The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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62 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2017 BY LELAND MITCHINSON W ith a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships, the Michigan women's cross country team tied the best placement in program history. The Wolverines finished behind only Oregon, and the margin was just one point. "They realized they accomplished a lot," head coach Mike McGuire said. "The whole year, our focus was we've got to go out and earn everything that we do. Obviously, they did that. I think, when you know the process has been right, the results mean that much more to you. "When it's that close, it's a little bit of a bittersweet taste to it, but really when we reflect back on everything we've done, it was a sweet season. There's no bitter taste at all." The Wolverines were led by a second-place individual finish from standout senior Erin Finn, who fin- ished the 6,000-meter race in a time of 19:44.2, just 2.6 seconds behind the winning runner. Finn led U-M all sea- son and won the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship, becoming the first Michigan runner to do so in five years. She was also the Wolverines' top finisher in 21 straight races to end her career. "In my mind, she's the best distance runner that's ever been in the pro- gram," McGuire said. "She ran with tremendous resolve in the [NCAA] race, and she was mentally and physi- cally prepared to have a chance to win it. She set the benchmark for the rest of the team the last four years." The season marks the sixth time Michigan has finished inside the top five as a team and the 13th time the Wolverines have been inside the top 10. Twelve of those 13 top-10 finishes have come under McGuire, and they also won the league meet this season. "Last year we had a good year, but coming up short in the Big Ten meet left a little bit of a toothache feeling that we wanted to remedy this year," McGuire said. In addition to Finn, Michigan had four other runners finish in scoring positions, led by junior Avery Even- son, who finished in 18th place with a time of 20:11.5. The transfer from Uni- versity of Colorado Colorado Springs, who did not compete for her former school while training with USA Triath- lon, earned All-America honors in her first year at Michigan. Highlighted by Evenson, Michigan will have a strong returning core next season. Finn is the only member of the NCAA team that no longer has eligibility. Senior Erin Finn finished her cross country career as a three-time All-American and U-M's top runner in each of her final 21 races. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS   OLYMPIC SPORTS Fantastic Finish Women's Cross Country And Erin Finn Both Place Second At NCAA Championships

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