closed the gap on fourth place over the race's final stretch, and Tauro picked off two positions in the final kick to secure the best Big Ten finish of her career.

While Tauro was the only Michigan scorer to net a personal-best time, three additional members of its top five just missed hitting their personal standards by eight seconds or less. Sophomore Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) joined Tauro on the platform, earning All-Big Ten second team honors with a 12th-place performance and a 20:44.0 showing, just three seconds off her best time.

Sophomore Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) missed her personal best by six seconds, turning in an 18th-place finish with a time of 20:52.5. Senior/junior Kaitlyn Peale (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington HS), an All-Big Ten performer from a season ago, returned to competition after missing the previous two meets and took 26th place (21:00.1), while sophomore Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS) rounded out the Wolverine scoring contingent just two spots later, placing 28th with a time of 21:03.3, eight seconds off her personal-best mark.

The Wolverines will take a two-week break before continuing postseason competition at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Katke-Cousins Golf Course in Rochester, Mich. The women's 6,000-meter race is slated for a noon start.

Team Standings

 1. Wisconsin       74
 2. MICHIGAN        88
 3. Minnesota       90
 4. Penn State     106
 5. Indiana        117
 6. Ohio State     162
 7. Wisconsin      172
 8. Iowa           190
 9. Illinois       203
10. Northwestern   251
11. Purdue         261

Top 10 Individuals

 1. Emily MacLeod, Michigan State   19:53.8
 2. Stephanie Price, Minnesota      19:55.5
 3. Emily Sisson, Wisconsin         20:02.8
 4. DANIELLE TAURO, U-M             20:20.1
 5. Sarah Pease, Indiana            20:23.3
 6. Caitlin Comfort, Wisconsin      20:26.4
 7. Carlie Green, Michigan State    20:34.4
 8. Betsy Flood, Iowa               20:35.2
 9. Brooklyne Ridder, Penn State    20:37.3
10. Ellen Birmingham, Ohio State    20:38.2

Other Michigan Individuals

12. Jillian Smith, U-M           20:44.0
18. Rebecca Addison, U-M         20:52.5
26. Kaitlyn Peale, U-M           21:00.1
28. Kaitlyn Patterson, U-M       21:03.3
44. Mary Grace Pellegrini, U-M   21:24.8
62. Lindsey Hilton, U-M          21:47.8
67. Kourtney Moody, U-M          21:56.9
70. Alex Leptich, U-M            22:02.6


Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire
On the Wolverines' Big Ten performance ... "I thought we ran a solid meet. Michigan State was the deserving champion; they ran very well. We were solid, and obviously we got really good races out of Danielle [Tauro] and Jill Smith. Becca improved on her performance over last year. So, we're going in the right direction. We're back knocking on the door for a championship, and we'll strive to break that door down next year. We still have two big meets ahead of us this season. Again, we thought we ran well, and we just want to use this as a springboard to finish up our season on a proper note."

U-M Senior Danielle Tauro
On her individual race ... "I went out pretty hard with the leaders, probably in the top 4-5. There were moments when I didn't feel good, and there were moments when I felt really good -- that's when they started to accelerate. I was basically going as hard as I could, but that's when I started to fall off. It opened up separation between third and fourth, and I was basically in no-man's land. I was trying to rally as much as I could, but I was hurting pretty bad. Right around the 4k, Wisconsin's second girl, Caitlin Comfort, moved up and passed me. I tried to stay with her as much as I could between the 4k and 5k. It was actually a blessing that she passed me, because it was so spread out and would have been really tough to keep everyone within striking distance by myself. So, it was great to have her, because we were running together and closing gap on fourth place. She was very encouraging. In the last K, I was in sixth, and heading into the final 300 meters, I sprinted to the finish and catching the two girls in front of me. I made it to fourth, and that's about where I wanted to be as the race unfolded. I ran a little faster than I did the last time we ran at Wisconsin, and that was a huge PR for me. I know I gave the best that I had."

On the Wolverine team effort ... "The girls did an amazing job. It's always hard to tell during a race how everyone is doing, because you don't always see them. I just hope for the best and hope that everyone is pushing as hard as I am, and I trust that they are. We were pretty close to Michigan State. We had a great day. Everyone was either got a PR or was close to their PR this weekend. We were fighting and winning races to the finish line -- picking off people down the stretch -- which is always a goal of ours. I couldn't ask for a better effort from my teammates. I'm really proud of them and happy with our performance today."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423