The Wolverine

September 2018*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 67 BY AUSTIN FOX The fall season of Olympic sports at U‑M will officially get underway when the women's soccer team hosts Boston U. Aug. 16, and will see the men's soccer, volleyball, field hockey, and men's and women's cross coun‑ try teams kick off their respective campaigns in the ensuing days. Here is a preview of those six sports, with a look at each one's top athletes, where their teams are expected to fin‑ ish in the Big Ten and more. MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY First Event: Aug. 31, Michigan Open (at Dexter, Mich.) Big Ten Predicted Finish: 3rd NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Top three at regionals Coach's Expectations: "It'll be in‑ teresting to see where our guys come in fitness‑wise off the summer," Kevin Sullivan said. "Our goal every year, though, is to compete for Big Ten championships. I know we have the potential to be a top‑three team in the conference, but we're also very young — we're going to find out a lot during the first month of the season." Top Runner: Redshirt sophomore Isaac Harding burst onto the scene last year as a redshirt freshman. The high‑ light of his campaign came during his 30:55.8 performance in the 10‑kilome‑ ter race at the national meet, when he was a scoring member of a U‑M squad that finished 10th nationally. "Isaac is definitely one of our top returners," Sullivan said. "We have high expectations that he'll take a step forward and be a leader for us." Athlete To Watch: Redshirt sopho‑ more Jacob Lee ran a 15:26.0 over five kilometers and finished eighth in the Michigan Open to kick off last year and is someone that Sullivan expects to emerge in 2018. "He had a big breakout on the in‑ door track last year and just missed scoring for us at the Big Ten outdoor meet," the U‑M head coach recalled. "Jacob made huge progress in the winter and spring. He's someone who could be an impact guy for us." Don't Miss: Oct. 13 at the Pre‑ National Invitational in Madison, Wis., where more than two‑thirds of the country's ranked squads are expected to be in attendance. WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY First Event: Aug. 31, Michigan Open (at Dexter, Mich.) Big Ten Predicted Finish: 1st NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Champs Coach's Expectations: "We grad‑ uated two All‑Americans in Gina Sereno and Jamie Morrissey from last year's group, but still return several established veterans," Mike McGuire explained. "We have a combination of people who have run at a high level for a while, along with some impressive newcomers. "Our goal is always to win the Big Ten and grab a high national finish, and I think we're capable of that again this season." Top Runner: Fifth‑year senior Claire Borchers had a strong cam‑ paign for U‑M in 2017, earning all‑ region honors when she ran a 20:54.9 over six kilometers to finish 15th at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. "Claire is coming off an outstanding season," McGuire recalled. "She also grabbed a national fourth‑place finish [3,000‑meter steeplechase] in outdoor track as well. We have high expecta‑ tions for her coming into this year." Athlete To Watch: Junior Anna West transferred to U‑M after spend‑ ing two seasons at Baylor and will be expected to make an immediate im‑ pact for the Wolverines. She placed 40th at the national meet last fall. "Anna is a highly established run‑ ner who was an All‑American in cross country last fall," McGuire said. "We're very excited to have her here." Don't Miss: Sept. 15 at the Greeno/ Dirksen Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., at Pioneers Park. The event is expected to attract several league schools, and will be the site of the Big Ten Champi‑ onships later in the season. FIELD HOCKEY First Event: Aug. 25, at North Car‑ olina Big Ten Predicted Finish: 2nd NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Final Four Coach's Expectations: "We want to work hard and continue to improve," Marcia Pankratz exclaimed. "We are the defending Big Ten champs, so the expectation will be to defend that title. We also want to go far into the NCAA Tournament, make the Final Four, and see what happens from there." Top Player: Senior forward Emma Way will lead the way for the Wolver‑ ines in 2018, after finishing second on the team last year with 36 points. "One of the things that makes Emma so special is not only her play, but also her senior leadership," Pan‑ kratz noted. "We're fortunate to have such a good group of seniors." Athlete To Watch: Even though she's only a freshman, midfielder Kathryn Peterson comes to U‑M as the No. 7 recruit in the nation accord‑ ing to MAX Field Hockey. "Kathryn is someone who's going to surprise a lot of people — she's just so smart and athletic," Pankratz said.   OLYMPIC SPORTS FALL PREVIEW Michigan Teams Have High Expectations Senior forward Emma Way finished second on the field hockey team last year with 36 points, posting career bests with 13 goals and 10 assists. PHOTO BY SAM JANICKI

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