Toeing the Line #1: U-M to Begin 2013 Hosting Purdue at Michigan Open
Shannon Osika

Aug 27, 2013

Friday, Aug. 30 -- Michigan Open (Dexter, Mich.), 10:30 a.m.

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Race Day Information: Hudson Mills Metropark

The 17th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will begin the 2013 season on Friday (Aug. 30), hosting the annual Michigan Open at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich. Purdue will join the Wolverines for the non-scoring 5,000-meter race, which will start at 10:30 a.m., following the men's race at 10 a.m. Admission to Hudson Mills Metropark is $5.

Top Returning Times
5,000-Meter Run 6,000-Meter Run
Taylor Pogue 17:04.38* Taylor Pogue 20.34.00*
Brook Handler 17:44.53* Brook Handler 20:36.70
Megan Weschler 17:48.28* Shannon Osika 20:38.00
Anna Pasternak 17:49.30 Taylor Manett 20:52.90
Shannon Osika 17:56.00 Megan Weschler 21:05.00*
* Indicates time run in 2011


• This year's Michigan Open will mark the first time U-M will face an opponent at the event since 2009 and 2010 when Eastern Michigan also competed in the event.

• The Wolverines were tabbed No. 17 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Cross Country Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Wolverines are one of four Big Ten institutions to be ranked among the nation's top 30, including Penn State (No. 11), Michigan State (No. 13) and Minnesota (No. 19). Under head coach Mike McGuire, U-M has been ranked in the preseason poll in each of the last 11 years.

• Michigan will be led by 22nd-year head coach Mike McGuire, who earned his ninth Big Ten Coach of the Year and seventh Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honor in 2012.

• The Wolverines return 17 runners, including five from its 2012 Big Ten Championships squad. Junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) and sophomores Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) return as U-M's core that helped lead the Wolverines to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

• Michigan's 2013 roster features 18 freshmen who have not competed in uniform for Michigan, including 11 true freshmen and seven redshirt freshmen. Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) is a two-time state cross country champion and the 2013 North America and Central America & Caribbean (NACAC) champion as a member of Team USA and is expected to make an immediate impact for the Wolverines.

• The Wolverines are coming off their best season since 2006, winning the program's ninth Big Ten title, their second straight Great Lakes Regional crown, and capped the season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Shannon Osika returns as U-M's most decorated runner from a year ago, as she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and also earned All-Big Ten second team and All-Great Lakes Region honors. Taylor Pogue joined Osika on the All-Big Ten second team, while Brook Handler also earned a spot on the all-region squad.

• In each of the last two seasons, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year has worn the Maize and Blue, with Taylor Pogue earning the honor in 2011 and Shannon Osika collecting the award in 2012.

• Michigan's strength in 2012 was its tight split between its five scoring runners. U-M's five scorers posted a 31-second split at both the Big Ten Championships and Great Lakes Regional, and split an incredible 22 seconds at the NCAA Championships, including a 12-second split between the top four scorers.

• The squad reported to campus on Aug. 19 and departed on Aug. 21 for team camp at the U-M Bio Station in Pellston, Mich. The Wolverines will spend eight days in Northern Michigan training and bonding as a team in preparation for the start of the 2013 season.

• Under 22nd-year head coach Mike McGuire's guidance, the Wolverines have improved their postseason finishes at the Big Ten Championships, NCAA Great Lakes Regional and NCAA Championships each year since 2009. The team constructed its best season since 2006 last year, winning the Big Ten and Great Lakes Region titles and capped the season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

During his tenure, the Wolverines have won nine Big Ten titles and eight NCAA Regional crowns, winning both in 2012. In 2012, McGuire earned his ninth Big Ten and seventh Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honors. Under McGuire, Michigan has posted 17 top-two finishes in 21 seasons at the Big Ten Championships, 16 top-two finishes at NCAA Regionals and 10 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

Michigan's Recent Annual Results Under McGuire

YearBig TenRegionalNCAA

According to McGuire
On preseason camp at the U-M Bio Station ... "What we're doing outside of training is as important as what we're doing in training up here. It's a great setting. The Bio Station is such a great host for us. We're doing doubles every-other-day and singles on the other days, so there is a lot of bonding time in between. We have a good balance between 'boot camp' and 'bonding camp'. It's a great tradition to start our season off with."

On how he approaches this season after a successful 2012 season ... "I think the dynamic has changed with us graduating four seniors, but by no means are we devoid of talent. It's just a matter of people assuming different roles and different responsibilities. I think we can transition into some people assuming leadership roles and finishing roles in major races, so I'm excited."

On who he will expect to step into leadership roles on and off the course ... "On the course I think Shannon Osika will be at another level over last year. Freshman Erin Finn is somebody who we think can impact us right away in the front. Brook Handler is another year older and another year stronger. Taylor Manett is someone who had a very good season last year and will be more in an impact role than a support role this season. Taylor Pogue is healthy now, so it's a good start with that group from a leadership standpoint."

On the team's biggest challenge this season ... "The first thing is staying healthy. The more people we have healthy the better. There are going to be interruptions during the course of the season, but minimizing the duration of those interruptions will be important. I think we have enough experience blended with some younger talent that I think we'll be fine."

On what he's looking forward to about this team ... "As I've gotten on in years at Michigan, I really enjoy the process as much as what we're doing on race day. I know we have the right people and it's a lot of fun. I really enjoy being around these highly motivated women. They're outstanding students and motivated athletes and they do a good job of looking out for each other. They really epitomize what a team is."

On his goals for the Michigan Open ... "The girls will be eager to lace their spikes up and do something with a watch at their head. Purdue will provide a little extra motivation to get things started. We'll get a bench mark established with Purdue and then we'll turn around 14 days later and run their women on their course to preview the Big Ten course in West Lafayette. For our younger kids in particular, they'll come back later in the season at Hudson Mills at the EMU Classic and get a chance to see where they're at compared to their 5K they run here this Friday. We're planning to run everyone who is ready to go this Friday, whether they're in uniform or not. We're going to put a lot of people on the line and we're excited about it."

Friday, Sept. 13 -- at Purdue Invitational (West Lafayette, Ind.), 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5 -- at Rim Rock Farm Classic (Lawrence, Kan.), 10 a.m. CDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423