The Michigan men’s and women’s cross country teams faced off against some of the best teams in the Big Ten on Saturday at the Buckeye Preview. The women won their meet — out of 12 teams —  with a score of 41 points, while the men tied for second out of eight, with Grand Valley State with 69 points, losing only to Penn State.

Just a week after freshman Erika VanderLende came in fourth place at the John McNichols invite, youth was once again the focal point for the Wolverines. VanderLende won her first 6,000-meter race — the first time the women have raced that distance this season —  with a time of 20:17. Improving on her fourth-place finish at John McNichols last weekend.

“Erika was outstanding again, against a good crew of people in her first 6K ever, ” said Michigan women’s coach Mike McGuire.

The rest of the Michigan women had a strong outing as well. Junior Kathryn House came in sixth for the Wolverines at 20:55, followed by junior Maddy Trevisan in ninth, junior Micaela DeGenero in 11th, and junior Jena Metwalli in fourteenth. 

“Jenna Metwalli and Micaela DeGenero had outstanding races,” McGuire said. “We were solid throughout.”

Winning shouldn’t come as a surprise for the Wolverines’ women. They’ve won the Big Ten three consecutive seasons and are expected to keep their title this season. The men’s team is looking to replicate the success of the women as they try and improve upon their fourth-place finish at the Big Ten meet last season. But for now, they remain a step behind.

Juniors Jacob Branch and Jacob Lee led the Michigan men, finishing in third and fourth place, respectively. Branch had the second-fastest time through the third and fifth kilometers of the race. They both finished strong as well, as Lee recorded the second-fastest time over the final three kilometers and Branch had the third fastest time. Branch and Lee were followed by sophomore Dominic Dimambro in 20th, freshman James Gedris in 26th, and freshman Colton Yesney who rounded out Michigan’s top five in 29th.

The Michigan men’s team held back its top lineup on Saturday — junior Isaac Harding,  sophomore Christian Hubaker, and All-American junior Jack Aho — and instead opted to go with a younger group.

Looking ahead, the women don’t race again until Oct. 19 at pre-nationals. McGuire said they’re going to use this time to ramp up training, but to also make sure they properly space out workouts.

As the women move into this training block, the men are already prepping for a short turnaround as they race at Notre Dame on Friday. This will be a good opportunity for the men to find their stride before the end of the regular season.

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