U of M Women - Handler Places Seventh, Wolverines Finish Fourth at NCAA Regional

U of M Women - Handler Places Seventh, Wolverines Finish Fourth at NCAA Regional

Provided by U of M

Site: Madison, Wis. (Zimmer Championship Course)

Meet: NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships (6,000 Meters)

U-M Team Finish: 4th Place of 32 Teams (137 points)

Top U-M Individual: Brook Handler, 7th (20:08)

Next U-M Event: Saturday, Nov. 22 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), Noon

MADISON, Wis. -- The eighth-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team ran to a fourth-place finish today (Friday, Nov. 14) at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The Wolverines were led by their co-captains, senior Brook Handler and fifth-year senior Megan Weschler, who both picked up All-Great Lakes Region honors. The 6,000-meter event was hosted by the University of Wisconsin at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.

In a field of 219 athletes, Handler paced the Maize and Blue with her seventh-place finish, crossing the line at 20:08 to become the first of four Wolverines to best her previous 6K personal record. Handler's previous PR was set last two weekends ago at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2) in Iowa City, Iowa. Weschler picked up all-region honors with her 22nd-place finish, as she also bested her two-week-old 6K PR mark with a time of 20:40.

The race was controlled early by a pair of Michigan State runners -- Leah O'Connor and Rachele Schulist -- who both finished more than 10 seconds ahead of the field. Ultimately, MSU placed four in the top six to claim the team title with 28 points.

Finishing six seconds behind Weschler was sophomore/freshman Gina Sereno, who claimed 27th place in her first NCAA Great Lakes Regional action. In her first career championship-season race, senior/junior Laura Addison claimed 38th place with a time of 20:59.

Senior/junior Anna Pasternak rounded out Michigan's scoring five by crossing 43rd with a time of 21:03, followed by sophomore/freshman Jaimie Phelan, who made her postseason debut with Sereno at the conference meet, one second later in 45th place. Fifth-year senior Alexandra Leptich crossed the line 68th with a time of 21:36 as U-M's seventh finisher.

The 2014 season will conclude with the NCAA Championships next Saturday (Nov. 22) at Indiana State University's LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The Wolverines will learn their fate tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 15), as the team must receive an at-large bid to advance to the national meet.

Team Results (Top 10)

1. Michigan State 28

2. Wisconsin 82

3. Toledo 133


5. Ohio State 155

6. Notre Dame 195

7. Indiana 198

8. Eastern Michigan 202

9. Butler 210

10. Purdue 221

Top 10 Individual Finishers

1. Leah O'Connor, Michigan State 19:45

2. Rachele Schulist, Michigan State 19:45

3. Sarah Disanza, Wisconsin 19:58

4. Molly Seidel, Notre Dame 19:59

5. Julia Otwell, Michigan State 20:06

6. Lindsay Clark, Michigan State 20:07


8. Katie Borchers, Ohio State 20:11

9. Gabi Anzalone, Wisconsin 20:14

10. Victoria Voronko, Eastern Michigan 20:16

Other Michigan Finishers

22. Megan Weschler 20:40

27. Gina Sereno 20:46

38. Laura Addison 20:59

43. Anna Pasternak 21:03

45. Jaimie Phelan 21:04

68. Alexandra Leptich 21:36


• The top two teams at each of the nine regionals around the country earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships (Nov. 22). Based on today's results, Michigan State and Wisconsin earned those bids in the Great Lakes Regional.

• Michigan will hope to be one of 13 schools that will receive at-large bids based on their regular-season and postseason performances. The NCAA Championships field will be announced tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 15). Four individual competitors (whose teams are not already qualified for the NCAA Championships) will also receive at-large bids to Terre Haute, Indiana.

• Michigan has competed in the NCAA Championships each year since 2001. With an at-large bid tomorrow, the program's streak would extend to 14 consecutive NCAA appearances.

• Today's fourth-place finish means that the Wolverines have finished top-four in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in 22 of 23 seasons under head coach Mike McGuire. The last year U-M did not finish top-three before today's result was 2001.

• Brook Handler earned All-Great Lakes Region honors with her seventh-place showing, giving her three consecutive seasons of earning that distinction.

• Megan Weschler also picked up all-region recognition with her 22nd-place showing, the same placing she finished with in 2013, giving her back-to-back seasons of All-Great Lakes Region performances.

• Today's race marked the first NCAA Great Lakes Regional experience for Jaimie Phelan, Gina Sereno and Laura Addison. For Addison, today was her first championship race experience in a Michigan uniform.

• Brook Handler was among four Wolverines to set a 6K personal-best in today's race, with her time of 20:08. Additional PRs came from Megan Weschler (20:40), Gina Sereno (20:46) and Laura Addison (20:59).

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard