XC COUNTDOWN: #2 Michigan Women

Head Coach:
Mike McGuire (23rd Year)
Last Year:
2nd Big 10
1st Great Lakes Regional
4th NCAA 
Probable Top Five:
SO Erin Finn (9:12 3k; 15:26 5k; 32:41 10k; 30th NCAA XC '13)
JR Shannon Osika (4:17 1500m; 9:21 3k; 16:09 5k; 56th NCAA XC '13)
JR Taylor Manett (9:43 3k; 16:40 5k; 34:53 10k; 57th NCAA XC '13)
SR Brook Handler (4:15 1500m; 9:23 3k; 16:04 5k; 64th NCAA XC '13)
SR Alex Leptich (16:31 5k; 10:03 3k Steeple)
Impact Freshman/Recruits:
Rachel Barrett - Highland Milford, MI (4:49 1600m; 10:47 3200m)
Rachel Coleman - Northville, MI (4:45 1600m; 10:24 3200m)
Ellie Leonard - Jenison, MI (4:53 1600m; 10:35 3200m)
Sydney Badger - Centennial, NV (4:52 Mile; 10:23 3200m)
Last year, we listed Erin Finn as an impact freshman. Slightly understated in the end, but at least we weren’t wrong. Her 30th place at last year’s national meet was outstanding, but no where near as impressive as her track season proved to be. Finn ran fearlessly on the track, taking on anyone and everyone in any race she was in and challenging them to come get her as she belied her freshman status with her courageous front running. It paid off with track PR’s of 15:24 for 5k and 32:41 for 10k. She stamped herself as a candidate for the top spot in this year’s national meet.

She has some great help behind her.  Senior Brook Handler had an outstanding track season running 4:15 and 16:04 for 1500m and 5k and she was 64th in last year’s championships. Junior Shannon Osika ran 4:17 for 1500m and 16:09 for 5k on the track and she will look to improve on her 56th spot from last year. That is likely the top three. But senior Alex Leptich might have something to say about that as she ran a fine time of 10:03 on the track in the steeplechase, and good steeplers often translate into good cross country runners. Junior Taylor Mannett was 57th in last year’s national meet for the Wolverines, and her 34:53 10k on the track was solid, too. Improving on her 57th place from last year will really help.

Coach Mike McGuire recruited some dandies to bolster this group and perhaps one or two may challenge for scoring spots. Sydney Badger from way out in Las Vegas, Nevada, had a great high school career. She won everything in Nevada and put up an impressive time of 10:23 for 3200. Rachel Coleman from Northville, MI, was as good as Badger, running 10:24 for 3200m and 4:45 for 1600m. She will be fighting for a scoring spot for McGuire.
Last year’s 4th place in Terre Haute was impressive enough, but perhaps most amazing was that McGuire did it completely with home grown girls. Everyone of his scorers was from the state of Michigan. Being a Michigan alum himself, he has done a marvelous job of attracting top talent from the state and molding them into a national power.

The Big Blue will likely be the Big Two, but if our number one ranked team falters, look for the Lady Wolverines to be ready to pounce.

#2 Stanford Men
#3 Arkansas Women

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