Toeing the Line #2: Michigan Sends 15 Runners to Spartan Invite

Sept. 14, 2010

Friday, Sept. 17 -- at Spartan Invitational (East Lansing, Mich.), 1 p.m.

The University of Michigan women's cross country team will send 15 runners, including six with freshman eligibility, to the Spartan Invitational on Friday (Sept. 17) at Michigan State's Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich. The 6,000-meter race is slated for a 1 p.m. start.

The U-M lineup will feature sophomore Rebecca Addison, sophomore/freshman Monica Barnes, sophomore/freshman Meg Bellino, sophomore/freshman Courtney Clancy, junior Lindsey Gakenheimer, sophomore/freshman Jami Hill, sophomore Lindsey Hilton, freshman Alex Leptich, junior/sophomore Kourtney Moody, sophomore Kaitlyn Patterson, senior/junior Kaitlyn Peale, junior Mary Grace Pellegrini, sophomore/freshman Chloe Prince, sophomore Jillian Smith and senior Danielle Tauro.

Top Returning Times
5,000-Meter Run 6,000-Meter Run
Kaitlyn Peale 17:11.3 Kaitlyn Peale 20:33
Danielle Tauro 17:15 Danielle Tauro 21:09.5
Kaitlyn Patterson 17:35.6 Kaitlyn Patterson 21:20
Rebecca Addison 17:40.5 Rebecca Addison 21:23
Jillian Smith 17:48.9 Jillian Smith 21:37.86
Mary Grace Pellegrini 18:15 Lindsey Hilton 21:52
Lindsey Hilton 18:28 Mary Grace Pellegrini 22:39
Lindsey Gakenheimer 18:45

On what he wants to see in the Spartan Invitational ... "Our training has been going pretty well, so we'd like to see a performance on par with the preparation at this point. We've been doing a lot of sustained-type running, so we're definitely in the early strength phase of our training. But we want to be as competitive as we can be. We'll see some regional competition there, and it will be a good-enough test for this point. It's obviously higher than our opening meet; it's a couple steps up from that, and we know we'll take about another 3-4-step jump up two weeks subsequent to this meet on Friday."

The Wolverines kicked off the 2010 campaign with a solid effort in the Michigan Open on Sept. 3, as eight Wolverines -- including one who competed unattached -- placed among the top 10 finishers in the 5,000-meter, non-scoring event. Among those that donned the Maize and Blue, U-M's top-five finishers crossed the line within a narrow 23-second window, while its top seven came through in a 33-second spread. Senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) paced the Maize and Blue to the finish line, finishing second with a time of 17:51.91.

Tauro! Tauro! Tauro! -- Senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) paced the Wolverines' effort at the Michigan Open for the fourth consecutive season, but after winning the event in her previous three appearances, the Wolverine veteran had to settle for runner-up honors. Tauro crossed the line as U-M's top finisher in two events in each of the last two seasons, including her only two appearances in 2009 before injury ended her season prematurely. The Wolverine junior boasts six top-10 finishes in her collegiate career. She placed second at last year's Spartan Invitational.

Sensational Sophomores -- After placing among Michigan's top five in every appearance in their first collegiate season last year, the Wolverines' sophomore trio of Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS), Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS) and Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) are poised to make a greater contribution to U-M's team scoring. Patterson took third place at the Michigan Open in 17:58.87, while Addison and Smith rounded out the top five in fourth (18:05.31) and fifth (18:14.18) place, respectively.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Mike McGuire is in his 19th 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 18 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 Wolverines held onto the No. 27 spot in the latest NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Sept. 14) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. One of six Big Ten Conference schools featured in the rankings, U-M also owns the fourth spot among the Great Lakes Region.

Saturday, Oct. 2 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 11 a.m. CDT
Saturday, Oct. 16 -- at NCAA Pre Nationals (Terre Haute, Ind.), 11 a.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423