The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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76 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2016   OLYMPIC SPORTS tional finisher Mason Ferlic, Flanagan's season might have been overshad- owed, but there's no denying he will be the best runner for the Maize and Blue in 2016. After helping his team to an eighth- place finish at the NCAA Champion- ships by posting a personal time of 30:49.8 in the 10,000-meter event, Fla- nagan will be a force this season. Athlete To Watch: M icah Beller earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, but he wasn't just getting things done inside the classroom. Beller had a break- out season as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. Finishing in the top 15 four times, he is in position to have an even bigger role this season. Don't Miss: Michigan does not have a home meet this fall, but nearby Dexter, Mich., plays host meets on Sept. 2 and Oct. 21. WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY First Event: Sept. 2, Michigan Open. Big Ten Predicted Finish: Top two. NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Top 10. Coach's Expectations: After a good season in 2015, head coach Mike Mc- Guire will likely have even higher ex- pectations heading into 2016. The pro- gram's history and continued recent success all starts with McGuire, who was named regional coach of the year for the ninth time in 2015. McGuire spent his summer in Rio for the Olympics, which only gave him more valuable coaching experience. Top Runner: West Bloomfield, Mich., native Erin Finn had another impres- sive season last year for the Wolverines. She finished in first place four times, capturing the Big Ten Championship for the second time in her career, and was in the top 20 of every race, missing only one cross country competition all season. The two-time Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year is one of just five in- dividuals in league history to win mul- tiple Big Ten cross country crowns, and only the second in U-M annals to do so. She has been the team's top finisher in the last 10 consecutive scored meets in which she ran, dating back to her fresh- man campaign in 2013. Finn also set school records in the 3,000-meter (9:01.25) and 5,000-meter runs (15:23.16) on the indoor track last year and became the first Wolverine to be named an All-American in both events during the same indoor champi- onship season, earning national runner- up finishes in both. She did not com- pete on the outdoor track in the spring while redshirting in preparation for the Olympic Trials. Athlete To Watch: Redshirt junior Gina Sereno had a breakout season in 2015-16. She finished in the top 10 three times, including at the Big Ten Championships (10th) after placing 31st at the race a year earlier. The Madi- son, Wis., native finds herself in a situ- ation where she can set herself up to be a top-three runner this season for the Wolverines and their leader next season. In addition to helping the Wolverines finish as Big Ten runner ups last season and earning second-team all-confer- ence laurels, she helped the squad win the Great Lakes Regional and earned all-region distinction with a 17th-place finish. Sereno will be a threat to attain even more honors in 2016 and improve on last year's 90th-place showing at na- tionals. Don't Miss: U-M does not have a home meet this fall, but nearby Dexter, Mich. plays host to meets on Sept. 2 and Oct. 21. ❏ Senior Ben Flanagan was a key piece to last year's cross country team that won Michigan's first men's Big Ten crown since 1998; he finished the conference meet in eighth place. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS Senior Erin Finn is a two-time Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year and just the second runner in program history to win multiple Big Ten titles. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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