Toeing the Line #8: U-M Looks for NCAA Bid at Great Lakes Regional

Nov. 10, 2009

Saturday, Nov. 14 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Bloomington, Ind.), 1:15 p.m.
Meet Sites: NCAA | Indiana

The No. 23-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will resume competition at the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Saturday (Nov. 14) in Bloomington, Ind. Hosted by Indiana University, the 6,000-meter women's race is slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. at the IU Championship Cross Country Course.

The Wolverines' NCAA Regional lineup will include freshman Rebecca Addison, freshman Lindsey Hilton, freshman Kaitlyn Patterson, junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale, senior/junior Rachel Severin, freshman Jillian Smith, senior/junior Rachel White.

Scouting the Field at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional
Thirty-four teams will compete at the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, including Big Ten rivals No. 26 Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The top two teams and top four individuals who are not members of the top two teams (providing they finish in the top 25) will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. On Sunday (Nov. 15), the NCAA will select 13 at-large teams and two at-large individuals from the NCAA's nine regions. Thirty-one teams and 38 individuals will qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships.


Kaitlyn Peale, Junior/Sophomore
Junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington HS)has continued to establish herself as Michigan's top performer down the final stretch of the season, most recently claiming fourth-place honors at the Big Ten Championships to earn her first career All-Big Ten first team nod. Peale has paced the U-M squad in each of her last three outings and boasts five top-10 finishes in as many appearances this season.

Michigan earned an automatic ticket to the NCAA Championships by virtue of capturing the team trophy at last season's NCAA Great Lakes Regional in West Lafayette, Ind. With 72 points in team scoring, the Wolverines edged out second-place Wisconsin by eight points. All five U-M scorers placed among the event's top-22 individual finishers, headlined by Nicole Edwards' second-place performance (20:57.4). Jennifer Morgan posted her best performance of the season, finishing 11th in 21:32.0 despite losing her right shoe in the muddy conditions, while Danielle Tauro, Geena Gall and Kelly Sampson placed 16th, 21st and 22nd, respectively. The performance marked Michigan's sixth NCAA Regional win in program history and third since 2004.

The Wolverines claimed the top two spots and five of the top-10 individual finishers, including two runners who competed unattached, in its final postseason tuneup at the Toledo Rocket Open last Friday (Nov. 6). Sophomore Mary Grace Pellegrini (Louisville, Ky./DuPont Manuel HS) paced the U-M squad for the first time in her career, capturing her first collegiate cross country victory with a personal-best time of 17:43 -- a 32-second improvement on her previous best. The effort was Pellegrini's third top-10 finish of the season -- and fifth of her career -- and marked the third individual win by a Wolverine runner this year.

High Five -- Adding the Wolverines' fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 1), the Michigan women's cross country program boasts 36 top-five performances in its last 41 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 -- Amidst a breakout campaign, junior/sophomore Kaitlyn Peale already boasts five top-10 finishes in as many appearances this season. Most recently, she claimed fourth place at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 1), earning her first career All-Big Ten first team selection. One week earlier, she took home Big Ten Runner of the Week accolades after capturing her first collegiate cross country victory at the EMU Fall Classic (Oct. 23) with a time of 17:24. The time was the second quickest of her career. In her previous appearance, Peale claimed fourth-place honors at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3), clocking 17:11.3 as Michigan's top finisher -- a mark that shaved 50 seconds from her previous career-best 5,000-meter time. She claimed seventh place in her 6,000-meter debut at the Spartan Invitational (Sept. 18), clocking 21:47 as Michigan's second runner across the line, and took fourth place at the season-opening Michigan Open (Sept. 5).

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 three top-10 showings this season, including a runner-up finish at the EMU Fall Classic (Oct. 23), while Smith and Addison claimed second and seventh, respectively, at the season-opening Michigan Open (Sept. 5). The trio crossed the line as U-M's second, third and fourth runners in both scored meets this season.

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.

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.

The Wolverines dropped a spot, falling to the No. 23 position in the most recent NCAA Division I cross country poll, released last Tuesday (Nov. 3) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. One of six 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-1 357 1
2. Villanova Mid-Atlantic-1 350 2
3. Florida South-1 322 5
4. Princeton Mid-Atlantic-2 312 7
5. Oregon West-2 308 8
6. Colorado Mountain-1 290 3
7. West Virginia Mid-Atlantic-3 290 4
8. Texas Tech Mountain-2 286 14
9. Florida State South-2 279 6
10. Syracuse Northeast-1 237 10
11. Penn State Mid-Atlantic-4 232 18
12. Georgetown Mid-Atlantic-5 214 9
13. Illinois Midwest-1 206 13
14. Stanford West-3 200 12
15. Duke Southeast-1 192 16
16. Arizona State West-4 184 NR
17. Minnesota Midwest-2 180 15
18. Iowa State Midwest-3 169 19
19. Virginia Southeast-2 140 11
20. New Mexico Mountain-3 129 20
21. Providence Northeast-2 104 24
22. BYU Mountain-4 100 21
23. MICHIGAN Great Lakes-1 97 22
24. Arizona West-5 87 17
25. SMY South Central-1 74 NR
26. Michigan State Great Lakes-2 53 27
27. California West-5 45 NR
28. Arkansas South Central-2 33 29
29. Tennessee South-3 27 NR
30. Iowa Midwest-4 22 23

Monday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), 1 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423