Balanced Team Effort Lifts Michigan to Title at Nebraska
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MGOBLUE Ada Unachukwu
MGOBLUE
Ada Unachukwu
MGOBLUE

Jan. 28, 2012

Site: Lincoln, Neb. (Devaney Sports Center)
Event: Mark Colligan Memorial
U-M Team Result: 1st of 5 Teams (161.50 points)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., Feb. 3-4 -- at Notre Dame Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 5 p.m./10 a.m.

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team used a balanced team performance to take first at the Mark Colligan Memorial, hosted by the University of Nebraska, on Saturday (Jan. 28) at the Devaney Sports Center, site of the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships next month. The Wolverines recorded victories in five of the 15 events they competed in and scored points in 14 of 15.

The Wolverines, who earned 161.50 points, finished more than 28 points ahead of second-place Illinois (133). Host school Nebraska (123.50) followed in third, with Georgia (48) and Akron (29) taking fourth and fifth, respectively.

Today's meet at Nebraska's Devaney Sports Center marked Michigan's first time competing on a banked track this season. The Huskers, who are in their first year as a member of the Big Ten Conference, will host the 2012 conference championships on Feb. 24-25

Michigan had a strong showing in the distance and middle-distance events, with 97 of its total team points coming from those areas.

Junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) used a time of 4:40.27 to lead a one-two-three finish for the Wolverines in the mile run. Fellow junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) immediately followed in at 4:40.41 and freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) claimed third in 4:41.31. All three times are personal records in the mile for Smith, Addison and Osika.

Michigan secured the top four spots in the 3,000-meter run, with Addison leading the way in a personal-best time of 9:37.78, while Osika took a close second at 9:38.01. Sophomores Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) (9:41.65) and Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) (9:42.51) placed third and fourth, respectively.

The distance success continued in the 5,000-meter run, with sophomore Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) (16:42.72) and junior/sophomore Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) (16:52.73) finishing one-two.

In the field, senior/junior Tofunmi Akeredolu (Southfield, Mich./Lathrup) won the long jump with a mark of 5.93 meters (19-06.00), just two inches shy of her personal record. Junior Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro) followed with a victory in the triple jump with a leap of 12.52 meters (41-01.00).

The Wolverines will remain on the road next weekend, traveling to South Bend, Ind. to compete in the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational. The meet will kick off on Friday (Jan. 27) at 5 p.m. and resume again on Saturday (Jan. 28) at 10 a.m.



Final Team Standings

 1. MICHIGAN      161.50
 2. Illinois      133.00
 3. Nebraska      123.50
 4. Georgia        48.00
 5. Akron          29.00

Event Winners/U-M Finishers

60-meter Dash (Prelims)
 1. Mara Weekes, Nebraska              7.60q
 6. Charlotte Cahill, U-M              7.79q
 
60-meter Dash (Finals)
 1. Mara Weekes, Nebraska              7.46
 7. Charlotte Cahill, U-M              7.80
 
200-meter Dash 
 1. Ashley Spencer, Illinois          23.94
 5. Charlotte Cahill, U-M             24.97
 9. Amber Smith, U-M                  25.38
16. Taylor Moore-Willis, U-M          27.25
 
600-meter Run
 1. Ryisha Boyd, Illinois           1:31.72
 3. Alexandria Williams, U-M        1:33.19
 5. Meg Bellino, U-M                1:35.06
 6. Jami Hill, U-M                  1:35.75
 9. Chinyere Onimo, U-M             1:36.23
--  Chelsey Miller, U-M                 DNS
 
800-meter Run 
 1. Ashley Miller, Nebraska         2:08.26
 3. Jillian Smith, U-M              2:11.02
 6. Brook Handler, U-M              2:11.42
11. Brittani Williams, U-M          2:13.51
12. Michaela Carnegie, U-M          2:15.64
 
Mile Run
 1. Jillian Smith, U-M              4:40.37
 2. Rebecca Addison, U-M            4:40.41
 3. Shannon Osika, U-M              4:41.31
 5. Chloe Prince, U-M               4:58.63
 6. Brook Handler, U-M              4:58.76
 9. Alicia Patterson, U-M           5:07.43
--  Alex Mathews, U-M                   DNS
 
3,000-meter Run
 1. Rebecca Addison, U-M            9:37.78
 2. Shannon Osika, U-M              9:38.01
 3. Alex Leptich, U-M               9:41.65
 4. Megan Weschler, U-M             9:42.51
--  Erica Crane, U-M                    DNS
 
5,000-meter Run
 1. Taylor Pogue, U-M              16:42.72
 2. Lindsey Hilton, U-M            16:52.73
 3. Mary Grace Pellegrini, U-M     16:56.28
 5. Ellen Junewick, U-M            17:14.47
 
60-meter Hurdles (Prelims)

1. Breeana Coleman, Illinois 8.44q 3. Amber Smith, U-M 8.64q 10. Taylor Moore-Willis, U-M 9.42 -- Erin Busbee, U-M DNS   60-meter Hurdles (Finals) 1. Breeana Coleman, Illinois 8.35 3. Amber Smith, U-M 8.59   4x400-meter Relay 1. Illinois 3:41.64 2. MICHIGAN 3:47.92 (Charlotte Cahill, Amber Smith, Alexandria Williams, Brittani Williams)   High Jump 1. Saniel Atkinson, Georgia 1.77m (5-9.75) 5. Erin Busbee, U-M 1.63m (5-5.25) 8. Brianna Jenkins, U-M 1.58m (5-2.25) 10. Tofunmi Akeredolu, U-M 1.58m (5-2.25)   Pole Vault 1. Stephanie Richartz, Illinois 4.18m (13-8.50) 2. Kiley Tobel, U-M 4.03m (13-2.50) 7. Victoria Wesley, U-M 3.73m (12-2.75)   Long Jump 1. Tofunmi Akeredolu, U-M 5.94m (19-6.00) 8. Taylor Moore-Willis, U-M 5.03m (16-6.00)   Triple Jump 1. Ada Unachukwu, U-M 12.52m (41-1.00)   Shot Put 1. Hilenn James, Georgia 15.40m (50-6.25) 3. Emily Pendleton, U-M 15.28m (50-1.75) 4. Allison Liske, U-M 15.09m (49-6.25) 8. Erin Pendleton, U-M 13.73m (45-0.50) 12. Kari Prena, U-M 11.26m (36-11.50)   Weight Throw 1. Valerie Wert, Akron 19.24m (63-1.50) 3. Erin Pendleton, U-M 17.94m (58-10.25) 4. Emily Pendleton, U-M 17.12m (56-2.00) 9. Kari Prena, U-M 14.71m (48-3.25)   q qualified for finals



PERSONAL RECORDS

NameEventMark
Amber Smith60m Hurdles8.59
Chinyere Onimo600m1:36.23
Michaela Carnegie800m2:15.64
Brook Handler800m2:11.41
 Mile4:58.76
Rebecca AddisonMile4:40.41
 3,000m9:37.78
Shannon OsikaMile4:41.31
Jillian SmithMile4:40.37
Alex Leptich3,000m9:41.65
Megan Weschler3,000m9:42.51
Lindsey Hilton5,000m16:52.73
Ellen Junewick5,000m17:14.47
Mary Grace Pellegrini5,000m16:56.28
Erin BusbeeHigh Jump1.63m (5-5.25)
Victoria WesleyPole Vault3.73m (12-2.75)

Q U O T E S

Michigan Head Coach James Henry
On competing at the Big Ten Indoor Championship facility ... "For us, it's everything. We appreciate the athletic department allowing us to come out here before the conference meet to see this type of facility. They (Nebraska) put on an excellent meet at an excellent facility. It was important because our kids need to ride that wave of adrenaline during competition and they did that -- I'm very pleased with how we stepped up."

On strong performances in the distance and jumping events ... "Distance has been our bread and butter. We've had a drop off the last couple of years or so, but Mike (McGuire) has always worked hard and is doing the right things to develop the kids. They did what Michigan is known for and that is that distance and middle-distance is our bread and butter, and boy we got a lot of it this weekend. I'm really pleased with those kids. They competed to a level that I'm not sure that we expected, but I'm happy that they've had those accomplishments and stepped it up that much more. We had good results in the jumps today -- good efforts, but technically the kids have a lot to improve upon. It was one of those visually unpleasant competitions. I'm very proud of Tofunmi (Akeredolu) and Ada (Unachukwu) -- they've worked really hard for the long run. I did not think they would perform as well as they did under our training regimen. I was ecstatic to hear what their performances were. They came through and I think they are comfortable with these conditions here."

On scored meets helping the team coming together before Big Tens ... "We're deep in some areas and in some we're not, but it's important that we literally utilize the terminology 'team.' The NCAA and a lot of schools have gotten away from competing head to head and it makes a difference for our kids that can help -- those kids who may not qualify for nationals or win Big Ten championships, they're part of this team too. For them to finish in sixth, seventh or eighth place and to know they contributed point-wise, makes a difference in what a team is truly all about."

U-M Junior Distance Runner Jillian Smith
On scored meets helping the team coming together before Big Tens ... "It gives us a lot of confidence going in just having the quantitative data there. I think we've also gone against a lot of really, really good teams early on, so that helps us to see that now rather than just at Big Tens. It was great to compete at Nebraska to get familiar with the track -- just the little things that make the day go easy -- cooling down in different spots, getting used to the facility, the people and the officials. I think that's really important. It definitely calms your mind when you get more familiar."

On the depth in the distance and mid-distance events ... "It's crazy here at Michigan, more than ever. We have so many great freshmen coming up. It's great how well they're adapting to the fast pace in workouts and races. The good thing is that, we have so much depth that in races, you'll go in and always have a buddy to work with. It gives you confidence knowing that I work out with this person every day, so it's extremely helpful. I'm just excited to see how much we can do."

On the adjustment from cross country to track season ... "It's kind of like a speed shock at first. You have your pacing down and then you just have to get yourself acclimated to a whole different kind of sport. It's not as much of a change for the 5Kers, but even the 3Kers have to adjust. Everyone has to change and it probably takes about a month or month and a half to make that adjustment. It's starting to feel more comfortable and more natural now."

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423

   

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