U of M - Women's Cross Country Impresses in 2017 Home Debut

U of M - Women's Cross Country Impresses in 2017 Home Debut

Provided by U of M

9/1/2017 1:10:00 PM

// Kyle Terwillegar

Site: Dexter, Mich. (Hudson Mills Metropark)

Event: Michigan Open

U-M Team Finish: Non-scoring

Top U-M Individual: Gina Sereno, 1st (17:00.5)

Next U-M Event: Saturday, Sept. 9 -- at Indiana State John McNichols Memorial (Terre Haute, Ind.)

DEXTER, Mich. -- Senior All-American Gina Sereno and the No. 3-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team showed at the Michigan Open on Friday (Sept. 1) they are ready to follow up their national runner-up finish from a year ago.

Sereno -- 30th at the NCAA Championships a year ago and a three-time Big Ten champion this past spring on the track -- took the individual victory on the five-kilometer (3.11-mile) course at Hudson Mills Metropark in 17:00.5 to lead the Wolverines in their non-scoring season debut against members of the Eastern Michigan program.

Following Sereno across the line were senior Jamie Morrissey (17:10.2), sophomore Madeline Trevisan (17:28.9), unattached first-year runner Camille Davre (17:30.6) and junior Claire Borchers (17:40.6).

"I thought it was a good, solid opener," head coach Mike McGuire said. "I think Gina did a great job of getting us started. I thought we moved up well, though obviously there's always work to do. We've got to shore a couple things up, but we just have to continue training. Overall, I'm pleased."

Sereno was the breakaway leader early in the race, with Morrissey separating herself from the chase pack shortly thereafter.

"It was really exciting to be back out on the cross country course after a week of training, so there was just a lot of energy from everyone," Sereno said after the race. "Personally, I felt really strong for the first mile with Jamie Morrissey running with me side-by-side. Going through to the second mile was definitely challenging, and going into the season that was the part of my race I want to work on. I felt like I had a strong finish and was very happy with it overall."

Running in cooler conditions than a year ago with temperatures in the 50s, Sereno chopped off exactly 50 seconds from her time on this course a year ago. Morrissey, who had a breakthrough season on the track this past year, likewise took a big chunk out of her performance from last season, crossing the line more than 40 seconds quicker.

"I'm in a much better place than I was last year at this race," said Morrissey, who is looking in good form to make a potential jump into Michigan's NCAA scoring lineup after finishing as the sixth Wolverine at nationals a year ago (five women per team score). "I'm a mid-distance runner in track so it's usually a big transition for me with my mileage and training with the help of my teammates, especially Gina. She got it going for us today; she has been there all summer training together along with the rest of our teammates.

"I'm really excited to get the season going. I'd say we have a really good crew this year. We obviously are going to miss Erin (Finn), but we have some girls who are really excited to fill her big shoes."

Eight Wolverines clocked times faster than 18 minutes, just one shy of last year's total -- though Avery Evenson crossed just over that threshold in 18:00.5 for ninth.

After the team returned from training camp less than 24 hours prior to race time, the Michigan Open served as an icebreaker to reacclimate the women to a competition setting. The Wolverines will face their first true competition of the year next Saturday (Sept. 9) as they head to Terre Haute, Indiana -- the site of last year's national runner-up finish -- for the Indiana State John McNichols Memorial.