The Michigan women’s cross country team came into the NCAA Great Lakes Regional as a heavy favorite after winning the Big Ten Championship.
The Wolverines lived up to that expectation Friday, finishing first overall – outracing second-place Michigan State by 16 points. It was Michigan’s third consecutive regional win and sixth in the past seven years.
“It feels pretty good,” said Michigan coach Mike McGuire. “It’s a nice reward for the hard work the women have put in this year and a continuation of a nice legacy established in the past.”
The first-place finish guarantees the Wolverines an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships next week in Louisville, Ky. It will be Michigan’s 16th appearance in the championships – the third-longest qualifying streak in the nation.
Fifth-year seniors Gina Sereno and Jamie Morrissey led the Wolverines in the regional, finishing second and third, respectively. Morrisey improved her time from last year significantly, jumping up 18 spots from 21st place.
“They’ve had an outstanding year,” McGuire said. “Jamie really has stepped up her game, running at the highest level she has ever been. Gina has just been a tremendous, steady force for the last several years, so you know, it’s definitely nice having a two-headed attack to get started.”
The pair was never far behind Indiana runner Katherine Receveur, who finished first overall. Receveur was unsuccessful in carrying fifth-place Indiana to a qualifying spot at next week’s nationals.
Michigan was the only team to finish with five runners in the top 30 – a key factor toward its success. Junior Claire Borchers finished 15th overall, another steep improvement from her 39th – place finish a year ago. Sophomore Madeline Trevisan finished 22nd and fifth year senior Haley Meier finish 29th.
In terms of preparing for nationals next week, the Wolverines plan on continuing the routine that has worked well so far this season.
“There isn’t any magical workout that’s all (of a) sudden gonna change the world,” McGuire said. “I don’t see us improving our national ranking, but I don’t see us going backwards either. We’ll probably be eighth ranked nationally going in.”