U of M Women - Wolverines Clinch 16th Straight NCAA Championship Berth with Great Lakes Title

U of M Women - Wolverines Clinch 16th Straight NCAA Championship Berth with Great Lakes Title

Provided by U of M

11/10/2017 3:49:00 PM

// Kyle Terwillegar

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

Event: NCAA Great Lakes Regional

U-M Team Finish:1st place of 31 teams (71 points)

Top U-M Individual: Gina Sereno, 2nd (20:38.9)

Next U-M Event: Friday, Nov. 18 -- at NCAA Cross Country Championships (Louisville, Ky.)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- For the 16th year in a row, the national No. 8-ranked University of Michigan women's cross country team clinched a berth to the NCAA Championships with a team title at the Great Lakes Regional at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Friday (Nov. 10), extending the nation's third-longest active streak.

Led by the redshirt senior duo of Gina Sereno and Jamie Morrissey in second- and third-places, the Wolverines captured their third consecutive NCAA Great Lakes team title and sixth in the past seven years.

Michigan toppled in-state rival No. 21 Michigan State, 71-87, with No. 17 Wisconsin third at 93 and No. 27 Eastern Michigan a distant fourth with 146. Indiana rounded out the top five with 148 points.

By virtue of finishing as one of the top two teams in the region, the Wolverines advanced automatically to next Saturday's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, for a chance to follow up on last year's one-point national runner-up finish to Oregon. Only Stanford and Michigan State currently carry longer qualifying streaks than Michigan.

Sereno and Morrissey led a group of four All-Region runners (top-25 finishers), and Michigan was the only team in the field to finish with five in the top 30. Junior Claire Borchers was 15th, sophomore Madeline Trevisan was 22nd and redshirt senior Haley Meier was 29th. Redshirt junior Avery Evenson was not too much farther behind as she took 33rd overall.

As they have all year long, Sereno and Morrissey led the squad as the top two runners, running even more in tune with one another than they have in any race before Friday. The duo was never more than a few steps apart from one another, and never far from the front of the chase pack behind breakaway winner Katherine Receveur of Indiana.

The pair broke away from the chase pack in the late stages of the race, ultimately finishing just as close to Receveur as to the peloton behind them. Sereno crossed first on the six-kilometer (3.73-mile) course in 20:38.9, with Morrissey right behind in 20:39.5.

Sereno significantly improved on her eighth-place finish at this meet a year ago, while Morrissey made a giant jump up from 21st. Morrissey's regional performance was the latest in a string of efforts that shows she is primed to step up from the No. 6 runner on last year's national runner-up team to a potential All-American.

Borchers made an equally big jump as she continued a breakthrough season of her own, running through the finish chute in 20:54.9 to go from 39th a year ago to 15th on Friday.

Trevisan is almost on pace with where she was at this point last year en route to a 46th-place national finish, as she finished 22nd for the second year in a row. The sophomore clocked in at 21:02.7.

Meier is rounding into form in what will be her first and final cross country season, stepping up to a 30th-place effort for her best showing of the year in 21:14.3 with a strong finishing kick.