ROCHESTER, Mich. – The Ohio State women’s cross country team finished in fourth-place Saturday afternoon at the 2010 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships. Meredith Wagner and Ellen Birmingham finished one-two for the Buckeyes and seventh and eighth overall on the University of Oakland’s 6k Katke-Cousins Golf Course, earning All-Regional honors.
Wagner led the Scarlet and Gray for the third meet this season, crossing the finish line in 20:43, a personal record for the freshman phenom. Birmingham was close behind Wagner in 20:46, with sophomore Tori Brink next in line for the Buckeyes (27th, 21:27.6). Senior Sarah Foster (42nd, 21:44.2) and Molly Jacobson (56th, 21:54.3) rounded out the scoring five for OSU.

“The whole team ran very tough today,” distance coach Chris Neal said after the race. “We ran aggressive and really got after it. Ellen and Meredith ran shoulder-to-shoulder the whole race, working their way up the field and had a great finish. While we did not finish as high as we would have liked, it is the second year in a row that we have finished in the Top 5 of the region, and to me that means our program has reached a new level.

“Meredith’s race has guaranteed her a trip to the NCAA championships. We will have to sit and wait to find out about the rest of the team. It is going to be close, but I could not be more proud of this team. They ran with absolutely no fear today. I am very grateful for all of the time Ellen and Sarah have given this program. They are the only two seniors on this team and their commitment over the past four years have helped move the program to a new level.”

Big Ten champion Michigan State, led by individual champion Emily Macleod, captured the Great Lakes title with a team score of 80. Michigan finished in second-place with 96 points, followed by MAC champ Toledo (130) and the Buckeyes (139). Indiana rounded out the Top 5 with a point total of 167.

The Buckeyes now await their championship fate as they hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA championships Nov. 22. The field will be announced Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Ohio State Results
1    7       Meredith Wagner – 20:43.0
2    8       Ellen Birmingham – 20:46.2
3    27     Tori Brink – 21:27.6
4    42     Sarah Foster – 21:44.2
5    56     Molly Jacobson – 21:54.3
6   (112)  Mallory Kreider – 22:55.7
7   (143)  Laura Williams – 23:21.5

Team Standings
1) Michigan State – 80
2) Michigan – 96
3) Toledo – 130
4) Ohio State – 139
5) Indiana – 167