Toeing the Line #4: NCAA Pre Nationals Ahead for U-M

Oct. 13, 2010

Saturday, Oct. 16 -- at NCAA Pre Nationals (Terre Haute, Ind.), 11:35 a.m.

The University of Michigan women's cross country team will send 12 runners to the 2010 Pre-National Invitational on Saturday (Oct.16) at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The 6,000-meter white race is slated for an 11:35 a.m. start.

The U-M lineup will feature sophomore Rebecca Addison, sophomore/freshman Monica Barnes, sophomore/freshman Courtney Clancy, 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 Jillian Smith and senior Danielle Tauro. Seven Wolverine competitors will compete in the white race, while the remaining five will run in the open event, scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start.

Among the ranked teams slated to appear at the Pre-National White Race are Colorado, Florida, Georgetown, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Stanford and Stony Brook, as well as Big Ten rivals Illinois, Northwestern and Wisconsin. For more information about 2010 Pre-Nationals, including a course maps, please visit

On his expectations for the NCAA Pre-Nationals ... "I think among the top 30 schools, about 23 of them are coming to Terre Haute this weekend, then they'll set it up like a prelim and balance out the fields. It's an opportunity to see some other Big Ten teams again as well as several other schools. I'm expecting it to be a little more competitive than the Wisconsin meet. The quality and depth in that Wisconsin meet was pretty good, and we'll see a similar situation this weekend. We didn't go to the meet last year, so it gives us a chance to preview the national course provided we advance through the regional. So, there are a lot of things we can try to get done. We're two weeks along in our training, so we hope our racing is reflective of the progress we've made in our training."

On the final tune-up for the Big Ten Championships ... "We can only run seven in the varsity race, so our eighth through 12th will be in the open race. It will give those kids an opportunity -- they'll be racing against everyone else's 8-12 runners -- to be up near the front of the pack. So, we want to see how they respond there, because obviously we have to make some decisions going into the Big Ten on who our nine are."

The Wolverines claimed fourth place (113 points) in its first scored meet of the 2010 season at the second annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 2 at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS) led the Maize and Blue squad to the finish line, clocking a personal-best time of 20:24.1 en route to sixth place -- her third top-10 showing of the season.

Tauro! Tauro! Tauro! -- Senior Danielle Tauro earned her fifth consecutive top-five finish -- dating back to last season -- with her sixth-place effort at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 2 and has paced the Wolverines to the finish line in each appearance this season. Tauro clocked a personal-best 20:24.1, shaving nearly 17 seconds off her previous 6,000-meter personal best, which she registered just two weeks earlier at the Spartan Invitational. After missing a majority of the 2009 season with injury, the Wolverine senior has twice lowered her personal standard this season, trimming more than 45 seconds from her best time entering the year.

Saving the Best -- For the second straight competitive race, Michigan boasted multiple personal-best performers as five of the Wolverines' top seven, including the first four across the line, established new standards at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Michigan's sophomore trio of Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional HS), Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) and Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS) claimed 17th, 21st and 34th place, respectively. Just two weeks after posting a personal best at the Spartan Invitational, Smith trimmed 36 seconds from her best time with a 20:41. Addison registered 20:46.3 to improve 37 seconds on her previous best, while Patterson shaved 25 seconds from her best with a 20:55 finish.

It was the first time in six years that Michigan's top five all ran under 21 minutes, dating back to the 2004 NCAA Great Lakes Regional -- an event the Wolverines won by 39 points. U-M claimed sixth place at the NCAA Championships nine days later.

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.

Following their fourth-place performance at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the Wolverines moved up a few spots to the No. 19 position in the latest NCAA Division I cross country poll, released last Tuesday (Oct. 5) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. One of five Big Ten Conference schools featured in the rankings, U-M also owns the second spot among the Great Lakes Region.

Saturday, Oct. 23 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 31 -- at Big Ten Championships (Madison, Wis.), 10:45 a.m. CT

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423