Sereno Caps Day One of Big Ten Outdoors with Back-to-Back 10K Win
Gina Sereno

May 12, 2017

» Gina Sereno won her second consecutive Big Ten 10,000-meter title, as well as her second Big Ten title of the 2016-17 academic year.
» Hammer thrower Courtney Jacobsen and pole vaulter Sarah Uhlian both contributed a point each with eighth-place finishes in their respective events.
» The trio of Jaimie Phelan, Haley Meier and Sydney Badger all advanced to the 1,500-meter final on Sunday, as did Jade Harrison at 200 meters.

Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery  | Championships Central

Site: State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion Outdoor Track)
Event: Big Ten Outdoor Championships (Day 1)
U-M Team Standing: 5th Place 13 Teams (12 points) after Day 1
Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 13 -- at Big Ten Outdoor Championships - Day 2 (State College, Pa.), 10:15 a.m.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Another distance, another win. That has been the trend for Gina Sereno so far this outdoor season, and it continued in a big way on day one of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships Friday night (May 12) as she claimed her second consecutive Big Ten title at 10,000 meters to headline the day for the University of Michigan women.

Sereno extended her 2017 outdoor winning streak to four races at four different distances -- ranging from 1,500 meters through now 10,000 meters -- as she pulled away late to cross the line in 33:53.02, sealing not only her second straight 10,000-meter outdoor title but also her second conference title of the 2016-17 academic year dating back to her indoor 3,000-meter victory.

Hers was the most impressive of what ended up being three scoring performances on the first day of the Big Ten meet on a cold, windy and occasionally drizzly day at Penn State. Freshman hammer thrower Courtney Jacobsen took eighth in her Big Ten Outdoor debut, while pole vaulter Sarah Uhlian came through in the clutch to take eighth in her event.

Heptathlete Aaron Howell positioned herself well for a Saturday (May 13) run at big points in the heptathlon, coming through the first four of the seven total events in second place overall.

The Wolverines also took the first steps in setting themselves up for a strong Sunday (May 14) showing with the trio of Jaimie Phelan, Haley Meier and Sydney Badger all making it through to the 1,500-meter final. Additionally, freshman Jade Harrison grabbed the ninth-and-final qualifying berth into the 200-meter final.

For Sereno, her kick to consecutive 10,000-meter titles waited until the final half-lap of the 25-lap endurance test.

After clicking off 18 laps in a row-- or nearly four-and-a-half miles -- ranging between 1:20 and 1:23, Sereno and lead group finally whittled itself down to a small pack as the pace ratcheted down by a second for each of the next three laps.

As Sereno took the bell amongst the group of Penn State's Jillian Hunsberger and Indiana's Margaret Allen, she hung with those two for another 200 meters before making a decisive move to open up a gap of two-and-a-half seconds over Hunsburger with a blistering kick around the final corner and down the homestretch.

She covered the final quarter mile in just shy of 68 seconds.

The win was just the latest in a four-race win streak that also includes wins at 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 3,000 meters -- all of which came in career-best performances.

While Friday night's performance was not a career best, it was the fastest time in the Big Ten this year and should be more than quick enough to advance her to the NCAA East Preliminary rounds in two weeks' time.

In what was likely her final race as a Wolverine, Erika Fluehr finished 20th in 35:50.79.

In the hammer throw, Jacobsen threw 57.03m (187-1) on her second attempt, a mark that held up for eighth when all was said and done. She was the only freshman to score in the event, with the next-highest finishing freshman being teammate Meagan Malloy in 15th. Bailey Baker was also 14th for the Wolverines.

Uhlian made a key third-attempt clearance at 3.88m (12-8.75) in the pole vault to separate her from four other women who did not advance past that height to finish eighth overall. She made it over 3.73m (12-2.75) -- a height that slain eight competitors -- on her first try.

Howell sits in second by just 98 points with a first-day heptathlon score of 3,256 points through four of seven events. She posted the third-best marks in both the 100-meter hurdles (14.03) and the shot put (12.90m / 42-4) -- briefly taking the overall lead after the latter.

Preliminary Action

• Phelan and Meier wrapped up automatic berths to the 1,500-meter final with second- and third-place finishes in their heat, while Badger earned an at-large berth with a fifth-place finish in that same heat. Jamie Morrissey finished 15th and did not advance, though she will be back Saturday for the 800-meter prelims.

• Harrison ran 24.02 to finish runner-up in her heat and ninth overall in the 200 prelims, grabbing the final qualifying slot with that time. Meghan Marias finished 23rd.

Lauren Rodriguez neared her personal best in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:01.72, but it was not enough to advance to the final as she finished 14th overall.

Action Saturday resumes at 10:15 a.m. with the heptathlon long jump. Finals will be contested in the long jump, high jump and steeplechase, with more qualifying opportunities for U-M in the 400, 100, 100 hurdles and 800.

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Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar