Toeing the Line #8: Wolverines to Close Season at NCAAs
MGOBLUE From left: Brook Handler, Taylor Manett and Shannon Osika
MGOBLUE
From left: Brook Handler, Taylor Manett and Shannon Osika
MGOBLUE

Nov. 19, 2013

Event Preview video icon | Shannon Osika Q&A

THIS WEEK
Saturday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), 1:15 p.m.
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• Race Day: USTFCCCA Championship Central | NCAA Championship Central

Coming off its third straight NCAA Great Lakes Regional title, the eighth-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team will conclude the championship season at the NCAA Championships on Saturday (Nov. 23). This year's national meet will return to Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 10th time and first since 2011. The women's 6K race is slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. following the men's 10K event at noon.

A live webcast of the national championships will be streamed on NCAA.com.

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

WOLVERINE BITES

• The championship field features 31 teams, including the top two teams from each of the nine regions around the country as well as 13 additional teams that earned an at-large bid. An additional 38 runners also qualified individually by recording the four highest finishes on teams that did not qualify at their respective regional meet. [ Championship Field ]

• Michigan earned its 12th straight berth to the NCAA Championships after winning the NCAA Great Lakes Regional last weekend. The Wolverines have automatically qualified in each of the last four years, winning the regional the last three years (2011-13) and placing second in 2010.

• The NCAA Championships return to "Cross Country Town, USA" for the 10th time and first since 2011 after being hosted by the University of Louisville a year ago. Terre Haute, Ind., was first home to the national event in 2002 and was again awarded the meet from 2004-11.

• There are six Big Ten teams in the women's NCAA Championships field, including No. 8 Michigan, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 22 Penn State, No. 28 Wisconsin and Indiana (RV).

• The top 40 individual finishers at the NCAA Championships earn All-America honors. Michigan's last All-American was Kaitlyn Peale in 2009.

• Michigan previewed the 6,000-meter NCAA Championship course at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet on Oct. 19, when it finished sixth in a field of 49 teams, 13 of which were nationally ranked at the time. Freshman Erin Finn hit her stride in that meet, finishing as U-M's first scorer and has been the Wolverines' top finisher in each race since.

• Current Wolverines Brook Handler (75th), Shannon Osika (119th) and Taylor Manett (169th) were members of Michigan's NCAA Championships squad a year ago that recorded the program's best finish (5th, 247 points) since 2006 (3rd).

• At last year's NCAA Championships Michigan was the only team to place in the top seven without an All-America finisher. Jillian Smith was U-M's top finisher in 52nd place, but the team's 22-second split between its first and fifth runners and narrow 12-second gap between its first and fourth scorers was the key to its success.

• Michigan has recorded 11 top-10 finishes in program history, 10 of which have come during head coach Mike McGuire's tenure.

• Katie McGregor, who is set to be inducted into Michigan's Hall of Honor in mid-February, is U-M's only individual NCAA champion, having won the title in 1998.

• With its winning performance at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Nov. 15), Michigan jumped six spots to No. 8 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. 18. U-M has remained in the top 30 for 100 straight polls dating back to the 2002 season -- U-M received votes in the preseason and first regular-season polls of 2002.

• Defending champions Oregon is ranked No. 17 heading into the national championships. Big East champion Providence, which last won the national title in 1995, owns the top national ranking.

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

• Freshman Erin Finn 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

NCAA Great Lakes Regional
• Michigan, which was ranked No. 14 at the time, bounced back from its runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships to win the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 15, topping then-No. 6 Michigan State and No. 9 Butler. Both teams had beaten the Wolverines earlier in the season, with the Spartans winning the Big Ten title and the Bulldogs finishing three spots ahead of U-M at the NCAA Pre-Nationals (Oct. 19).

Erin Finn (2nd), Shannon Osika (6th), Brook Handler (7th), Taylor Manett (11th) and Megan Weschler (22nd) each earned All-Great Lakes Region honor for their top-25 performances.

• Head coach Mike McGuire received his eighth NCAA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honor on Tuesday (Nov. 19) after leading U-M to its third straight regional title (1992, '93, '94, 2004, '05, '11, '12, '13).

Big Ten Championships
• Freshman Erin Finn won the individual conference 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. She 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 in 2012 and eighth Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honor in 2013. 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 nine NCAA Regional crowns, winning both in 2012, as well as the regional title in 2013. Under McGuire, Michigan has posted 18 top-two finishes at the Big Ten Championships, 17 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
20132nd1stTBD

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423