Oct. 23, 2012
Sunday, Oct. 28 -- at Big Ten Championships (East Lansing, Mich.), 10:45 a.m.
The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will begin the postseason with the Big Ten Championships, which will be hosted by Michigan State on Sunday (Oct. 28). The 6,000-meter race is set to begin at 10:45 a.m., followed by the men's race at 11:45 a.m. at Forest Akers Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich.
Wolverines in Action
Nine Wolverines will make up Michigan's Big Ten squad -- Rebecca Addison, Amanda Eccleston, Brook Handler, Lindsey Hilton, Taylor Manett, Shannon Osika, Taylor Pogue, Jillian Smith and Megan Weschler.
Four Big Ten teams are ranked in the USTFCCCA national coaches poll heading into the conference meet, including No. 7 Michigan, No. 13 Penn State, No. 15 Michigan State and No. 25 Minnesota.
Michigan has finished runner-up to Michigan State in each of the last two years at the Big Ten Championships. The Spartans edged U-M by just six points at the 2011 conference meet.
Michigan returns two All-Big Ten harriers from last year's conference meet. Senior Rebecca Addison finished fourth last year to earn All-Big Ten first team honors, while fellow senior Jillian Smith took 11th to land a spot on the all-conference second team.
Six members of this year's Big Ten squad competed for the Wolverines at the 2011 conference meet -- Addison, sophomore Brook Handler, senior Lindsey Hilton, junior/sophomore Taylor Pogue, Smith and junior/sophomore Megan Weschler.
Addison, Hilton and Smith have each been a part of Michigan's Big Ten squad for the last three years.
U-M has won eight Big Ten titles in program history, all coming in a pair of streaks. The Wolverines captured three straight titles from 1992-94 during head coach Mike McGuire's first three years at the helm. From 2002-06, Michigan won five straight titles.
Michigan has never finished lower than fifth place at the Big Ten Championships during McGuire's tenure, earning first or second place in 16 of the 20 seasons.
After beginning the season at No. 12 in the USTFCCCA national coaches poll, the Wolverines continued to climb and are tied for seventh in the country in the most-recent poll, released Oct. 16.
The Wolverines remained No. 1 in the USTFCCCA NCAA Great Lakes Region Coaches Poll, released on Oct. 15. U-M has been the top team in the region in each of the five regular-season polls this season.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
| Lindsey Hilton
Rochester Hills, Mich.
On what she's learned from being a part of the Big Ten squad each year during her career ... "I think I've learned that we have to handle Big Tens like it's another meet. I think sometimes when it's such an important meet that has such an important outcome, we put it up on a pedestal. But that makes everyone more tense and stressed out, so it's best to treat it like another race, because that's what it is."
On what would it mean to win a Big Ten title ... "I would be so ecstatic if it happened. We've been building ever since my freshman year. I think that is the lowest that the program has been and it would mean everything, for the seniors especially, if we came out with a win. We've been here the whole time from bottom-up and it would be the epitome of what we've been trying to do the last four years."
On the depth of this year's travel squad ... "My freshman year, I traveled and there's no way that running those times that I would be on the Big Ten squad this year. That just shows how much our team has improved. It's been really exciting to see because our recruiting has been really good and Mike (McGuire) has said all four years that we have the right people, we just need the right people to do the right things. And I think it's going to happen this year. We can all rely on each other and that hasn't been the case in the past. We've all had to perform our best to get the outcome that we wanted. This year, I know we can rely on each other. It's nice to have your teammates backing you up."
On how team chemistry contributes to team success ... "We are all really good friends and I don't think that we would be able to get through the hard workouts that we do without each other. We know we all have each other's back and are all supporting each other. It's nice not to be competing with your teammates but working with your teammates to be competitive. We know how to push each other, but we also understand that we're all friends and we're not trying to take each other's spot and I think that's the most important thing."
On staying focused while not getting too nervous for big meets ... "It's something that you have to deal with as a cross country runner. Once you're on the line it's all or nothing. I think what's most important is to remind everybody that running is what we do every day. At Big Tens we're all going to be a little more tense and nervous, but it's really important to keep in mind that it's running and it's what we do. All we can do is do our best so we may as well take it for what it is."
LAST TIME OUT
Sophomore/freshman Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland) won her first collegiate individual title last Friday (Oct. 19) at the EMU Fall Classic, finishing the course in a personal-best 5,000-meter time of 17:49.3. Senior/junior Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac) finished a runner-up in the final race of her collegiate career, clocking a time of 18:04.2.
Friday, Nov. 9 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), Noon CDT
Saturday, Nov. 17 -- at NCAA Championships (Louisville, Ky.), Noon