First Thoughts: BIG 10's (Women)

The Wolverines continue their winning ways

The Michigan women successfully defended their title by placing five women in the top 20 for a total of 57 points. Avery Evenson lead the Wolverines with a 3rd pace finish with teammates Anne Forsyth and Hannah Meier close behind in 8th and 11th. Michigan steadily progressed throughout the race, waiting until 4000 meters in to officially take the team lead.

Depth once again proved to be the key factor for Michigan as their fifth runner (19th) was ahead of every other team’s fourth. Only Michigan State and Penn State had third runners ahead of Michigan’s fifth. The freshman duo of Annie Forsyth and Camille Davre look like some of the best young runners in the country and their consistency this season is impressive given their lack of collegiate experience.

With the win today, Michigan gains even more momentum as they prepare for a loaded Great Lakes region.

Monson is the real deal

Alicia Monson raised some eyebrows when she finished 33rd at Pre-Nationals after winning the Nuttycombe Invitational two weeks prior. She immediately became an NCAA title favorite when she took down the reigning champ Ednah Kurgat, but there was some skepticism around how much hype she deserved after only one performance. Supposedly, Pre-Nats was a “tempo effort” to be ready for BIG10's and if that was the case, it worked.

Through 4000 meters there was still a pack of 15 women at the front, but the race soon broke apart when Aubrey Roberts of Northwestern put in a big surge. When the move was made, only Monson went with and by 5000 meters, the duo was well clear of the field. With under 500 meters remaining, Monson moved into the lead and never looked back, taking the win by nine seconds.

Monson looked comfortable throughout the race and easily pulled away once she decided to make her move. She’s now won three of four races and eliminated any doubt around being an NCAA favorite.

Don’t overlook Roberts

While Aubrey Roberts was eventually broken by Alicia Monson, the Northwestern junior is still one of the best in the NCAA. Just after the 4000 meter mark, Roberts made a big move and broke the race open with only Monson daring to go with her. She eventually finished 2nd, but had a 13 second gap on 3rd place which proved that she was the gutsiest racer on the day.

With her performance, Roberts has had consecutive races with a top three finish and will go into the Midwest regional among the individual favorites. She leads a Northwestern team that has an outside chance at qualifying for NCAA's if they can surpass Minnesota in two weeks.

Quick Takes

  • Michigan State is a very different team when Erin McDonald runs. She was absent when the Spartans finished behind Penn State two weeks ago, but with her back in the lineup the team wasn’t far behind Michigan in 2nd place. After this weekend they look to have a good chance at the second auto-qualifier in the Great Lakes region.

  • Indiana was strong through two runners but fell off hard after that. Freshman Bailey Herenstein was 3rd, but finished 28th, 19 places behind their second. The Hoosiers will need a better showing from their 3-4-5 in two weeks as they’ll face similar competition in the Great Lakes region.

  • Keep an eye on Northwestern going into the Midwest regional. They finished 33 points behind Minnesota who look to be the 3rd team in the region right now. It would take an almost perfect performance for the Wildcats to finish 3rd, but given Minnesota’s lack of depth, anything could happen.

  • Penn State could be really good next fall. They’re already a solid team and the top seven features no seniors.