Oct. 22, 2013
The Team Behind the Team: Alumni Engagement
Friday, Oct. 25 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 4:30 p.m.
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The 14th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will compete at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich., for the second time this season on Friday (Oct. 25), as it wraps up the regular season at the EMU Fall Classic. The women's 5K race will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Athletes in Action: Nicola Hallenborg, Gina McNamara, Hailey Middlebrook, Megan Pearson, Heather Price, Brittany Robinson, Victoria Waidley
Michigan's Big Ten Championships squad will not be in action this weekend, as it prepares for the upcoming conference meet on Nov. 3 in West Lafayette, Ind. The meet will provide an opportunity for many of U-M's younger runners to gain valuable racing experience.
The Wolverines opened the season by hosting the Michigan Open at Hudson Mills Metropark on Aug. 30, where all seven runners who will be in action this weekend also competed. With the exception of Hailey Middlebrook, who did not finish the Michigan Open, the EMU Fall Classic will be an opportunity to showcase their progression on the 5,000-meter course.
Michigan has competed at Hudson Mills Metropark twice a year for the last seven seasons, running at the Michigan Open and EMU Fall Classic each year. The Wolverines have competed in the EMU Fall Classic each year dating back to 2002.
The EMU Fall Classic will mark the last regular-season meet of the season, as the Wolverines will begin the championship portion of their season on Nov. 3 with the Big Ten Championships, hosted by Purdue.
Michigan previewed the national championship course last weekend at NCAA Pre-Nationals, finishing sixth as a team. Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) was the Wolverines' top finisher for the first time in her career, placing 16th. She was the first Big Ten runner and second freshman to finish the 6K race in Terre Haute, Ind.
With its sixth-place performance at Pre-Nationals, Michigan remained No. 14 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Cross Country Coaches' Poll, which was announced today (Tuesday, Oct. 22). U-M has remained in the top 30 for 98 straight weeks dating back to the 2002 season; Michigan received votes in the preseason and first regular-season polls of 2002.
Senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) appeared in Michigan's top five for the first time in her career at NCAA Pre-Nationals. Leptich was the fifth scorer, placing 85th overall in 21:20.16. She has appeared in U-M's top seven on several occasions during the 2010 and 2013 seasons and missed the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to injury.
Taylor Pogue and Brook Handler were selected to represent Michigan as team captains for the 2013 season.
The Wolverines are under the guidance of 22nd-year head coach Mike McGuire, who earned his ninth Big Ten Coach of the Year and seventh Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honor in 2012.
The Wolverines returned 17 runners, including five from its 2012 Big Ten Championships squad. Brook Handler and sophomores Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and Taylor Manettreturn as U-M's core that helped lead the Wolverines to a fifth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
Michigan's 2013 roster includes 11 true freshmen, including 10 who have not competed in uniform yet this season. Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) made her collegiate debut at the Purdue Invitational (Sept. 13), finishing fourth with a 6K time of 21:31.1.
The Wolverines are coming off their best season since 2006, winning the program's ninth Big Ten title and second straight Great Lakes Regional crown, and capped the season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Shannon Osika returns as U-M's most decorated runner from a year ago, as she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and also earned All-Big Ten second team and All-Great Lakes Region honors. Taylor Pogue joined Osika on the All-Big Ten second team, while Brook Handler earned a spot on the All-Region squad.
In each of the last two seasons, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year has worn the Maize and Blue, with Taylor Pogue earning the honor in 2011 and Shannon Osika collecting the award in 2012.
Michigan's strength in 2012 was its tight split between its five scoring runners. U-M's five scorers posted a 31-second split at both the Big Ten Championships and Great Lakes Regional and split an incredible 22 seconds at the NCAA Championships, including a 12-second split between the top four scorers.
HEAD COACH MIKE McGUIRE
Under 22nd-year head coach Mike McGuire's guidance, the Wolverines have improved their postseason finishes at the Big Ten Championships, NCAA Great Lakes Regional and NCAA Championships each year since 2009. The team constructed its best season since 2006 last year, winning the Big Ten and Great Lakes Region titles and capped the season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
During McGuire's tenure, the Wolverines have won nine Big Ten titles and eight NCAA Regional crowns, winning both in 2012. In 2012, McGuire earned his ninth Big Ten and seventh Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honors. Under McGuire, Michigan has posted 17 top-two finishes in 21 seasons at the Big Ten Championships, 16 top-two finishes at NCAA Regionals and 10 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
Michigan's Recent Annual Results Under McGuire
Sunday, Nov. 3 -- at Big Ten Championships (West Lafayette, Ind.), 11:45 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 15 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), 1:15 p.m. CDT
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423