Toeing the Line #7: U-M Looks to Defend Regional Title Friday
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MGOBLUE Amanda Eccleston
MGOBLUE
Amanda Eccleston
MGOBLUE

Nov. 7, 2012

THIS WEEK
Friday, Nov. 9
-- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), Noon CST

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Race Day Information: Meet Information

The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will continue the championship portion of its season at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, which will be hosted by Wisconsin on Friday (Nov. 9). The 6,000-meter race is set to start at noon CST, followed by the men's 10,000-meter event at 1:15 p.m. CST.

Wolverines in Action
Seven Wolverines will make up Michigan's regional squad -- Rebecca Addison, Amanda Eccleston, Brook Handler, Lindsey Hilton, Taylor Manett, Shannon Osika and Jillian Smith. The top five finishers will count toward U-M's team score and the top 25 overall finishers will earn All-Great Lakes Region honors.

WOLVERINE BITES

• Six of the 15 teams in the Great Lakes Region hail from the Big Ten Conference. Michigan is the top ranked team in the region heading into Friday's race and will be joined by No. 2 Michigan State, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 9 Indiana, and No. 12 Purdue.

• Four Great Lakes Region teams are currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I National Coaches poll, including No. 6 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 18 Toledo and No. 23 Notre Dame.

• Michigan won the Great Lakes Regional last year with four runners finishing in the top 10. Recent U-M graduate, Danielle Tauro (2008-11), won the individual title, earning Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year.

• The Wolverines return seniors Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith, as well as sophomore Brook Handler from last year's lineup. The trio finished second, fifth and 29th, respectively, in 2011. Addison and Smith each earned All-Great Lakes Region honors.

• Head coach Mike McGuire has been named Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year on six occasions (1992, '93, '94, 2004, '05, '11).

• Michigan has won eight NCAA Great Lakes Region titles in program history (1993, '94, '95, 2004, '05, '08, '11).

• U-M has never finished lower than fourth place at the Great Lakes Regional (with the exception of its 7th-place finish in 2001) during Mike McGuire's tenure, earning first or second place in 15 of the 20 seasons.

• After beginning the season at No. 12 in the USTFCCCA National Coaches Poll, the Wolverines continued to climb and are ranked sixth in the country in the most-recent poll, released Oct. 30.

• The Wolverines have been ranked No. 1 in each of the six USTFCCCA NCAA Great Lakes Region Coaches Polls this season.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Eccleston Amanda Eccleston
Fifth-Year Senior
Adrian, Mich.

On her transition to Michigan from Hillsdale College ... "It's been a really good transition. Athletically, I think the team has been amazing -- they have opened up and let me become a part of it right away. They've been great to run with and get to know. Academically, I think that I had a pretty good background, which has helped. It's challenging, but there are a lot of opportunities in the School of Public Health. I've had the chance to meet some great people and now I'm really trying to figure out what I want to do with my career."

On the team and Coach McGuire embracing her as an important member of the team ... "I think it's been a really great experience on both sides. Having Mike as a coach has been great. I've been shuffled through several coaches over the past couple of years, so it's nice to have one who has been in the program for a very long time. He's been really willing to work with me. I train a little bit differently -- I'm not able to handle quite as much intensity and he's been great about that. The girls have really helped push be in practice and have been a bunch of really great friends. It's been better than expected coming to Michigan."

On the biggest difference from the Division II to the Division I level ... "Definitely the level of competition at other meets. Not only did I come from the Division II level, but I was at a small school, so we didn't often get to these big meets. So going and finishing 20th or 30th hasn't really happened in a while, but it's great because it's pushing me to get better and race against these high caliber runners."

On winning a Big Ten title in her only cross country season at U-M ... "It was really exciting. I haven't been able to be part of a team that has really performed, team-wise, at such a high level. Being able to come in at the beginning of the season and see that this was something the girls had wanted and had been working toward the last four years really helped me see how important it is. It was very exciting to see all our hard work pay off in such a great way."

On what she's expecting from her first Division I regional and national meets ... "I think we're really looking for some great team placing. We're hoping to win again at regionals and then we're ranked really high nationally, so getting on the podium at nationals, in the top four places, is what we're aiming for. Personally, I just want to run the best I can to be able to contribute as much as possible. I'm really looking forward to ending my career well."

LAST TIME OUT
U-M captured its ninth Big Ten team title in program history at the conference championships on Sunday (Oct. 28) at Michigan State's Forest Akers Golf Course. The Wolverines' top five finishers each placed within the top 20 to tally 55 points. Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) led U-M, placing third to earn All-Big Ten first team honors. Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./[Tecumseh), senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) also joined Addison on the podium, earning All-Big Ten second team accolades for finishing within the top 14 runners.

UP NEXT
Saturday, Nov. 17 -- at NCAA Championships (Louisville, Ky.), Noon

   

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