Last weekend, the No. 14 Michigan women’s cross country team was mired in disappointment, finishing fifth at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis.
This weekend, though, was a different story.
With the whole team healthy again after a series of illnesses, the Wolverines easily defeated their competition at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky. The meet consisted of 36 teams from different divisions of both the United States and Canada.
Senior Erin Finn led the pack from the gate to the finish line, coming in first place at the event with a time of 16:26.70. The time set a course record and was almost 24 seconds faster than the runner-up’s finishing time.
The Wolverines had another top-10 finisher in redshirt junior Gina Sereno, who came in fifth with a time of 16:55.8. Redshirt junior Jamie Morrissey, junior Avery Evenson and redshirt junior Jaimie Phelan rounded off the scorers for Michigan in 14th place, 18th place and 20th place, respectively. Overall, the Wolverines finished with 58 points. Following Michigan was Guelph University. The Gryphons finished with 153 points, nearly three times the Wolverines’ total.
“We had seen people inside a minute of Erin (Finn), which I thought was pretty good with Erin setting a course record,” said Michigan coach Mike McGuire. “I thought everybody really had good races.”
Along with having a healthy team again, the Wolverines were aided by a return to a 5K race length. The tournament last weekend was a 6K race, which threw off the Michigan runners.
“The 6K can create a different set of dynamics, though it shouldn’t,” McGuire said. “We’re trying to be as proficient in the 6K as we are in the 5K.”
The Wolverines were also helped by a familiar course. Michigan competed at this course three times prior in the past two seasons, including at the 2015 NCAA Championships. McGuire suggested that the familiarity with the course could have helped the runners.
With September over and the NCAA championship meet only a month and a half away, the Wolverines will begin to increase their training regimen. The team doesn’t have a meet next weekend, but McGuire believes with training it will be able to continue upon their results and momentum from this weekend.
“We’re definitely just at a different intensity level now as we get into October,” McGuire said. “We tried to hit a lot of singles and doubles in September; now we have to hit a few over the fence in preparation.”