Toeing the Line #7: Wolverines Ready for Regionals at Wisconsin
MGOBLUE Erin Finn
MGOBLUE
Erin Finn
MGOBLUE

Nov. 12, 2013

• Feature: The Team Behind the Team

THIS WEEK
Friday, Nov. 15 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), 1:15 p.m. CST

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Race Day Information: Championship Central

The 2011 and 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional champion and 14th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will continue on into the championship season looking to defend its regional title at the University of Wisconsin on Friday (Nov. 15). This year's NCAA Great Lakes Regional women's 6K race is slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. CST following the men's 10K event at noon CST at Zimmer Championship Course.

Roundtrip spectator shuttles are available for $5 from Blackhawk Church, which is located five miles north of Zimmer Course. [ More Information ]

Athletes in Action: Erin Finn, Brook Handler, Alex Leptich, Taylor Manett, Shannon Osika, Anna Pasternak, Megan Weschler

WOLVERINE BITES

• Michigan captured back-to-back NCAA Great Lakes Regional titles in 2011 and 2012 to give the program nine total regional crowns. The Wolverines went 4-7-8-9-13 a year ago to win with 41 total points -- 36 points ahead of second-place Michigan State.

Shannon Osika (8th), Brook Handler (13th) and Taylor Manett (47th) were members of Michigan's regional-winning squad in 2012 and will return to help the Wolverines try to defend their title for the third straight year.

• Michigan returns two of its five All-Great Lakes Region performers from a year ago, including Shannon Osika (8th) and Brook Handler (13th). The top 25 finishers earn all-region recognition.

• There will be four nationally ranked programs at the regional meet, including No. 6 Michigan State, No. 9 Butler, No. 14 Michigan and No. 21 Notre Dame. The four nationally ranked teams also occupy the top four spots in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region poll in the same order.

• There are six Big Ten teams in the Great Lakes Region, five of which are ranked among the top seven in the USTFCCCA regional poll. The conference teams in the region include No. 1 Michigan State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Indiana, No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 12 Purdue.

• Michigan (2008, '11, '12), Michigan State (2010) and Notre Dame (2009) have combined to win the last five regional titles.

• With 30 teams in the Great Lakes Region and each squad consisting of seven runners, the regional field will be made up of a little more than 200 student-athletes.

• The top two teams at each of the nine regionals around the country earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships (Nov. 23), while another 13 receive at-large bids based on their regular-season and postseason performances. Michigan has qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of the last two seasons, earning an at-large bid in 2011 after finishing third at the Big Ten Championships and Great Lakes Regional and grabbing one of two automatic spots last season with its first-place finish at regionals.

• Michigan has won nine NCAA Great Lakes Region titles in program history (1982, 1993, '94, '95, 2004, '05, '08, '11, '12).

• Six different Wolverines have won seven individual NCAA Great Lakes Region titles. Danielle Tauro was the last U-M runner to win the event in 2011, leading the Maize and Blue to the team title as well.

• Head coach Mike McGuire has been named Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year on seven occasions (1992, '93, '94, 2004, '05, '11, '12).

• Michigan has never finished lower than fourth place at the Great Lakes Regional (with the exception of its seventh-place finish in 2001) during Mike McGuire's tenure, earning first or second place in 16 of the 21 seasons.

• Sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) competed in her first race in more than nine weeks at the Big Ten Championships after overcoming an injury. She finished as U-M's third scorer in 11th place to earn All-Big Ten second team honors for the second straight season.

• With its runner-up performance at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 3), Michigan remained No. 14 in the most-recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Cross Country Coaches' Poll, which was announced Nov. 5. U-M has remained in the top 30 for 99 straight polls dating back to the 2002 season -- U-M received votes in the preseason and first regular-season polls of 2002.

Taylor Pogue and Brook Handler were selected to represent Michigan as team captains for the 2013 season.

• Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) is the only true freshman competing in Michigan's lineup this year. The remainder of U-M's 11-person freshman class is redshirting the 2013 season.

2013 POSTSEASON RECAP

• Freshman Erin Finn won the individual Big Ten title, helping to lead Michigan to a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 3. She became just the third freshman to ever win the individual conference title.

Erin Finn is the seventh Wolverine in program history to win the Big Ten title and first since Erin Webster in 2006. Finn is also the first Michigan freshman to clinch the conference crown since Deanna Arnill in 1994.

Erin Finn earned All-Big Ten first team honors, while Megan Weschler (10th), Shannon Osika (11th) and Taylor Manett (14th) earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team. It marks the second straight year Osika earned the honor.

Erin Finn was named Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year on Nov. 6, after winning the Big Ten individual title. She became the first U-M student-athlete to be named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year since Erin Webster in 2006 and just the second Wolverine in program history to claim both Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year honors, joining Deanna Arnill (1994).

HEAD COACH MIKE McGUIRE
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 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. Under McGuire, Michigan has posted 18 top-two finishes 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

YearBig TenRegionalNCAA
20085th1st16th
20094th3rd27th
20102nd2nd22nd
20112nd1st15th
20121st1st5th

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Saturday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), 1:15 p.m.

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423