Toeing the Line #2: U-M Goes to Spartan Invitational

Sept. 15, 2009

This Week
Friday, Sept. 18 -- at Spartan Invitational (East Lansing, Mich.), 1 p.m.

The University of Michigan women's cross country will send 11 runners, including four newcomers, to the Spartan Invitational on Friday (Sept. 18) 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 freshman Rebecca Addison, sophomore/freshman Lindsay Hagan, freshman Lindsey Hilton, sophomore/freshman Kourtney Moody, senior Jenny Morgan, freshman Kaitlyn Patterson, junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale, sophomore Mary Grace Pellegrini, senior/junior Rachel Severin, freshman Jillian Smith and junior Danielle Tauro.


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

Wolverine to Watch

Jenny Morgan, Senior/Junior
Senior/junior Jenny Morgan will make her 2009 season debut at this Friday's Spartan Invitational (Sept. 18) after sitting out during U-M's kick-off event at the Michigan Open two weeks ago. One of the Wolverines' top performers in each of the past two seasons, Morgan finished among Michigan's scorers in all three postseason events last year, most notably an 11th-place showing at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.

On what he wants to see in the Spartan Invitational ... "We did a good job grouping up in the first meet, and I'd like to see that game plan carried out over the extra kilometer. We have four freshmen in the lineup for whom this will be their first foray into a 6K distance, but there are other freshmen that they'll be competing against who will be in the same boat. I think they'll be able to accomplish their mission a lot easier given the fact that they've been working with teammates in practice that have experience racing over that 6K distance. This race is kind of a building block. Michigan State is in the same boat as us -- they're young, but they have a good quality of depth. So, it will be a good benchmark for where we stand against them and likewise where they are compared to us. We just want to be two weeks better than where we were in the first meet, and I feel that we should be. We definitely have shown some progress in practice, which you should be able to do that when you convene a talented group of athletes together. Now we've been together for three weeks, and it's reflecting in the results we're seeing in practice."

The Wolverines kicked off the 2009 campaign with a solid effort in the Michigan Open two weeks ago (Sept. 4), as eight Wolverines -- including one who competed unattached -- placed among the top 10 finishers in the 5,000-meter, non-scoring event. Among those who donned the Maize and Blue, U-M's top-five finishers crossed the line within a 48-second window, led by junior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), who won the race in a time of 18:00.5.

Tauro! Tauro! Tauro! -- Junior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) paced the Wolverines' effort at the Michigan Open (Sept. 4), capturing the event's top individual honors for the third consecutive season with a time of 18:00.5. Tauro crossed the line as U-M's top finisher in two events last season, most notably the 2008 Big Ten Championships, where she claimed 13th place to earn All-Big Ten second team honors. The Wolverine junior boasts five top-10 finishes in her collegiate career.

Fantastic Freshmen -- Ten Wolverine newcomers made their collegiate debuts at the Michigan Open (Sept. 4) -- five ran unattached -- including freshmen Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) and Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS), who crossed the line together to claim second and third place, respectively, at 18:11.4 and 18:11.8. Four Michigan rookies earned top-10 showings with freshmen Becca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) and Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams HS) claiming seventh and ninth place, respectively. The 2009 Michigan team boasts 13 newcomers; only four members of the squad have junior or senior eligibility.

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 Wednesday (Sept. 16). The Wolverines ended the 2008 campaign with the No. 8 ranking in the final MONDO national poll (Nov. 19, 2008).

Saturday, Oct. 3 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 11:45 a.m. CDT
Friday, Oct. 16 -- at Penn State National (State College, Pa.), 11 a.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423