Toeing the Line #1: Wolverines to Kick Off 2011 as Michigan Open Host
Mike McGuire

Aug. 30, 2011

Friday, Sept. 2 -- Michigan Open (Dexter, Mich.), 4 p.m.

The University of Michigan women's cross country team will kick off its 2011 season on Friday (Sept. 2), hosting the annual Michigan Open at the Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich. The women's 5,000-meter race is slated for a 4 p.m. start.

Top Returning Times
5,000-Meter Run 6,000-Meter Run
Danielle Tauro 17:15 Danielle Tauro 20:20.1
Kaitlyn Patterson 17:35.6 Jillian Smith 20:41.0
Rebecca Addison 17:40.5 Rebecca Addison 20.46.3
Jillian Smith 17:48.9 Kaitlyn Patterson 21:03.3
Kourtney Moody 18:14.33 Mary Grace Pellegrini 21.17.8
Mary Grace Pellegrini 18:15 Lindsey Hilton 21:28.6
Lindsey Hilton 18:21.76 Alex Leptich 21:52.3

Danielle Tauro, Redshirt-Senior
Fifth-year senior Danielle Tauro was Michigan's top finisher in six of the seven meets she competed in last season, including a personal-best fourth place finish at the 2010 Big Ten Championship, which earned her All-Big Ten First Team honors.

Familiar Faces -- Michigan returns all but one of its scorers from last year's squad, including All-Big Ten first team selection Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS), All-Big Ten second team member junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) and conference-meet scorers junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) and junior Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS).

Introducing the Newcomers -- Michigan will add 10 freshmen to the cross country team this fall. Expected to make an immediate impact for the Wolverines is newcomer Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester HS), who was the Michigan Division I state cross country champion, leading her squad to the team state title in 2010. After redshirting during their freshmen seasons, two newcomers from the 2010 roster will return to the course following successful track and field seasons in the spring. Sophomore/freshman Taylor Pogue and Megan Weschler both qualified for the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships during their rookie seasons.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Mike McGuire begins his 20th season as head coach of the Michigan women's cross country team. During his tenure, the Wolverines have won eight Big Ten titles and six NCAA Regional crowns. McGuire has been honored as the Big Ten Coach of the Year on eight occasions and has been named NCAA Regional Coach of the Year five times. Under McGuire, Michigan has posted 15 top-two finishes in 19 seasons at the Big Ten Championships, 13 top-two finishes at NCAA Regionals and eight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

Leaders of the Pack -- Three members of the 2011 U-M women's cross country squad were named team captains during preseason camp. Juniors Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith and senior Mary Grace Pellegrini have proven themselves as an integral part of the squad and will be called upon for their leadership this season. The trio was included in Michigan's top-seven throughout the 2010 season.

Follow Michigan cross country/track on Twitter throughout the season. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (michigan_track) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

The Wolverines enter the 2011 campaign with the No. 13 ranking in the NCAA Division I cross country preseason poll, released Tuesday (Aug. 30) by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). As the highest of four Big Ten Conference schools featured in the rankings, U-M also owns the top spot the Great Lakes Region preseason poll.

Friday, Sept. 16 -- at Illinois Orange and Blue Preview (Urbana, Ill.), 4:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, Oct. 1 -- at Greater Louisville Classic (Louisville, Ky.), TBA

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423