With only one race remaining before the Big Ten Championships, the Michigan women’s cross country team had some ground to cover.

The Wolverines traveled to Terre Haute, Ind. on Saturday for the NCAA Pre-Nationals, this season’s largest collegiate cross-country meet.

The NCAA Championship will also be held in Terre Haute, at Indiana State, so this race gave the runners a chance to see the competition’s course.

Michigan earned a seventh-place finish out of 40 teams in the white race, a 6,000-meter race with seven runners from each school. Georgetown took top honors with a 100-point meet score.

“I thought we ran okay today,” Michigan coach Mike McGuire said. “We didn’t have Kaitlyn Peale in the lineup, so we took a little bit of a hit not having her in there. I didn’t think we were as strong across the board, like we were at Wisconsin. We’ve got some things we have to show up a little bit.”

Senior Danielle Tauro led the Wolverines for the fourth time this season, finishing in 21st place with a time of 20:56.1. Tauro has finished her race in less than 21 minutes for three consecutive meets.

The Wolverines had a high bar set for them, as several members of the team set personal bests at the team’s previous meet, the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 2, but they just couldn’t reach that level this time.

“It wasn’t that everyone ran poorly, we were just a little bit off form today,” McGuire said of the meet.

All was not lost, however, as some of the runners did step up individually during the race.

“We got a really good race from Jill Smith as our number two runner,” McGuire said. “And I thought Lindsey Hilton did a really nice job as our fifth runner.”

Smith – a sophomore – was the second runner across the finish line for Michigan, taking 34th place with a time of 21:06.5.

Tauro and Smith, taking the one-two spots for the Wolverines, were also high school teammates.

Scoring the first team points of her Michigan career, sophomore Hilton was the fifth Wolverine to place, finishing 113th with a time of 21:35.5.

There was only a one-minute difference between Tauro and Hilton.

The Pre-Nationals invitational also includes an open-race, where each school enters four additional runners to experience the NCAA course.

“We’re running a lot of people in the open race that are very young, with not a lot of racing experience over the 6k distance,” McGuire said. “But I saw some pretty good things. I was really satisfied with what we did there.”

Redshirt sophomore Kourtney Moody took the top time for Michigan in the open-race, capturing 39th place with a time of 23:00.2. Redshirt freshman Monica Barnes finished 15 seconds behind her, taking 61st place.

The Wolverines’ regular season will draw to a close as they head down the road to the Eastern Michigan Fall Classic this Saturday.

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