U of M Women - Finn Sweeps Big Ten's Top Athlete and Freshman Honors

U of M Women - Finn Sweeps Big Ten's Top Athlete and Freshman Honors

Provided by U of M

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- After winning the individual Big Ten title and helping lead the 14th-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team to a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday (Nov. 3), freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) was named Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year, the conference announced on Wednesday (Nov. 6).

In her debut at the Big Ten Championships, Finn became just the third freshman to ever win the individual conference title. She 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.

"Obviously it's a great honor for Erin," said head coach Mike McGuire. "Honestly what I'm honored about is her reaction to the award. For someone to have the insight that she does about what her teammates contributed over the last eight weeks -- that means as much to me as her actually winning the race. That allows me to know that the processes within our program are right."

Finn is the first Michigan 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).

"Erin's credentials out of high school were on par or better than a lot of greats that we've had here at Michigan," said McGuire." On paper, we knew she was coming in ready to go, but I always say it's not decided on paper -- she earned that title."

With the help of Finn's dominating performance, where she won by more than eight seconds, Michigan finished in second place and has now placed in the top two at the Big Ten Championships in each of the last four years. In fact, Michigan has never finished lower than fifth place at the Big Ten Championships during McGuire's tenure, earning first or second place in 18 of his 22 seasons.

"Erin has what I call a 'big motor', and that's her ability to transport oxygen -- she's an aerobic beast," McGuire commented on Finn's ability. "She's got a great competitive nature to her and she really has good instinctive racing skills, which for someone 18 years old it's pretty amazing. She has a great future ahead of her and obviously a great future ahead of her is a boom for our program and hope that it will attract other high level student-athletes."

Michigan has collected each of the last three Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards, as senior/junior Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) earned co-honors in 2011, and sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) received the recognition last year.

Pogue was also named Michigan's 2013 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. One runner from each of the 12 Big Ten Conference institutions receives the award annually. The co-captain missed the conference championships due to a foot injury but has been an integral part of Michigan's success during the 2013 season, finishing as its top scorer in two races.

The Wolverines will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 15, when they travel to Madison, Wis., looking for their third consecutive NCAA Great Lakes Regional title. The women's 6,000-meter event is slated for a 1:15 CST start time at Zimmer Championship Course.

Contact: Whitney Dixon