Sept. 11, 2012
Friday, Sept. 14 -- at Spartan Invitational (East Lansing, Mich.), Noon
The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will travel to in-state rival Michigan State for the Spartan Invitational on Friday (Sept. 14) at MSU's Forest Akers Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich. The race is set for a noon start, followed by the men's race at 12:35 p.m. The women's 6,000-meter race will serve as a preview of the Big Ten Championships course as this year's conference meet will be hosted by the Spartans on Oct. 28.
Michigan will be joined by 26 other teams at the Spartan Invitational, including Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State from the Big Ten Conference.
Wolverines in Action
Fifteen Wolverines will compete in uniform for Michigan this weekend -- Laura Addison, Rebecca Addison, Meg Bellino, Michaela Carnegie, Amanda Eccleston, Nicola Hallenborg, Brook Handler, Lindsey Hilton, Devon Hoppe, Shannon Osika, Anna Pasternak, Kaitlyn Patterson, Taylor Pogue, Jillian Smith, and Megan Weschler.
Last Time on the Course -- The Wolverines kicked off the 2012 season hosting the annual Michigan Open on Aug. 31 at Hudson Mills Metro Park. In her first collegiate race for the Maize and Blue, freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) won the 5,000-meter event in a time of 17:58.
Returning to Action -- Senior/junior Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), who redshirted during the 2011 season due to injury, returned to competition at the Michigan Open. Patterson finished the race in eighth place with a time of 19:07. In her first two seasons at Michigan, she was a member of the Wolverines' NCAA Championships squad, finishing as high as 143rd in 2010.
Immediate Impact -- Freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) was the only true freshman in uniform for the Wolverines at the Michigan Open on Aug. 31, winning her collegiate debut by a 10-second margin. Osika enrolled at the University of Michigan in January and competed for the Maize and Blue during the 2012 indoor track season. She made an immediate impact for U-M, running the 1,200-meter leg of its distance medley relay. The DMR won its ninth straight Big Ten title and finished 12th at the NCAA Championships, landing the four-woman squad on the All-America second team list. Osika appeared on the All-America second team a second time after finishing ninth in the mile at her first NCAA Championships.
Experienced Addition -- Graduate student Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./[Tecumseh) transferred to the University of Michigan for her final year of cross country, indoor track and outdoor track after a successful undergraduate career at the Division II level at Hillsdale College. Eccleston was named the 2012 Division II National Indoor Female Track Athlete of the Year after winning national titles in the 800- and 1,500-meter run as a senior. Eccleston finished second in Michigan's season opener with a 5K time of 18:08.
Talented Returners -- Michigan returned all but one of its scorers from last year's squad, including an All-Big Ten first team selection in senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) and two All-Big Ten second team members in senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) and junior/sophomore Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich). Pogue also earned Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year as the highest freshman finisher at the conference meet. Also returning from last year's varsity squad are junior/sophomore Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt), senior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) and sophomores Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) and Ellen Junewick (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern).
On the Rise -- Under 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 2008 last year, finishing runner-up at the conference meet, capturing the regional title and capping the season with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Michigan has been topped by Michigan State at each of the last two Big Ten Championships but dominated the field at last year's regional meet, which included the Spartans. The 2012 conference meet will take place at Michigan State's Forest Akers Golf Course.
Michigan's Annual Results
Calling the Shots -- Head coach Mike McGuire begins his 21st season as head coach of the Michigan women's cross country team. During his tenure, the Wolverines have won eight Big Ten titles and seven NCAA Regional crowns, including the 2011 regional title. McGuire has been honored as the Big Ten Coach of the Year on eight occasions and was named NCAA Regional Coach of the Year for the sixth time in 2011. Under McGuire, Michigan has posted 16 top-two finishes in 20 seasons at the Big Ten Championships, 15 top-two finishes at NCAA Regionals and nine top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
Leaders of the Pack -- Seniors Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith will lead the Wolverines as team captains in 2012 for the second consecutive season, while fellow senior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) was selected as a tri-captain for the first time. The trio has been a part of Michigan's varsity squad during each of the last three seasons, helping the Maize and Blue to its best season since 2008 last year.
2011 Rewind -- In 2011, the Wolverines had their most successful season since 2008 in terms of postseason success. Michigan finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships, matching its performance from the previous year. The team went on to win the Great Lakes Regional by a 32-point margin and capped the season with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Head coach Mike McGuire was named Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career, while recent graduate Danielle Tauro earned Regional Athlete of the Year for winning the individual regional title. Tauro and Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) earned All-Big Ten first team accolades for finishing in the top seven at the conference meet, while senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) and junior/sophomore Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) landed spots on the second team. Pogue also collected Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year.
IN THE POLLS
Michigan moved up one spot to No. 11 in the first regular-season NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Sept. 11) by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). As the highest of four Big Ten Conference schools featured in the top 30, U-M continues to own the top spot in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region poll.
Michigan women's cross country is on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganwomenstrack. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@umichtrack) for up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.
Saturday, Sept. 29 -- at Rim Rock Farm Classic (Lawrence, Kan.), 10 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 13 -- at NCAA Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.), 10:15 a.m.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423