Tauro's Win Anchors Wolverines to NCAA Regional Title

Tauro's Win Anchors Wolverines to NCAA Regional Title

Provided by U of M

Site: Ottawa Park Golf Course (Toledo, Ohio)
Meet: NCAA Great Lakes Regional (6,000 Meters)
U-M Finish: 1st Place of 33 Teams (45 points) 
Top U-M Individual: Danielle Tauro, 1st (20:27.9)
Next U-M Event: Monday, Nov. 21 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), 1 p.m.

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The 15th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team captured the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional title behind individual champion, fifth-year senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), on Saturday (Nov. 12) at Toledo's Ottawa Park Golf Course.

U-M secured the first, second, fifth, eighth and 29th spots individually to tally 45 points. The Wolverines were 32 points ahead of runner-up Michigan State, which topped U-M two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships. The win secured the Maize and Blue an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

Tauro and junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven HS) remained in the lead pack throughout the duration of the race, finishing one-two in times of 20:27.9 and 20:34.8, respectively.

The two paired up early in the race and led the pack along with Wisconsin's Caitlin Comfort and Michigan State's Sara Kroll. In the last 500 meters, Tauro pulled away from the back and Addison fought off Comfort and Kroll to cross the finish line back to back.

Junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and sophomore/freshman Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) also teamed up early in the race and stayed tight through 5,000 meters. Smith made a move down the stretch to take fifth in a personal-best 6k time of 20:39.8, while Pogue made a final push in the last 10 meters to jump ahead of Michigan State's Julia Otwell, finishing eighth in 20:44.3.

Tauro, Addison, Smith and Pogue each earned All-Great Lakes Region honors for finishing in the top 25.

In her Great Lakes Regional debut, freshman Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) was Michigan's fifth scorer, placing 29th in a personal-best 6,000-meter time of 21:22.9.

The Wolverines will conclude the season at the NCAA Championships on Monday, Nov. 21. The 6,000-meter event is set for a 12:58 p.m. start at Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

Team Standings (Top 10)

 1. MICHIGAN              45
2. Michigan State 77
3. Toledo 84
4. Wisconsin 91
5. Notre Dame 112
6. Ohio State 163
7. Indiana 191
8. Central Michigan 226
9. Dayton 343
10. Butler 354

Top 10 Individuals

 1. DANIELLE TAURO, U-M             20:27.9
3. Caitlin Comfort, Wisconsin 20:36.5
4. Sara Kroll, Michigan State 20:37.3
5. JILLIAN SMITH, U-M 20:39.8
6. Julie Accurso, Ohio 20:40.8
7. Emma Kertesz, Toledo 20:42.6
8. TAYLOR POGUE, U-M 20:44.3
9. Julia Otwell, Michigan State 20:44.4
10. Jessica Rydberg, Notre Dame 20:46.7

Other Michigan Finishes

29. Brook Handler, U-M              21:22.9
40. Mary Grace Pellegrini, U-M 21:37.2
68. Megan Weschler, U-M 22:05.1


• With the win, the Wolverines recorded their eighth Great Lakes Regional title in program history, seven of which have come during head coach Mike McGuire's tenure. Danielle Tauro was also a member of Michigan's last regional championship team in 2008.

• Michigan has earned a trip to the NCAA Championships in each of the last 10 years, dating back to 2002, including eight automatic bids.

• This marks the fourth All-Great Lakes Region honor for Tauro and third for Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith.

• Danielle Tauro is the sixth Wolverine to win the individual title at the Great Lakes Regional. The last U-M runner to achieve the feat was Nicole Edwards, who won back-to-back individuals titles in 2006 and 2007.


Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire 
On the team's winning performance ... "It's a good feeling. Obviously, we put a lot of energy into the Big Tens two weeks ago and that was a tough pill to swallow because we wanted to win it. We knew we had a great effort and once we got past that, we knew we had plenty of season ahead of us. Without question, this was our best collective effort today. I told Rebecca (Addison) and Danielle (Tauro) that we had a race strategy to win. To get one-two finishes is a pretty good start on things. Jillian (Smith) had her best race of the year and she did a great job racing with Taylor (Pogue). We sent Taylor out a little slower that we did at Big Tens, but she picked some people off at the end. Brook (Handler) did a much better job for her. The Big Ten wasn't her best performances, but she's an incredibly talented young lady, so we knew that we needed to get her another championship type meet and get her tested a little bit more and she stepped up with a scoring performance for us today."

On Danielle Tauro's individual title ... "I'm really proud of her. She could have graduated on time last year in four years and she opted to come back and obviously she's made great contributions to our team, beyond what she scores in meets. I'm definitely proud of her having the opportunity to win a regional title." 

U-M Fifth-Year Senior Danielle Tauro 
On the team working together during the race ... "I didn't think it was as deep up front, so I think it was easier for Rebecca (Addison) and I to find each other. I think it was really helpful because not only did we find each other earlier, but we made sure to stay with each other. At times I was hurting a little bit and at those times Becca was pushing more. If at any point I felt like I wanted to rest and someone else made a move, I always had my teammate there to cover that move. That was that much more motivation to cover it with her. We didn't let any gaps open up and we maintained out strength up in front the whole time. I know Jillian (Smith) and Taylor were working together just like we were, so it was really exciting. I think we learned how powerful it is to work in a team setting -- how much it really does help you individually and how much it really does hurt other people around you. It really does have a big psychological effect on you and other competitors. We really executed and used that to our advantage today."

On her individual win ... "It felt good, but then it also hurt really badly because I gave everything I had and I literally could not stand for about 30 minutes. That's what I wanted to do, I wanted to finish the race and leave everything I had out on the course. I was happy with my effort and my performance and happy with all my teammates. I'm really proud of everyone."

On looking forward to the NCAA Championships ... "I'm really glad that were able to execute and win by such a huge margin today. It feels like finally all the stars are aligned. I know that I'm going to give everything I have and I trust that all my teammates are going to give everything they have so we can really improve on our finish at nationals, so we can do better than we've done in the past. I think we have the people and the motivation. "