Friday, one week after bringing home the Big Ten championship, the Michigan women’s cross country team ran its way to its 11th win in the Great Lakes Regional, all of which have been under the instruction of coach Mike McGuire.
The win marks the Wolverines’ second straight regional title, adding to an already impressive year.
“It feels good,” McGuire said. “(The win) validated our Big Ten performance with a solid race again today.”
The Wolverines finished first out of 32 teams in the tournament with 61 points, 30 points ahead of second-place Notre Dame. Host Wisconsin and Michigan State each tied for third place with 97 points each.
Beyond winning the tournament as a team, senior Erin Finn won the individual competition, becoming the first Michigan runner to do so since 2011. Finn clocked in at 19:27.5 in the 6,000-meter race, just beating Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer, who finished with a time of 19:35.7.
Finn has had an illustrious college career as a three-time individual Big Ten champion, two-time All-American, and a three-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year. But this season may end up being her best.
“I’m just more prepared than I’ve ever been,” Finn said, “I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, I’m smarter than I’ve ever been."
McGuire also praised Finn, saying that she has “done a great job” this season.
Two other Wolverines, juniors Gina Sereno and Avery Evenson, also finished in the top 10, with times of 20:15.5 and 20:19.1, respectively. In addition to Finn’s performance, Sereno and Evenson were essential in winning the race for Michigan. Juniors Jamie Morrissey and Jaimie Phelan, along with sophomore Claire Borchers and freshman Madeline Trevisan, also contributed to the Wolverines’ win.
With the cross country team riding high on momentum and working well as a collective team, it is now focused on preparing for next week’s NCAA Championship.
“It’s the pinnacle of racing,” McGuire said. “We’re just looking to embrace it."
The Wolverines have little time to rest before Saturday’s championships, but the team does not plan to change anything from its winning formula.
“It’s been working so far, so we’re not going to change it too much,” Finn said. “(We want to) get excited, but not too excited too early.”
Despite wanting to keep calm ahead of the tournament, Finn could not help but express some excitement over next week’s championships.
“It’s really exciting,” Finn said. “We wanted to keep the momentum rolling. We’re excited heading into nationals, and we’re confident we can do big things there.”