Toeing the Line #2: Wolverines to Preview Big Ten Course at Illinois
Mike McGuire

Sept. 14, 2011

Friday, Sept. 16 -- at Illinois Orange and Blue Preview (Urbana Ill.), 4:30 p.m. CDT
Meet Information

The University of Michigan women's cross country team will send 11 runners, including five with freshman eligibility, to the Illinois Orange and Blue Preview on Friday (Sept. 16) at the University of Illinois' Arboretum in Urbana, Ill. The 6,000-meter race is slated for a 4:30 p.m. CDT start.

The Orange and Blue Preview is designed to give runners a chance to race on the Big Ten Championships course. Following the preview, the Wolverines will have six weeks to prepare for the real thing. The Big Ten Championships will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30. After a runner-up finish at the 2010 conference meet and only graduating one senior, Michigan will look to take a run at the Big Ten title.

The U-M lineup will feature junior Rebecca Addison, sophomore/freshman Nicola Hallenborg, freshman Brook Handler, junior Lindsey Hilton, freshman Ellen Junewick, senior Mary Grace Pellegrini, sophomore/freshman Taylor Pogue, junior/sophomore Chloe Prince, junior Jillian Smith, fifth-year senior Danielle Tauro and sophomore/freshman Megan Weschler.

Top Wolverine 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
Megan Weschler 18:21.60 Alex Leptich 21:52.3

On why the Orange & Blue Preview is important ... "This meet will allow us to take an early season inventory of where the team is at. Our main motivation for going to the meet is to preview the Big Ten course. I've always been a believer that it's important to see the course we're going to be competing on later in the season."

The Wolverines kicked off the 2011 campaign hosting the annual Michigan Open two weeks ago. Fifth-year senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) paced the Maize and Blue to the finish line, finishing first overall with a time of 18:02.40. She claimed the individual crown for the fourth time in her career in the 5,000-meter, non-scoring event. Michigan's harriers took the top six spots, including third-place finisher sophomore/freshman Megan Weschler (Wyandotta, Mich./Roosevelt HS), who shaved 33 seconds off her previous personal best time.


Prepping for Big Ten Greatness -- Michigan's contingent at the Orange and Blue Preview will feature five members of the Big Ten Championships squad from last season: fifth-year senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS), junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS), junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS), senior Mary Grace Pellegrini (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual) and junior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams).

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.

The Wolverines remain at No. 13 in the first regular season NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Sept. 13) by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). As the highest of five Big Ten Conference schools featured in the rankings, U-M also held on to the top spot in the Great Lakes Region regular-season poll. [ Poll ]

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.

Saturday, Oct. 1 -- at Greater Louisville Classic (Louisville, Ky.), 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 16 -- at NCAA Pre Nationals (Terre Haute, Ind.), 11:40 a.m.

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423