While most stayed indoors to avoid the high temperatures, the No. 13 Michigan women’s cross country team showcased its talent at the Michigan Open on Saturday. The intrasquad meet, which was held at Hudson Mills Metropark outside of Ann Arbor, featured a winding 5,000-meter course.

Fifth-year senior Danielle Tauro finished first, with a final time of 18:02.40. Trailing seconds behind was junior Rebecca Addison, at 18:11.85.

“Danielle and Rebecca really stood out today,” Michigan coach Mike McGuire said. “Danielle did a great job leading us.”

Redshirt sophomore Megan Weschler held her own by placing third, proving herself as a formidable runner for the rest of the season.

“Megan had a huge improvement today from the same course she competed at last year,” McGuire said. “She dropped 49 seconds today in much tougher conditions.”

Those tough conditions put a strain on the athletes’ ability. The 95-degree heat with humidity was definitely a roadblock for the runners.

“We were all a little worried about the heat,” Addison said. “We weren’t in the best of spirits before the race, but once we started the race, we were ready to go.”

Tauro cited the first 800 meters of the course as especially challenging since there was no shade in that part of the course.

“The heat made it dangerous to run,” Tauro said. “Our goal was to be conservative, but to put in a good effort, as well.”

Heat wasn’t the only obstacle standing in the Wolverines’ way. The team was also exhausted, having just returned from training camp up north in Pellston, Mich., where the temperate climate was ideal for running.

But McGuire emphasized that the point of the intrasquad meet was not to go out and earn personal bests across the board.

“Our goal is to keep getting better as the season progresses,” McGuire said. “Our main objective is to win Big Ten Championships. We’ve still have a long way to go off of today, but there’s 10 other teams in the Big Tens making that same statement.”

In order to achieve that goal, the athletes put an emphasis on pushing each other to become faster and stronger.

“We have healthy competition in practice,” Tauro said. “There’s no rivalry, but we just want everyone to keep moving forward. A lot of people did better today than last year.”

Added McGuire: “The workouts will get tougher as the season goes on. We will be 10 weeks better 10 weeks from now. If at 11 weeks we are only five weeks better, then our chance of achieving our team goal of Big Tens is lower. I want to keep the team healthy and getting better.”

The team continues its season at the Illinois Orange and Blue Preview in Urbana, Ill. on Sept. 16, where it will compete in the 4,000-meter race, the same distance of the race at the Big Ten Championships in November.

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