U of M Women - Wolverines Finish Top-10 at NCAAs for Third Straight Season

U of M Women - Wolverines Finish Top-10 at NCAAs for Third Straight Season

Provided by U of M

11/18/2017 4:14:00 PM

// Kyle Terwillegar

Site: Louisville, Ky. (E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park)

Event: NCAA Championships

U-M Team Finish: 9th place of 31 teams (295 points)

Top U-M Individual: Jamie Morrissey, 22nd (20:01.5)

Next U-M Event: Season Complete

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Led by a pair of All-Americans, the No. 8 University of Michigan women's cross country team finished ninth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday (Nov. 18) for its third consecutive top-10 finish and its fifth in the past six seasons.

Redshirt seniors Jamie Morrissey and Gina Sereno took 22nd and 28th, respectively, as the Wolverines scored 295 points to place ninth in the 31-team race over the six-kilometer (3.73-mile) course at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.

Morrissey crossed the line in 20:01.3, followed shortly thereafter by Sereno in 20:05.2. Sophomore Madeline Trevisan and junior Claire Borchers packed up in 95th (20:39.9) and 98th (20:40.4), with redshirt senior Haley Meier rounding out the scoring lineup in 145th (21:03.4).

Junior Avery Evenson was 157th and redshirt senior Sophie Linn was 177th.

With the ninth-place finish, the Wolverines have now taken top-10 at nationals in five of the past six seasons and 16 times total in program history. Combined with the men's 10th-place finish, this marked the eighth time in program history both the U-M men and women took 10th or better in the same national championship meet.

" I thought we gave a great effort," head coach Mike McGuire said. "I'm really proud of Jamie Morrissey and Gina Sereno finishing their careers as individual All-Americans. They've set the tone for us all year. Jamie has just improved immeasurably from last year, and I thought we had really solid efforts across the board from everyone."

Only 31 points separated Michigan from sixth-place Boise State at 264, with Furman (271) and NC State (280) just ahead of it and Big Ten rival Wisconsin (318) just behind in 10th. The Wolverines topped Wisconsin for the highest finish among Big Ten teams in the field, followed by 15th-place Michigan State, 19th-place Minnesota and 24th-place Indiana.

New Mexico claimed the team title with 90 points, led by individual national champion Ednah Kurgat.

Michigan established itself in top-10 position early and held firm throughout the duration of the race. The Wolverines checked in seventh as they passed through two kilometers, fell to eighth by four kilometers and ultimately held on for ninth by meet's end.

Sereno set the tone early, venturing out with the leaders through the first two kilometers as she crossed that splitpoint in 14th place overall. She settled back to 27th by four kilometers and 28th by five, which is ultimately where she would stay.

With her top-forty finish, Sereno became just the eighth Wolverine in program history to earn two or more career cross country All-America honors. She joins three-time winners Molly McClimon, Erin Finn, Nicole Edwards and Rebecca Walter, and two-time honorees Pauline Arnill, Katie McGreogor and Katie (Clifford) Jazwinski.

Just as she did at the Pre-National Invitational two weekends, Morrissey powered through the final two kilometers of the course to secure her first career individual All-America honor as the top finisher for the Wolverines.

After falling back from 31st to 45th between the 2K and 4K splits, the redshirt senior made her move on what is the hilliest portion of the course. She picked off 16 runners by the time she crossed the 5K split, and seven more coming down the homestretch through the finish chute.

"I came onto this team as an 800-meter runner and to have my fifth year culminate in this All-America performance, just says a lot about coach McGuire's process and his program, and my teammates," Morrissey said. "I attribute everything that I have done and where I am today to them, I wouldn't be here without them."

Following up on her sensational freshman 46th-place finish, Trevisan posted another top-100 finish in 95th after running in the mid-60s for the middle portion of the race. She was bolstered in the late stages of the race by Borchers, who gained eight spots in the final kilometer to finish 98th -- a dramatic improvement on her 166th-place finish from a year ago as the Wolverines' No. 7 runner.

Meier also gained ground over the final kilometer, running down more than a dozen runners in the closing stages of the race.

With the cross country season now in the books, the indoor season now awaits the Wolverines. Michigan will kick off its 2018 campaign on Jan. 13, 2018, with the Wolverine Invitational, the inaugural home meet -- and the first of four home meets -- in the University's state-of-the-art new facility. The team's first practice in the new facility will take place on Monday, Nov. 27.