U of M Women - Wolverines Post Perfect Score, Win McNichols Invitational

U of M Women - Wolverines Post Perfect Score, Win McNichols Invitational

Provided by U of M

Kyle Terwillegar

Site: Terre Haute, Ind. (LaVern Gibson Championship Course)

Event: Indiana State McNichols Invitational

U-M Team Finish: 1st place (15 points)

Top U-M Individual: Gina Sereno, 1st (17:18.6)

Next U-M Event: Saturday, Sept. 30 -- at Indiana Sam Bell Invitational (Bloomington, Ind.)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- If returning to the site of its one-point national runner-up team finish a year ago affected the national No. 3 University of Michigan women's cross country team, those effects did not reveal themselves Saturday morning (Sept. 9) as the Wolverines posted a perfect team score to win Indiana State's John McNichols Invitational.

Led through the five-kilometer (3.11-mile) LaVern Gibson Championship Course by senior Gina Sereno's second individual victory in as many weeks, the Wolverines swept the top five places in the standings and claimed 11 of the top 15 spots overall en route to their perfect score of 15 points.

Team scores are determined by the places earned by each of the top five runners. By virtue of her win, Sereno contributed just one point to Michigan's score, with second-place senior Jamie Morrissey, third-place sophomore Madeline Trevisan, fourth-place junior Claire Borchers and fifth-place senior Sophie Linn earning two, three, four and five points, respectively.

Behind Michigan in the standings was national No. 28 Louisville (No. 2 in the Southeast Region) with 49 points and regionally ranked host Indiana State (No. 14 in the Great Lakes) with 82.

Michigan's national-class depth was on full display Saturday morning, as the Wolverines had 13 women across the finish line prior to Louisville's fifth scorer finishing and 20 through the chute before Indiana State's fifth.

What the Wolverines showed in depth they matched in speed, putting in strong efforts in order to honor the memory of the meet's namesake John McNichols. The former Indiana State coach, a long-time former colleague of Michigan head coach Mike McGuire's who played a pivotal role in bringing the national cross country scene to Terre Haute, passed away unexpectedly in December of 2016.

"We made a couple of adjustments to the race plan from last week, and I thought we did a nice job of really staying together and navigating different parts of the course," McGuire said after the race.

Sereno broke the plane first in 17:18.6, more than 30 seconds faster than in her runner-up result in this race a year ago. She was one of nine Wolverines to crack the 18-minute barrier on the day, far exceeding the two (Erin Finn and Sereno) who did so in this same race in 2016.

For the second race in a row Morrissey came through 12 seconds behind Sereno in 17:30.2, followed closely by Trevisan in 17:32.0. Borchers and Linn came through together only 10 seconds later in 17:40.3 and 17:42.3, respectively.

Morrissey proved her runner-up finish last week is a trend that should continue throughout the season, as she cut 43 seconds off her time from a year ago and bettered her 2016 finish at this meet by four spots.

Linn nearly matched Morrissey's year-to-year improvement with a performance superior by 42 seconds, while Borchers was 26 seconds faster than a year ago.

Junior Avery Evenson (eighth, 17:51.5), senior Sarah Zieve (ninth, 17:52.4), senior Haley Meier (10th, 17:56.9) and junior Audrey Belf (11th, 17:59.7) also cracked 18 minutes, with junior Rachel Coleman coming up just shy in 18:01.4 for 13th.

Michigan will train through for two weekends ahead of its next competition on Sept. 30 at the Indiana Sam Bell Invitational, to be held on the same course in Bloomington, Indiana, that will play host to the Big Ten Championships (Oct. 29).

The Wolverines will return to this course for a six-kilometer (3.73-mile) race on Nov. 10 for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional with a 16th consecutive berth to the NCAA Cross Country Championships on the line. Michigan currently holds the third-longest active qualifying streak in the nation.