U of M Women - Wolverines Secure Sixth at NCAAs Behind All-American Finn
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What You Need to Know
» Erin Finn became the seventh Wolverine in U-M history to earn multiple All-America honors, finishing 19th overall despite losing both shoes just after the 2K mark.
» With their sixth-place finish, the Wolverines earned their 12th top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships, including the 11th under head coach Mike McGuire.
» There was a 49-second split between Michigan's five scorers (19-53-90-100-120).
• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery
Site: E.P. Tom Sawyer Park (Louisville, Ky.)
Meet: NCAA Championships
U-M Team Finish: 6th Place of 31 Teams (264 points)
Top U-M Individual: Erin Finn, 19th place (20:10.2)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The sixth-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team held true to its national ranking, finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships under veteran head coach Mike McGuire on Saturday (Nov. 21). The Wolverines were led once again by junior Erin Finn, who earned All-America honors for the second time in her career. All five U-M scorers finished in the top 120 in a 49-second split in the 6,000-meter championship race at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park.
The sixth-place finish marks the 12th top-10 finish for Michigan at the national championships, including the 11th under McGuire.
"We went in ranked sixth and finished sixth," said McGuire. "I thought we were solid once again -- we needed to be a little bit better to get to the podium, and that as our goal, but by no means did we underperform."
The Wolverines started on the far left of the field in box one, and Finn got out hard to establish herself toward the front of the 254-runner field. At the 2K mark, Finn was in fourth place, hanging tough with the lead pack.
"I felt really good through the first 2K -- I was just trying to stay in the leaders pocket," said Finn. "Mike (McGuire) told me to focus on answering moves they made instead of marking the moves, and I was hoping to do that through at least 4K."
Just after the 2K mark, things took a turn for the worst for Finn, as she was clipped by a runner behind her, losing both shoes, one after the other. With more the 3,000 meters to go, Finn dug deep and continue to race tough, going another 50 meters in only her socks before losing those as well.
"A girl behind me clipped one shoe and in the next stride clipped the other shoe, and unfortunately she also got my socks, so within 50 meters both shoes were gone, and by the next K my socks were gone too. When it happened, three things went through my head -- 'you can drop out, you can go back and get your shoes or you can keep going.' It wasn't a tough decision -- I don't give up -- so from there I just tried to stay calm and find soft surfaces."
Despite running barefoot on several different surfaces, from wet grass to gravel, Finn dropped just 15 spots through the final 4K and crossed the line in 19th place at 20:10.2 to earn her second All-America citation (2013).
"This was a race where I gave everything I could," Finn added. "I think I could have raced much better and much faster if I had my shoes, but given these conditions, I ran as hard as I could, and that helps me hold my head up high. To still be an All-American on a rough day is good."
"I told her after the race that I'm as proud of her today as I have been after any other race," said McGuire. "This speaks volumes to the type of competitor she is. You talk about adversity taking over your environment, and she just fought back."
Senior Shannon Osika, who was in 109th place at the 2K mark, began to work her way through the pack steadily. With a strong kick down the final straightaway, Osika was able to finish 53rd overall in a time of 20:33.2, after picking off 56 runners in the final 4K.
In her second appearance at the national championships, junior Gina Sereno improved 110 spots from last season, crossing the line in 90th place at 20:47.2.
There was just a 12-second split between Michigan's third and fifth runners. Sereno was followed by junior/sophomore Jaimie Phelan (20:50.0) and fifth-year senior Anna Pasternak (20:59.3), who grabbed U-M's fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Phelan and Pasternak worked together for much of the race, and both made steady progress through the field over the final 3-4K. Phelan improved 63 spots over the last 4K of the race, while Pasternak passed 44 runners during that stretch.
Sophomore Sophie Linn (145th, 21:11.1) and junior/sophomore Jamie Morrissey (180th, 21:25.1) made their NCAA Championships debuts in Maize and Blue, securing Michigan's sixth and seventh positions.
Seniors Pasternak and Osika closed out their U-M cross country careers today, each having run at the NCAA meet three times in their careers. They each have one more season of indoor and outdoor track eligibility remaining.
"I'm proud of our two seniors," said McGuire. "Shannon (Osika) has meant a lot to this program over the years, and Anna has willed her way to be the runner she's become in her five years -- they've been a big part of our success over the past five years."
Michigan won all three scored regular-season meets and then finished their postseason run with a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships, a Great Lakes Region team title and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
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"We went through the whole season, losing to six teams all year, so our overall record was pretty good," McGuire reflected. "We came up a little short in the Big Ten meet, but we started the season ranked 12th, and we moved forward. We've been top six in three of the last four years, which speaks volumes to the type of the program we have, but we'll come out of this meet hungry for next year."
Top 10 Team Finishers
1. New Mexico 49
2. Colorado 129
3. Oregon 214
4. Providence 231
5. NC State 264
6. MICHIGAN 264
7. Oklahoma State 274
8. Notre Dame 276
9. Arkansas 276
10. Washington 297
Top 10 Individual Finishers
1. Molly Seidel, Notre Dame 19:28.6
2. Allie Ostrander, Boise State 19:33.6
3. Dominique Scott, Arkansas 19:40.9
4. Courtney Frerichs, New Mexico 19:48.0
5. Alice Wright, New Mexico 19:53.1
6. Anna Rohrer, Notre Dame 19:59.7
7. Allie Buchalski, Furman 20:02.6
8. Maddie Meyers, Washington 20:03.1
9. Brenna Peloquin, Boise State 20:04.3
10. Sharon Lokedi, Kansas 20:04.9
19. Erin Finn 20:10.2
53. Shannon Osika 20:33.2
90. Gina Sereno 20:47.2
100. Jaimie Phelan 20:50.0
120. Anna Pasternak 20:59.3
145. Sophie Linn 21:11.1
180. Jamie Morrissey 21:25.1
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard