2017 FloXC Countdown: #5 Michigan Women

5-VS1-TeamCountdown-Michigan.jpg
Follow our 2017 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top 25 cross country teams and individuals in the NCAA this season which will be LIVE on FloTrack. And, be sure to watch our LIVE FloXC Podium Reveal Show Tuesday September 12th at 10AM CT. The No. 5 women's spot goes to Michigan, and here's why:

Probable Top Four:

JR Avery Evenson (9:34 3K; 16:34 5K; 18th at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Gina Sereno (9:07 3K; 15:49 5K; 15th at '17 NCAA Outdoor 5K; 30th at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Jaimie Phelan (4:11 1500; 1st at '17 NCAA Outdoor 1500; 65th at '16 NCAA XC)
SO Maddy Trevisan (16:27 5K; 34:09 10K; 46th at '16 NCAA XC)

Fifth Woman Battle:

SR Jamie Morrissey (2:05.5 800; 4:17 1500; 90th at '16 NCAA XC)
JR Audrey Belf (4:43 Mile; 9:21 3K; 16:16 5K; 106th at '15 NCAA XC)
JR Claire Borchers (9:56 3K SC; 17th in '17 NCAA Outdoor 3K SC; 166th at '16 NCAA XC)

Impact Freshmen/Transfers:

Audrey Belf via Georgetown (4:43 Mile; 9:21 3K; 16:16 5K; 106th at '15 NCAA XC)
Camille Davre via Milwaukee, WI (2:09.2 800; 4:48 Mile; 1st at '15, '16, & '17 NBN Indoor 800)
Mallory Barrett via Highland, MI (2:11 800; 17:47 5K XC)

Analysis:

Nobody could forget the historic team battle that took place between Oregon and Michigan at last year's NCAA championship. It perfectly described the essence of cross country -- two underdog teams, ranked just fifth and 11th coming in to the champs, having the races of their lives to battle for the win, and a photo finish where the fifth woman made all the difference:


Unfortunately Michigan came out on the wrong side of that finish, and 'lost' the team title by one point. I put lost in quotes because the performance marked a milestone for head coach Mike McGuire (in his 26th year no less) as the team's best finish since 1994, when they also placed second. And though the loss of top performer and individual NCAA XC runner-up Erin Finn is big (having run out of XC eligibility), the Wolverines have a few reasons to be excited in 2017.

Top returner Avery Evenson is a special case. After a good but not spectacular high school career, she spent two years at UC Colorado Springs -- not to run for their team, but instead to train with USA Triathlon, culminating in a fourth-place finish at the U23 Triathlon World Championships in 2015. In her first year of collegiate cross country competition at Michigan last year, she flourished, finishing ninth at regionals and then surpassing all expectations to cross the line 18th at nationals behind Finn. After dedicating herself to the sport, she's continued to show fitness since then, posting de-facto PRs of 9:34 and 16:34 during the 2017 indoor season. Without a solid gauge on her ceiling, Evenson stands to move up and could be the low stick to replace Finn that Michigan will need.

An experienced championship performer in Gena Sereno will look to go out with a bang in her last season of XC eligibility. Sereno has been a factor for the team since her freshman year, and she's got impressive strength, being an NCAA individual qualifier for nationals in the indoor 3K, outdoor 5K, and 10K. She's also coming off a big 15:49 5K PB this spring -- one that paved the way to an eventual 15th-place finish for her in the super-competitive NCAA outdoor final in that event. An improvement upon her 30th-place finish last year seems not only possible, but likely.

Fellow upperclassman Jaimie Phelan has the tools to do something really special in 2017. Despite her 10 seconds (or, perhaps more fittingly, one-tenth of a second) of infamy last fall in losing the team title, Phelan's 2016 XC season was actually the beginning of a breakthrough year for her, having finished 35 spots ahead of her '15 placing at nationals. Determined to not have that fateful photo become her namesake, Phelan shocked the nation this spring in winning the NCAA outdoor 1500 title, posting a 4:11.92 PB in the prelims to boot. Expectations are much higher for the senior now, who should contend for at least an All-American finish at the big dance this fall.

Less experienced -- but perhaps just as talented -- is sophomore Madeline Trevisan. She really excelled as a freshman last year, forgoing the XC redshirt to finish 22nd at regionals and 46th at nationals, just six spots away from being the team's fourth All-American athlete at that meet. Trevisan redshirted her freshman track seasons, but ran well as an unattached athlete, posting 16:27 and 34:09 PBs on the track in her first year of collegiate competition. If all goes right for the Wolverines in 2017, Trevisan could be seeing herself make up those six spots and (assuming Evenson, Serena, and Phelan all do it) finally complete a quartet of Michigan All-Americans.

If the star power up front wasn't enough to wow you, maybe the best thing that the Blue have going for them is their depth. There are a whole host of women who could battle for the last scoring spot with a top-100 finish, including Jamie Morrissey, Audrey Belf, Claire Borchers, and Sophie Linn. If not for the 'other' Jaimie of Michigan, Jamie Morrissey would be the top Wolverine miler, holding an impressive 4:17 1500 best from last spring along with 2:05 800 speed. Her 91st-place finish at last year's NCAAs was impressive and could be enough to snatch the fifth spot this year. And for what it's worth, Morrissey was the No. 2 finisher at her season opener last week, just behind Sereno. Belf comes in as a standout transfer from Georgetown, arriving at Michigan to complete her final two years of eligibility. McGuire is no stranger to developing late transfers -- see Erika Fluehr, Anna Willard, and Amanda Eccleston, to name a few -- and he should guide Belf to eventually improve upon her 106th-place finish from '15 NCAAs. Lastly, Borchers could round out the scorers on her best day, coming off a 9:56 steeple PB last spring and being the last Wolverine across the line as part of the '16 dream team.

With so many ways the race could go for the Wolverines and an uncertain top five, it's difficult to pin a number on this team, but one thing is clear: the Blue have the tools to really excel this season, and coming off of last year's performance they've already proven that they can overcome great odds. Should the pieces fall in place, McGuire could be looking at another national championship contending team despite the loss of their top runner.

FULL WOMEN'S RANKINGS HERE

Human, Or Super Saiyan? Grant Holloway Keeps The World Wondering

Florida Athletics Grant Holloway.jpg

By Zach Dirlam

Area code 757, tattooed on Holloway’s left wrist, services the southeastern-most portions of Virginia, covering the Virginia Peninsula, Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads.

Big 12 Preview: Divine Oduduru's Coming Out Party, NCAA Record Chase In HJ

http://texastech.com Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 6.28.03 PM.png

The Big 12 is one of the most well-rounded conferences in the NCAA, with solid sprint matchups, distance races, and even a potential high jump collegiate record battle set to go down in Ames, Iowa, this weekend at Iowa State's 300-meter track. Read on for a rundown of the top events to watch.

14 Athletes Set To Represent Canada At 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Untitled design (6).png

Feb. 14 release courtesy of Athletics Canada:

House Of Run Podcast: Coleman, Nelvis, Brazier Show Out

© Nick Fojud-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_10637940_168383134_lowres.jpg

On this week's episode of the House of Run Jason and Kevin discuss Christian Coleman's world record, Sharika Nelvis's American record, the doubles by Shelby Houlihan and Paul Chelimo and all the other action from the 2018 US Indoor Championships.

Star-Studded 3K, 60mH Tiebraker Headline 2018 MPSF Indoor Championships

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Track and Field: Pac-12 Championships

By Taylor Dutch

Powerhouse teams from the Pac-12 and West Coast Conferences come together this weekend to compete at the 2018 MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships, which you can catch LIVE on FloTrack.

Teahna Daniels Set To Extend Texas Sprints' Legacy At Big 12s

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Track and Field: 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays

By Lincoln Shryack

Texas sprinter Teahna Daniels wasted no time in becoming the fastest woman in Big 12 history. Less than two months into her NCAA career, back in 2016, Daniels won the 60m NCAA crown in 7.11 — the fastest ever by a freshman and then the fourth-best performance in collegiate history. She hadn’t even won a Big 12 title yet, but it was clear that the Longhorn freshman would soon dominate the conference.

The Best Races From The 2017 Big 12 Indoor Championships

© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_9899787_168383134_lowres.jpg

This weekend Ames, Iowa, will play host to the 2018 Big 12 Championship. Like 2017, FloTrack will have live coverage of the meet as teams chase a conference championship and qualifying marks to the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships. 

On The Run: NCAA Mile Champion Josh Kerr | Ep. 75

Kirby Lee USATSI_9935150_168383134_lowres.jpg

NCAA mile and 1500m champion Josh Kerr of New Mexico joins Jojo and Kevin to discuss his approach to this weekend’s Mountain West Conference Championships, how his life has changed since he finished second at the Millrose Games, beating Edward Cheserek in the mile, following the collegiate scene growing up in Scotland, and choosing to attend New Mexico before he even visited the school. 

Cas Loxsom On Depression And The Realities Of Chasing The Running Dream

Anthony Alvarez cas loxsom

We caught up with Cas Loxsom at this past weekend's USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque after the American indoor record holder dropped out of his race. 

Josh Kerr, Ednah Kurgat Highlight Mountain West Championships

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_10111911_168383134_lowres.jpg

Some of the nation’s top distance runners will be action during the distance medley relay at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Ednah Kurgat, Allie Ostrander, Dillon Maggard, and Josh Kerr are all expected to play pivotal roles in their team’s chances on Thursday night. Outside of the distance medley relay, the four are expected to be in action throughout the three day meet which you can watch live on FloTrack.