Wolverine Women Win at Great Lakes Regional
Provided by U of M
What You Need to Know
» Today's victory marks the 10th Great Lakes Regional title in U-M history, each of which has come under head coach Mike McGuire.
» Sophomore Erin Finn led the Wolverines once again, as she has in the last 11 consecutive scored meets in which she has competed, dating back to 2013.
» All five Wolverine scorers finished in the field's top 20, and six U-M athletes earned All-Great Lakes Region honors, the most since 2004.
• Complete Results PDF
Site: Madison, Wis. (Tom Zimmer Championships Course)
Meet: NCAA Great Lakes Regional
U-M Team Finish: 1st Place of 31 Teams (69 points)
Top U-M Individual: Erin Finn, 5th place (20:44.3)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Nov. 21 -- at NCAA Championships (Louisville, Ky.), Noon
MADISON, Wis. -- The seventh-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team captured the 10th regional crown in program history on Friday (Nov. 13) at the 6,000-meter NCAA Great Lakes Regional held at Tom Zimmer Championships Course. Six Wolverines garnered all-region honors, and U-M was paced by junior Erin Finn as the team took its fourth Great Lakes Region title in the last five seasons.
Finn set the pace for the race early, jumping out to a quick lead along with Notre Dame's one-two punch of ACC individual champion Molly Seidel and Anna Rohrer. Initially, Finn went with them, but the West Bloomfield, Michigan, smartly eased off the gas to front the chase pack, while the two Fighting Irish runners moved ahead.
Her decision paid off in a big way. Even though Seidel and Rohrer went on to cement a one-two finish, the third Notre Dame runner did not cross the line until all five scoring Wolverines had already done so. Finn's choice to stick closer to her teammates was a key factor in the team's win.
"There were some interesting dynamics in today's race," Finn later explained.
"Maybe they are really fit but (Seidel and Rohrer) pushed the pace hard for today being eight days out from Nationals. It seemed like their M.O. was to get out and get a hard race in while some other teams like us, knowing we were firm in our qualification, tried to be more calm and reserved and rested at this point."
Differing strategies aside, U-M got the job done, and showed encouraging signs leading into next week's NCAA meet.
"We were solid but not fantastic," said McGuire. "This is a step in the right direction after the Big Ten meet. We need to close better, looking at the last few minutes of the race, but today was definitely a big improvement."
It is an encouraging sign for U-M, to be sure, and for McGuire, who noted that this year's finish was reminiscent of what the team did in 2012 and 2013, when it took first place in the Great Lakes Region both years on the way to fifth and fourth-place finishes, respectively, at the NCAA Championships.
Harsh winds were a factor on the very flat course. When U-M came down the stretch for the final push, the elements pushed back.
"We lost a little ground going down the home stretch, but we had seven seconds between numbers two through five," said McGuire, "If we can keep things where everyone is together and finishing strong, we can be in good shape at nationals."
In order to overcome the Irish's impressive finish up front, the Wolverines needed a tight split between its remaining scorers, and that is just what they got, with runners two through five all finishing in the top 20. It was the veteran leadership that proved most important for the Wolverines this afternoon.
Fifth-year senior Anna Pasternak, now a member of four Great Lakes Regional championship teams, had never finished higher than 30th at this meet prior to today. She took 11th as Michigan's second scorer in a driven effort, less than five seconds ahead of senior Shannon Osika, who took 16th.
"Anna (Pasternak) was our highlight today," McGuire went on, "It was great to see her finish her five-year career with her first all-region honor. Our objective today was to get as many athletes as possible in that all-region category, and we finished with six. That is something to be proud of."
Junior Gina Sereno was not far behind. Initially among the lead chase group with Finn, Sereno finished 17th overall and crossed within seconds of Michigan's final scorer, junior/sophomore Jaimie Phelan (20th). In her regional debut, junior/sophomore Sophie Linn finished 25th and would have been a suitable fifth scorer for U-M, which had a 10-point cushion in the team standings.
After the race, Finn credited her 10-time Regional Champion coach with equipping the Wolverine Women with the tools they need to succeed on and off the course.
"Mike trains us to believe in ourselves and to be self-reliant," she said.
"You know that saying about giving a man a fish versus teaching the man to fish? I really think that's how Mike works -- he teaches us how to trust in ourselves and the process and to really learn how to be the best we can be on our own. That is something we can use that throughout college and in our careers after, whether they are in running or other future endeavors."
U-M gets right back to it next weekend, closing the season with the 2015 NCAA Championships. The meet will take place at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky, and is hosted by the University of Louisville. The gun is scheduled for noon next Sunday (Nov. 21).
Top 10 Team Finishers
1. MICHIGAN 69
2. Notre Dame 79
3. Michigan State 88
4. Wisconsin 138
5. Purdue 156
6. Eastern Michigan 216
7. Indiana 218
8. Ohio State 238
9. Bowling Green 306
10. Xavier (OHIO) 308
Top 10 Individual Finishers
1. Molly Seidel, Notre Dame 20:04.4
2. Anna Rohrer, Notre Dame 20:18.4
3. Alexis Wiersma, Mich. State 20:33.8
4. Shaelyn Sorensen, Wisconsin 20:37.9
5. ERIN FINN, U-M 20:44.3
6. Olivia Pratt, Butler 20:48.0
7. Hope Schmelzle, Purdue 20:48.9
8. Maria McDonald, Western Mich. 20:49.6
9. Alsu Bogdanova, Eastern Mich. 20:50.3
10. Shelby Jackson, Mich. State 20:51.1
Other U-M Finishers
11. Anna Pasternak 20:54.7
16. Shannon Osika 20:59.6
17. Gina Sereno 21:00.0
20. Jaimie Phelan 21:01.4
25. Sophie Linn 21:05.3
72. Rachel Barrett 22:04.0
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Communications Contact: Chad Shepard