U of M Women -Seniors Lead Michigan to 18th-Place Finish at NCAA Championships

U of M Women -Seniors Lead Michigan to 18th-Place Finish at NCAA Championships

Provided by U of M

Site: Terre Haute, Ind. (LaVern Gibson Championship Course)

Meet: NCAA Championships (6,000 Meters)

U-M Team Finish: 18th Place of 31 Teams (474 points)

Top U-M Individual: Brook Handler, 89th (21:08.8)

Next U-M Event: Season Complete

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The No. 18-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team ran to an 18th-place finish today (Nov. 22) at the NCAA Championships in "Cross Country Town, USA", Terre Haute, Ind. The 6,000-meter women's championship race was hosted by Indiana State and was run on the Sycamores' LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

The first championship race of the day saw a quick pace out of the gate, with a pair of Michigan State Spartans among the leaders in Leah O'Connor and Rachel Schulist. Ultimately, Iona's Katie Avery beat the field by more than eight seconds to claim the individual title.

In a field of more than 250 athletes, the Wolverines were paced by senior co-captain Brook Handler's 89th-place finish. Fifth-year senior and fellow co-captain Megan Weschler placed 106th, crossing exactly six seconds later than Handler at 21:14.08, and senior/junior Anna Pasternak's time of 21:23.7 earned her 125th place.

In the first NCAA Championship action of her career, sophomore/freshman Jaimie Phelan placed 138th at 21:29.4. The Kitchener, Ontario, native was not alone in making her national final debut, as senior/junior Laura Addison (162nd) rounded out Michigan's scoring in her first NCAA Championships race with a time of 21:39.1, and sophomore/freshman Gina Sereno also made her first such appearance, finishing 200th. Junior Taylor Manett claimed 215th place to round out the Michigan finishers.

Team Standings (Top 10)

1. Michigan State 85

2. Iowa State 147

3. New Mexico 188

4. Georgetown 189

5. Arkansas 209

6. Oregon 249

7. Colorado 267

8. West Virginia 277

9. Iona 377

10. Wisconsin 382


18. MICHIGAN 474

Top 10 Individual Finishers

1. Kate Avery, Iona 19:31.6

2. Sarah Disanza, Wisconsin 19:39.9

3. Emma Bates, Boise State 19:44.5

4. Rachele Schulist, Michigan State 19:54.3

5. Rachel Johnson, Baylor 19:56.8

6. Dominique Scott, Arkansas 20:01.3

7. Crystal Nelson, Iowa State 20:08.5

8. Katy Moen, Iowa State 20:10.5

9. Shelby Houlihan, Arizona State 20:11.4

10. Chelsea Blaase, Tennessee 20:11.6

Michigan Finishers

89. Brook Handler 21:08.8

106. Megan Weschler 21:14.8

125. Anna Pasternak 21:23.7

138. Jaimie Phelan 21:29.4

162. Laura Addison 21:39.1

200. Gina Sereno 21:56.7

215. Taylor Manett 22:06.7


• Today's championship field featured 31 teams and more than 250 athletes, including 38 individual competitors. The 10,000-meter race was conducted at Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Cross Country Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind., making "Cross Country Town, USA" the host for the 11th time.

• U-M topped a pair of nationally ranked conference opponents with today's 18th-place finish, besting No. 20 Minnesota and No. 26 Ohio State.

• Brook Handler led the Wolverines in both championship races after teammates Shannon Osika and Erin Finn succumbed to injuries.

• Today marked the final race in the careers of fifth-year senior and senior co-captains Megan Weschler and Brook Handler.

• Both Handler and Weschler brought championship experience to today's race, in addition to Anna Pasternak, Taylor Manett and Alexandra Leptich. Jaimie Phelan, Laura Addison and Gina Sereno made their NCAA Championship debuts today.


• In the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2), U-M claimed third place with 93 points thanks to top-10 finishes from Shannon Osika (sixth) and Brook Handler (10th), earning the duo first and second team all-conference honors, respectively. U-M extended its streak of top-three finishes to five consecutive seasons, and eight of nine Wolverines that competed in the race set PRs at the 6,000-meter distance. Sophomore/freshmen Corinne Florie, Jaimie Phelan and Gina Sereno made their postseason debuts in the event, and Phelan recorded a top-25 finish. Overall, each of the top-16 finishers in the race broke the course record.

• At the NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Nov. 14), the Maize and Blue raced to a fourth-place finish with 137 points, led by all-region performances from Brook Handler (seventh) and Megan Weschler (22nd). Laura Addison made her postseason debut at the 6,000-meter event, placing 38th and becoming the one of four Wolverines to set a 6K personal record in the race. U-M continued its trend of top-four finishes at the regional to 22 of 23 seasons under Mike McGuire, and the performance helped seal U-M's at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.


Michigan Head Coach Mike McGuire

On the race as a whole ... "I thought we battled as best as we could. Megan Weschler did a nice job in her last collegiate race. This is it for her; she doesn't have track eligibility left. We had three girls in there who were racing for the first time at the national meet, and I thought Jaimie Phelan did a good job of moving up through the crowd. Laura Addison was solid once again for us, and Anna Pasternak did a nice job. Brook (Handler) kind of went backwards; we might have had too aggressive of a race plan for her in the first part of the race, but she still battled it out there. I commend them for hanging in together. We've had a lot of things come across our plate in the last four or five weeks. I think we'll grow from it, and we'd like to be back in the single digits."

On the careers of his senior co-captains: Brook Handler, Alex Leptich and Megan Weschler ... "They've all been contributors to what we feel has been a pretty good run over the last four or five years. I'm disappointed that we weren't able to close it out for them, at least in some form of being on par to what we thought we could do at the beginning of the season. They're good athletes and good people and we are grateful of what they've contributed to the program and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors, particularly for Wesch. This is her last race in uniform and we're definitely going to miss her."

U-M Senior Brook Handler

On how proud she is of her teammates ... "I'm really, really proud of us. We fought hard until the end, and we had five girls come in one after another today, which was what we needed. We didn't give up when things got hard, and although this wasn't the result we thought we were going to have at the beginning of the season, we gave it everything we could. We had seven girls out there that were ready to do everything they could to represent Michigan to the best of their abilities."

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard