March 15, 2014
Site: Albuquerque Convention Center (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Event: NCAA Indoor Championships (Day 2)
U-M Team Result: Tie-33rd Place (7 points)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., March 28-29 -- at Raleigh Relays (Raleigh, N.C.), 8:45 a.m./9:30 a.m.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) ran to a sixth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles to score three points for the University of Michigan women's track and field team on the final day at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday (March 15) at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Ofili clocked a career-best time of 8.07 and was just out leaned by Janice Jackson from UTEP (8.05) to secure the sixth spot and earn All-America first team honors. Arkansas State's Sharika Nelvis edged out the victory by a .007-second margin. Ofili became just the second Wolverine to earn All-America status in the 60-meter hurdles and first since her older sister Tiffany (Ofili) Porter won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.
With Ofili's three points adding to U-M's four points from its DMR yesterday (Friday, March 14), the Wolverines finished in a tie for 33rd in the team standings.
Saturday's action at the NCAA Indoor Championships wraps up the 2014 indoor season, and the Maize and Blue will now turn its attention to the outdoor season, which will begin on March 28-29 at the Raleigh Relays.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach James Henry
On Kiley Tobel in the pole vault ... "From the perspective of the coaches and Kiley, she had a good meet, her timing was just off, but timing is everything in this business. I was happy with how she performed, she just missed a height she thought she could make. She finished her indoor career as an All-American, and after being off last year, it was great for her to be back here. She wanted 14-feet, and it didn't happen, but she competed well."
On Erin Finn's NCAA debut in the 5,000-meter run ... "She's our first 5,000 meter All-American in many years and to do it as a freshman is an accomplishment. You can't give a young lady experience, they have to experience it for themselves. She ran the way she runs and the altitude had an effect on her. I know she was disappointed, but if we had to do it all over again, that's how she runs -- she's very aggressive. Being an All-American is an accomplishment in itself as a true freshman. She has so much in front of her. Her experience is the only thing that she's lacking, but her past experiences running at a high level have worked to her advantage. I think we're going to see a lot of good things from that young lady."
On the DMR coming from behind to finish fifth ... "It was one of those hard-fought competitions, running on a banked track. With 16 athletes out there on the track, some things went unfortunate for us, but we still managed to compete well. It wasn't about times -- it was about beating bodies and in the end I was so happy to see Brook Handler maintain her cool and pick off a number of people. They managed to hold true to their ranking and emerge as First Team All-Americans, which was great."
On Cindy Ofili becoming a First Team All-American in her NCAA debut ... "Her first time here, she was a little overwhelmed and again it's all about experience. She competes with confidence and she felt better going into the finals. She said she did her best, and that was her best running 8.07, and that's all I can ask for. She's made a lot of improvement. There are a lot of things that she did today that she's never done before and that's because she's a much faster runner and she let it all hang out. I'm very happy for her. I know she's pleased, but I know she's not satisfied. She left a lot on the table -- she's young and she's going to get better."
On the whole team rallying around the performances this weekend ... "For us to bring this number of athletes to the NCAA Championships, it lets them know that we competed as a team. It shows the other young ladies on the team that they can get here too. A couple athletes were very close to qualifying. We have a lot more coachable moments now and are letting the kids know that with a little more hard work and little bit more focus they can put themselves in this position also. This is just another notch of experience for the girls who were here and I think we'll see more of it come outdoor season. Everyone from this group at nationals comes back next year with the exception of Kiley Tobel so next time around will be even better."
U-M Sophomore Cindy Ofili
On how things went in the prelims ... "Yesterday went okay, but I knew I had a lot more to give. I had a very bad start and I hit a hurdle -- I believe it was hurdle two. It wasn't the best race and I used it as motivation to run better today, which I did."
On her first experience at the NCAA Championships ... "It was a really great experience. In my opinion I handled it really well. I didn't get caught up in the hype. I believed in myself and had a lot of confidence. I knew that I made it this far and could run really well here. It was a great experience and I'm just happy to be here. I obviously wanted to run a little faster and finish a little better than sixth place, but I'm content and using that as motivation for the outdoor season."
On the importance of experiencing competition at this level ... "I think it's a very big thing for me. I didn't have the experience coming in. This is my first time running in the national final so for me to make it this far was amazing, but I'm looking forward to having more experience next year and being more prepared. It was hard being out there and not knowing the environment as well as I could have, but I think I handled it pretty well and it's motivating for the future and I'm looking forward to outdoor and what's to come in the next couple years."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org)