Toeing the Line #1: U-M Kicks Off 2009 with Michigan Open

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

The University of Michigan women's cross country team will kick off its 2009 season on Friday (Sept. 4), hosting the annual Michigan Open at the Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich. The 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 Jenny Morgan 20:58.1
Jenny Morgan 17:35 Danielle Tauro 21:09.5
Rachel Severin 18:00 Alysha Valencia 21:52.2
Kaitlyn Peale 18:01 Rachel Severin 22:07.7
Mary Grace Pellegrini 18:15 Mary Grace Pellegrini 22:42.2
Amanda McKenzie 18:27 Amanda McKenzie 22:56.2
Alysha Valencia 18:35
Lindsey Gakenheimer 18:45
Alice Lehman 19:03
Lindsay Hagan 19:07
Christine Barren 19:40
Melany Mioduszewski 19:52

Danielle Tauro, Junior
Junior Danielle Tauro enters the 2009 campaign as the Wolverines' top-returning runner. She headlined Michigan's efforts at the Big Ten Championships, claiming 13th place to earn All-Big Ten second team honors and followed with 16th- and 103rd-place showings at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and NCAA Championships, respectively.

Familiar Faces -- Michigan returns 12 letterwinners from last season's squad, including All-Big Ten selection junior Danielle Tauro(Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) and conference-meet participants senior Jenny Morgan(Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston HS) and senior/junior Rachel Severin(Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea HS). Only four members of the 2009 Wolverine squad have junior or senior eligibility.

Introducing the Newcomers -- Michigan will add quite a number of newcomers to its 2009 roster, including 13 freshmen and a pair of Wolverine track athletes that will join the cross country team this fall. Among the most notable additions are Becca Addison(Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) and Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) -- both high school All-Americans in cross country and/or track. Addison claimed 21st place at the 2008 Footlocker Cross Country Championships and twice placed among the top five in the 800 meter at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. Smith was a mile champion at the Millrose Games (2008, '09) and Boston Indoor Games (2008) and contributed to four total relay national titles.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Mike McGuire begins his 18th 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 14 top-two finishes in 17 seasons at the Big Ten Championships, 12 top-two finishes at NCAA Regionals and eight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

Michigan cross country/track is now on Twitter. 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 United States Cross Country Coaches Association has yet to release its MONDO first national poll and regional polls for the 2009 season; the preseason poll will be released the week of Sept. 16. The Wolverines ended the 2008 campaign with the No. 8 ranking in the final MONDO national poll (Nov. 19, 2008).

Friday, Sept. 18 -- at Spartan Invitational (East Lansing, Mich.), 1:35 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3 -- at Wisconsin Inter-Regional Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 11:45 a.m. CDT

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423