Michigan coach Mike McGuire said Sunday was a good day for the cross country team.

It was a good day because the No. 19 Michigan women finished second at the Big Ten Championship in Champaign, Ill, just six points behind rival Michigan State.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t come out on top, but I thought we competed hard,” McGuire said. “I thought we actually had our best race of the year.”

Four of nine Wolverines captured All-Big Ten honors, two of which finished in the top-10. Senior Danielle Tauro and junior Rebecca Addison were third and fourth, respectively. Junior Jillian Smith, redshirt freshman Taylor Pogue, and senior Mary Grace Pellegrini rounded out the top-five runners for the Wolverines.

McGuire was pleased with these top five finishers. He knew Michigan State was the favorite, and he wanted at least one Michigan runner ahead of the Spartans’ top runner, so he was encouraged by the fact the Wolverines had two.

Five runners score in cross country, though, and Michigan State’s other runners came out stronger than McGuire predicted. He was pleased with the first four Wolverines who finished, and said the entire team did a good job competing.

Tauro was also pleased with how the Wolverines ran. She complimented all of her teammates on great races and was enthusiastic on the team’s overall performance.

“We wanted to win the team title, and we came up a little short,” Tauro said. “It was really sad and disappointing, but we ran the best that we could, and I’m really proud of everyone. You can’t really ask for anything more than that; Michigan State just had a better day.”

Both Tauro and McGuire think the Wolverines are in good position moving deeper into the postseason. Up next for Michigan is NCAA Regionals in two weeks, then the NCAA National Championships further down the road.

“We’re letting this (second-place finish) serve as motivation for us going into regionals and nationals,” Tauro said. “We’re gonna see (Michigan State) again. We still think that it was so close, and we still know we’re capable of beating Michigan State; we’re capable of winning regionals — that’s gonna be our goal.

“We want to get top two, at least, because that will solidify our place in the national championships. But ultimately our goal for regionals is to win the team title.”

McGuire said the team will focus recovering mentally from this close loss, but will move forward from it and keep training for regionals and nationals.

The Wolverines have just a few more intense workouts left until NCAA Regionals, which will take place on Nov. 12 in Toledo, OH. McGuire will keep working the nine runners who competed at the Big Ten Championship and will have to make a decision on who to run at regionals.

“We’ve gotta make a decision on seven, and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” McGuire said. “The nine that we ran today are the nine that we want to continue in the mix, but we do have to make a decision on the seven that we’re gonna run at the regional meet and the national meet.”

The Wolverines hope to keep up the good work as they continue into the postseason. For Michigan, the remainder of the season will be getting into peak physical shape and preparing mentally for the final two races.

“At this point it’s more maintenance than anything else,” Tauro said. “You’ve put in the work all season and summer long, so now it’s just staying healthy and continuing to work hard. It’s not gonna be anything too crazy at this point, it’s just gonna be more for maintenance and more mental work than anything else — just getting that additional confidence that we need.”

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