Maize & Blue Wins Third Straight NCAA Regional Championship

Nov. 15, 2013

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Site: Madison, Wis. (Zimmer Championship Course)
Meet: NCAA Great Lakes Regionals (6,000 Meters)
U-M Finish: 1st Place of 33 Teams (48 points)
Top U-M Individual:
Erin Finn, 2nd (20:09)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), 1:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. -- Compliments of five runners in the top 25, the 14th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team won its third straight NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Friday (Nov. 15) at Wisconsin's Zimmer Championship Course. The win automatically punched the Wolverines a ticket to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Michigan tallied 48 points, topping second-place Butler with 67 points and third-place Michigan State with 73 points. Ohio University's Juli Accurso defended her individual title from a year ago, winning the 6,000-meter race in 20 minutes flat.

Accurso and freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) were part of the lead pack that set that tone of the race early. That pack was moving at a 5:25 pace at the one-mile marker, with Finn sitting in a third place in that tight front pack.

Junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and sophomore Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) were packed up just behind that lead group, with senior/junior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) close behind at the mile mark.

Finn made a move just before the 2K mark to jump into the lead and remained there through the 4K mark. With 2,000 meters to go, Michigan and Butler were the other two teams with two runners in the top 10 -- Finn held on to the lead, while Osika was sitting in ninth place. Around the 16:30 mark, Finn was overtaken by Accurso, who eventually won the race by a nine-second margin.

Finn ran to a runner-up finish in a time of 20:09. Osika (20:25) and Handler (20:27) teamed up for the final 100 meters, placing sixth and seventh, respectively, to hold off Michigan State's Rachele Schulist (20:30) in eighth place.

Manett, who was in 12th place with about 800 meters to go, finished strong, placing 11th in a time of 20:36. Weschler was Michigan's fifth and final scorer, crossing the line at 20:55 to take 22nd overall.

Junior/sophomore Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland) (21:08) and senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) (22:29) rounded out Michigan's seven-person squad, finishing 30th and 99th, respectively, in their regional debuts.

With their winning performance, the Wolverines automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships, which will be contested on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.

The women's 6K race is set to start at 1:15 p.m. at LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course.

regional champions

Top 10 Team Standings

  1. MICHIGAN            48
  2. Butler              67
  3. Michigan State      73
  4. Notre Dame         134
  5. Wisconsin          136
  6. Indiana            218
  7. Ohio State         221
  8. Toledo             227
  9. Central Michigan   263
 10. Xavier             273

Top 10 Finishers

  1. Juli Accurso, Ohio                    20:00
  2. ERIN FINN, U-M                        20:09
  3. Kelly Curran, Notre Dame              20:14
  4. Katie Clark, Butler                   20:19
  5. Leah O'Connor, Michigan State         20:23
  6. SHANNON OSIKA, U-M                    20:25
  7. BROOK HANDLER, U-M                    20:27
  8. Rachele Schulist, Michigan State      20:30
  9. Mara Olson, Butler                    20:33
 10. Samantha Ginther, Indiana             20:35

Other Michigan Finishers

 11. Taylor Manett, U-M                    20:36
 22. Megan Weschler, U-M                   20:55
 30. Anna Pasternak, U-M                   21:08
 99. Alex Leptich, U-M                     22:29

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423