Toeing the Line #4: U-M Gets Preview of Big Ten Course at Penn State

Saturday, Oct. 16 -- at Penn State National (State College, Pa.), 11 a.m.

After a two-week hiatus, the University of Michigan women's cross country team will return to competition on Friday (Oct. 16) at the Penn State National in State College, Pa. Hosted by the Nittany Lions, the women's 6,000-meter race is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start at the Blue-White Golf Course.

The Wolverine lineup will feature freshman Rebecca Addison, freshman Lindsey Hilton, junior/sophomore Melany Mioduszewski, sophomore/freshman Kourtney Moody, freshman Kaitlyn Patterson, junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale, sophomore Mary Grace Pellegrini, senior/junior Rachel Severin and freshman Jillian Smith.

The event will provide the Wolverine squad a preview of the course for the 2009 Big Ten Championships, which will be hosted by Penn State on Sunday, Nov. 1. Among the women's teams slated to appear at this Friday's meet are Boston College, Bucknell, Connecticut, Cornell, East Carolina, George Washington, Georgia State, Kent State, Kentucky, Lehigh, Penn State, Pennsylvania, Providence, West Virginia, Yale

On running at Penn State this Friday ... "We're doing something a little different; normally we'd be going to the Pre-Nats. But Penn State will be hosting the Big Ten meet 15 days subsequent to when we run there, and we haven't been out there for a while. So, I think getting them familiar with the course would, hopefully, pay dividends at the conference meet. We want to run well this weekend, and there are going to be some very good teams there from outside the region, so we'll go out there and give it our best shot."

On what he's looking for from his team ... "This is only our fourth meet, but I think the level of competition will be on par with -- if not better than -- Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, which had been a step up from the first two meets. Each week, we've shown improvement, so obviously we'll be looking to continue on with that trend. Progress can't always be quantified by what they run time-wise, depending on the course conditions. I'm anticipating that it's going to be a little bit wet this weekend, so the measure we'll be looking for is that we're packing accordingly and trying to lower the split between our first and fifth runners. I think that's what we'll use to gauge our success."


Kaitlyn Patterson, Freshman
Freshman Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS) has consistently placed among Michigan's top-five runners across the finish line this season and ranks among U-M's fastest 5,000m (17:35.6) and 6,000m (21:56) times on the season. Most recently, she claimed 16th place -- as U-M's second finisher -- at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3).

In their first scored meet of the season, the Wolverines claimed fifth place (118 points) against a nationally competitive field at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3), placing their scored five among the race's top-50 finishers. Four of Michigan's top-five runners established career-best 5,000-meter times. Junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington HS) paced the U-M squad with her third top-10 finish of the season, claiming fourth place with a personal-best 17:11.3, while a trio of freshmen -- Kaitlyn Patterson, Rebecca Addison(Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) and Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) -- crossed the finish line within a narrow 13-second window in 16th, 24th and 30th place, respectively.

High Five -- Adding the Wolverines' fifth-place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3), the Michigan women's cross country program boasts 35 top-five performances in its last 40 scored meets since 2003. [Two of U-M's non-top-five showings were sixth-place efforts at the NCAA meet (2004, '05).] Over that stretch, Michigan has claimed 18 first-place performances, including six in 2005. U-M has boasted at least one team victory in every season since 2002.

Peale Out -- Poised for a breakout campaign, junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale already boasts three top-10 finishes in as many appearances this season, matching her previous career total for top-10 finishes. Most recently, she claimed fourth-place honors at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3), clocking 17:11.3 as Michigan's top finisher -- a mark which shaved 50 seconds from her previous career-best 5,000-meter time and established a new high among Michigan's current lineup. She claimed seventh place in her 6,000-meter debut at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 18, clocking 21:47 as Michigan's second runner across the line, and took fourth place at the season-opening Michigan Open on Sept. 5. Peale's best -- albeit unofficial -- collegiate finish was a third-place showing at the 2007 EMU Fall Classic; she ran the event unattached.

Fantastic Freshmen -- Michigan's standout rookie trio of freshmen Rebecca Addison, Kaitlyn Patterson and Jillian Smith has made a quick impact in the Wolverine lineup this season with all three placing among their team's top five in each completed appearance this season. Patterson has stood out from the pack with a pair of top-10 showings in Michigan's first two events of the season, including a ninth-place finish at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 18, while Smith and Addison claimed second and seventh, respectively, at the season-opening Michigan Open on Sept. 5. The trio crossed the line as U-M second, third, and fourth runners, respectively, in their scoring debut at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3).

Ten Wolverine newcomers have made their collegiate debuts this season. The 2009 Michigan team boasts 13 newcomers; only four members of the squad have junior or senior eligibility.

Tauro! Tauro! Tauro! -- Junior Danielle Tauro has paced the Wolverines in as many appearances this season, claiming runner-up honors at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 18 two weeks after winning the season-opening Michigan Open on Sept. 4. 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 six top-10 finishes in her collegiate career.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Mike McGuire is in 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.

Despite its success at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3), Michigan dropped several spots to the No. 23 position in the latest NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Oct. 13) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. One of seven Big Ten Conference schools featured in the rankings, U-M also owns the top spot among the Great Lakes Region.

USTFCCCA Women's Division I Cross Country National Poll
Ranking Team Region/Rank Totals Previous
1. Washington West-1 360 1
2. Villanova Mid-Atlantic-1 347 5
3. West Virginia Mid-Atlantic-2 33- 4
4. Oregon West-2 327 2
5. Princeton Mid-Atlantic-3 312 6
6. Stanford West-3 293 7
7. Iowa State Midwest-1 289 8
8. Minnesota Midwest-2 261 9
9. Florida South-1 260 15
10. Virginia Southeast-1 223 19
11. Florida State South-2 207 3
12. Baylor South Central-1 203 14
13. Georgetown Mid-Atlantic-4 199 11
14. Duke Southeast-2 197 29
15. Syracuse Northeast-1 191 21
16. Penn State Mid-Atlantic-5 183 22
17. Arizona State West-4 162 13
18. Illinois Midwest-3 154 10
19. Colorado Mountain-1 133 20
20. Texas Tech Mountain-2 126 30
21. New Mexico Mountain-3 133 25
22. BYU Mountain-4 112 23
23. MICHIGAN Great Lakes-1 106 17
24. Michigan State Great Lakes-2 97 18
25. Providence Northeast-2 95 12
26. SMU South Central-2 70 NR
27. Northern Arizona Mountain-5 55 16
28. Wisconsin Great Lakes-3 35 26
29. Iowa Midwest-4 33 NR
30. Notre Dame Great Lakes-4 20 24

Friday, Oct. 23 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 1 -- at Big Ten Championships (State College, Pa.), 11:30 a.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423