Nov. 17, 2012
Site: Louisville, Ky. (E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park)
Meet: NCAA Championships (6,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 5th of 31 Teams (247 points)
Top U-M Individual: Jillian Smith, 52nd (20:24.0)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The sixth-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team placed fifth at the NCAA Championships on Saturday (Nov. 17) at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park. It is the program's best finish since 2006 (third) and U-M's fifth top-10 national finish in the past 10 seasons.
The Wolverines split 22 seconds between their first and fifth-place finishers, including a 12-second split between the top four scorers.
Senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) led Michigan's fifth-place effort, finishing 52nd overall in a time of 20:24.0. Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) recorded a career-best finish at the NCAA meet, placing 56th in a time of 20:26.3.
In her first Division I NCAA Championship meet, fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) was Michigan's third scorer, taking 61st in a time of 20:28.6. Sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) improved 82 spots from last season's NCAA meet, placing 75th in 20:36.7.
Senior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) was Michigan's fifth scorer, stopping the clock at 20:46.3, to record a career-best NCAA finish in 94th place.
After winning the NCAA Great Lakes Region and Big Ten titles, Michigan's fifth-place performance today caps its best season since 2006, when the Wolverines finished first at Big Tens, third at the regional meet and third at the NCAA Championships.
Team Standings (Top 10)
1. Oregon 114 2. Providence 183 3. Stanford 198 4. Florida State 202 5. MICHIGAN 247 6. Arizona 263 7. Duke 300 8. Connecticut 304 9. Washington 334 10. New Mexico 341
Top 10 Finishers
1. Betsy Saina, Iowa State 19:27.9 2. Abbey D'Agostino, Dartmouth 19:28.6 3. Jordan Hasay, Oregon 19:28.6 4. Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton, Wichita State 19:33.6 5. Risper Kimaiyo, UTEP 19:41.0 6. Cally Macumber, Kentucky 19:42.2 7. Mareike Schrulle, Iowa 19:43.3 8. Alexi Pappas, Oregon 19:43.9 9. Laura Hollander, Cal Poly 19:45.2 10. Sarah Collins, Providence 19:50.7
52. Jillian Smith, U-M 20:24.0 56. Rebecca Addison, U-M 20:26.3 61. Amanda Eccleston, U-M 20:28.6 75. Brook Handler, U-M 20:36.7 94. Lindsey Hilton, U-M 20:46.3 119. Shannon Osika, U-M 20:53.9 169. Taylor Manett, U-M 21:15.2
N O T E S
In the last 10 years (2003-12), Michigan has recorded five top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
Michigan finished ahead of two teams that were ranked higher in the USTFCCCA Coaches Poll heading in to the NCAA Championships, including No. 3 Iowa State and No. 5 Arizona.
Jillian Smith was the third runner from the Big Ten Conference to finish, following Iowa's Mareike Schrulle and Penn State's Tori Perri. Smith edged Michigan State's Sara Kroll, who was the Big Ten individual champion, by 0.2 seconds.
Oregon won the NCAA team title with 114 total points.
Iowa State's Betsy Saina won the individual NCAA title in a time of 19:27.9.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire
On finishing the year strong ... "We had an outstanding presence among ourselves the entire trip. There was a quiet confidence and they really drew off the strength of each other -- it was a real business-like approach. Part of it is that you have some veterans in there that took the leadership role and some first-timers like Amanda (Eccleston) and Brook (Handler) in her second NCAA race really stepping up for us. Any time you can come to this meet and finish better than you were ranked going in, that's a great feeling."
On getting Michigan back toward the top of the NCAA ... "It feels great. I'm happy for them more than anything. It's a process and it's involved a lot of clawing our way back up and we've had the right people to do it. They had a great season, a great performance today and I think they really reestablished a bench mark that future teams can follow."
On the 22-second split from one to five ... "We were back a little bit early and we did a good job of keeping our composure and moving through and that was all five of the scorers doing that. Jill (Smith) and Becca (Addison) had each other's presence there for a while and then Amanda (Eccleston) came on. I really thought Brook (Handler) had her best race of her collegiate career, in track or cross country. We emphasized 'race, don't follow,' because the tendency in this type of meet is get back a little bit and aimlessly follow people around the course. I saw a lot of alert eyes throughout the race with all of them, so obviously that's what you need to navigate your way through that type of field."
On sending the seniors out on a high note ... "I'm overjoyed. Particularly the three tri-captains have put a lot of effort into things the last four years, so to get the results we've achieved over the last three meets is great. It's a great accomplishment for them. It's all about them -- I'm just happy for them. And it's been great having Amanda (Eccleston) on board. Part of her doing so well was how well she was received by her teammates, in particularly the upperclassmen. For Amanda, it's an outstanding opportunity because she was a great runner at Hillsdale and now she's had the benefit of some great teammates to draw that much more out of her. I think this is a launching pad for what she's going to do during track season for us."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423