Feb. 10, 2017
» Freshman Jade Harrison came within a quarter-second of Cindy Ofili's school record at 200 meters.
» The SPIRE DI Invitational resumes Saturday (Feb. 11) at 10 a.m. on its final day.
Site: Geneva, Ohio (SPIRE Institute)
Event: SPIRE DI Invitational (Day 1)
U-M Team Result: Non-scoring
Next U-M Events: Saturday, Feb. 11 -- at SPIRE Invitational - Day 2 (Geneva, Ohio), 10 a.m.
GENEVA, Ohio -- The SPIRE Institute has been kind to University of Michigan senior distance runner Erin Finn throughout her career, and that trend continued Friday night (Feb. 10) as she posted a nation-leading and facility-record time at 5,000 meters on day one of the SPIRE DI Invitational.
Finn blazed to a 15:34.36 to overtake the national lead from Missouri's Karissa Schweizer -- who edged out Finn on the final homestretch for the national title at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past November -- by three seconds and bettered her own SPIRE Institute record by the same margin. The time is also the second fastest of her indoor career behind her 15:23.16 school record from last season's NCAA Indoor Championships.
Her 15:37.31 Big Ten title-winning performance from a year ago had been the previous standard-holder at the SPIRE.
Friday was the fifth time she has cracked the 16-minute barrier in Geneva, to go along with the three Big Ten individual titles she has claimed in this building. With the 2017 Big Ten Championships on tap in two weekends' time, both of those tallies are very much subject to change.
Finn and teammate Kira Garry ran 1-2 through the first half of the race, crossing the midway point at around 7:52. That is where Finn dropped the hammer. With each successive lap, she pulled farther and farther from the pack, ultimately opening up a 27-second gap between herself and runner-up Alexis Wiersma of Michigan State.
Finn's final lap of the 300-meter track took only 52 seconds, putting an exclamation point on a second half of the race that was about 10 seconds faster than her first.
Another woman who may have started a tradition of excellence of her own at the SPIRE was Jade Harrison. The freshman finished runner-up at 200 meters in a career-best 23.93 -- less than a quarter of a second from Cindy Ofili's school-record 23.69 set in 2014.
At 600 meters, Jaimie Phelan finished runner-up in the fastest, most dramatic heat of the day in 1:30.31, with Jamie Morrissey fourth (and fifth overall) in 1:33.86. Morrissey led for more than 500 meters, before Phelan -- who came through the halfway point at the tail end of the pack -- and the rest of the field surged on the final straightaway. Phelan just outleaned the third-place finisher by fractions of a second as the top four finishers were within a second of one another.
Kayla Deering led the way for the Wolverines in the weight throw, tossing a career-best 17.63m (57-10.25) on her third attempt to finish 13th. On what turned out to be final throw of the day, she ultimately gained two spots in the standings.
The second and final day at the SPIRE DI Invitational kicks off Saturday (Feb. 11) at 10 a.m.
-- Michigan Track&Field (@UMichTrack) February 11, 2017
Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar