The Wolverine

April 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  big ten/NCAA championships: WOMen's track "The last lap, I looked up at the video screen and saw that I had a decent lead, but I also didn't know how fast she was coming. I pushed as fast as I could, thank goodness I built up a little bit of space, and about 10 yards away, it clicked that we were going to win this." "She held an incredibly strong pace and there was no lull," McGuire said. "Initially, you would think the pressure is on the one in the lead, but she kept continuing to put the pressure on those behind her and eventually broke them. "We've had some great relay carries, but I would put Amanda's race up there against any of our all-time best because of the scenario she had in front of her. It is a lot tougher when you're being hunted than when you are the hunter." There were moments of consternation early, when Addison was forced to settle into the back of the pack behind a throng of the nation's top runners to lead off the competition. She managed to overcome the slow start, and fin‑ ished the first leg (1,200 meters) in third place before handing off to Long for the single-lap 400-meter run. Long held serve before handing off to Smith, putting her into position to make a strong move during the 800-meter portion of the race. Smith did so with 100 meters left to give the Wolverines a lead they would not relinquish. Midway through the season, McGuire had presented a dicey proposition for the four speedsters β€” give up the opportunity for individual honors for a chance at a national title. "The past couple of years we tried to do both, and it was really hard," Addison said. "It shows a lot about Coach McGuire because the whole time he told us, 'This is going to be worth it,' and it definitely was." "It was really hard at first because we all qualified individually in either the 800-meter or the mile," Eccleston said. "At the same time, we really believed we had a shot at winning as a team, and it didn't seem like as much of a possibility in the individual events. "To double our events, we wouldn't be fresh enough to win, and we wanted to aim for one really big, great performance instead of spreading ourselves thin, and maybe struggling a little bit." U-M also received standout performances at the NCAA Championships from junior long jumper Erin Busbee, who became the program's first All-American in the event with a sixth-place finish (6.33 meters), and sophomore Shannon Osika, who earned second-team All-America honors with a 14th-place finish in the mile (4:43.43). The distance medley relay triumphed at the Big Ten Championships Feb. 23, the program's 10th consecutive title in the event, to help the Wolverines place third at the conference meet. β€” Kevin Minor

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