Feb. 18, 2017
» Only a second-and-a-half separated this team from the U-M program record in the event.
» Six Wolverines competing in individual events posted career bests in their respective events.
Site: South Bend, Ind. (Loftus Sports Center)
Event: Alex Wilson Invitational
U-M Team Result: Non-scoring
Next U-M Events: Fri-Sat, Feb. 24-25 -- at Big Ten Indoor Championships (Geneva, Ohio)
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- More than any other program in NCAA Indoor Championships history, the University of women's track and field program has become synonymous with success in the distance medley relay. Judging by the Wolverines' showing at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 18), that's not likely to change anytime soon.
The team of Jamie Morrissey, Jade Harrison, Jaimie Phelan and Gina Sereno combined to run 10:58.02, finishing fifth in a hyper-competitive race and very likely locking up No. 16-ranked Michigan's all-time best 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 10-11.
Big Ten rival Indiana took the win in 10:55.94.
Just over a second-and-a-half behind the school record of 10:56.46 established in 2013, Saturday's performance was more than nine seconds better than the Wolverines' previous effort on this same track in January and well below the 11:05 standard it has taken to advance to NCAAs in the past two seasons.
It -- combined with numerous career-best performances in Saturday's individual events -- also gives the distance squad and the Wolverines overall a boost of momentum heading into next weekend's Big Ten Championships in Geneva, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 24-25).
Morrissey kicked things off with a 3:20.9 on her 1200-meter leg, running from the front for a majority of her leg and handing off to Harrison in third. The freshman posted an incendiary 400-meter split of 52.5 to even things up with Indiana and Arkansas behind leader LSU heading into the 800-meter leg.
Phelan clocked 2:06 on her shift - right in the neighborhood of her 2:05.50 individual career-best in the event - pushing up into second behind BYU just before handing off to Meyo Mile champion Gina Sereno for the 1600-meter anchor leg.
Sereno worked her way into the lead halfway through her leg and held onto it with only 400 meters to go, but rival Katherine Receveur of Indiana led a charge down the final straightaway that proved too quick for the Wolverines.
Sereno ultimately closed out the race with a strong 4:38.5 split.
Michigan was the fifth of five teams to crack the 11-minute threshold in this race, foreshadowing an even more competitive NCAA Championships race in College Station, Texas, next month. Last season was the only NCAA meet ever in which five teams dipped below 11 minutes.
While the DMR was the centerpiece of the weekend for the Wolverines, it wasn't the Maize and Blue's lone entrant in South Bend.
Lauren Rodriguez twice lowered her career best in the 60-meter hurdles en route to a runner-up finish in the final. She ran 8.76 in the final after starting the morning off with a then-personal-best 8.82 to win her heat of the prelims.
Kira Garry lowered her career best in the mile by two seconds with a 4:43.83 clocking to finish sixth overall, while Rachel Coleman shaved an equal amount off her lifetime best to run 4:51.75 for a section win and 10th overall.
Two seconds was also the margin by which Kate Owens improved her career best over 800 meters, running 2:15.62 to finish ninth.
Meagan Malloy, the Wolverines' lone field event competitor this weekend in the weight throw, finished third overall in her event with a heave of 16.21m (53-2.25).
The Wolverines closed out the day - and the regular season - with fourth- and sixth-place efforts from Meg Darmofal and Ellie Leonard at 3000 meters. Darmofal ran 9:42.95 in her first collegiate 3000-meter competition, while Leonard ran a nearly eight-second career-best in 9:50.55
U-M women's DMR team runs 10:58.02 in a VERY fast race to finish 5th and very likely wrap up its 15th-straight NCAA Championships berth!
-- Michigan Track&Field (@UMichTrack) February 18, 2017
Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar