Seven Advance to Finals; Leptich Third in Steeple at Big Outdoors
Alex Leptich

May 17, 2014

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Site: West Lafayette, Ind. (Rankin Track and Field)
Event: Big Ten Outdoor Championships (Day 2)
U-M Team Result: 8th of 11 Teams (12 points) after Day 2
Next U-M Event:
Sunday, May 18 -- at Big Ten Outdoor Championships - Day 3 (West Lafayette, Ind.), 11 a.m.

WEST LAYAFETTE, Ind. -- The University of Michigan women's track and field team got points from three different Wolverines, while seven Maize and Blue athletes advanced to finals in at least one event on the second day of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on Saturday (May 17) at Purdue's Rankin Track and Field.

Senior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) secured the bronze medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 10:14.38. Michigan State's Leah O'Connor led wire to wire and won in 10:06.10. Leptich and senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) led the chase pack roughly 50 meters behind O'Connor through the first half of the race. Leptich remained in the top four and was in fourth heading into the bell lap, while Weschler slipped back to eighth place. Leptich closed hard and crossed the finish line in third place, and Weschler secured the eighth and final scoring position.

Freshman Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington) completed her first Big Ten heptathlon, where she finished sixth overall with 5,056 points to score three points for U-M. She entered the second and final day sitting in eighth place with 2,998 points and used solid performances in the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run to jump two spots into sixth place after seven total events. Her best event of the day proved to be the javelin, as she recorded a mark of 37.10 meters (121-9) to take third place.

In the long jump, senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood), the 2014 Big Ten indoor long jump champion, finished seventh with a mark of 6.03 meters (19-9.50). A leap of 6.02 meters (19-9) on her third jump was enough to move her into the final, where she slightly improved that mark on her fourth jump to take seventh and contribute two points towards Michigan's total.

Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) led a group of seven Wolverines that qualified to compete in tomorrow's (Sunday, May 17) finals, as she advanced to the next round in three events. She will be the top seed going into the finals in the 100-meter hurdles (13.27) as well as the third seed in the 100-meter dash (11.61) and 200-meter dash (23.85). Busbee will also join Ofili in the hurdle final after running 13.77 to secure one of five at-large qualifying spots.

Five middle-distance runners will represent U-M in the finals, including three in the 800-meter run and a duo in the 1,500-meter run.

Junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester)won heat one of the 1,500-meter run in 4:28.57 to automatically qualify, while junior/sophomore Shannon Osika's (Waterford, Mich./Mott)third-place effort in heat three (4:30.60) was also an auto qualifier.

In the 800-meter run, the top finisher in each heat as well as the next five fastest times punched tickets to the finals. Junior/sophomore Devon Hoppe (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar) (2.06.84) outkicked teammate sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) (2:06.99) down the straightaway with a new personal record in heat three to automatically qualify. Pfeifer and freshman Jamie Morrissey (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams), who ran a personal best of 2:08.22 in heat two, also moved onto the final round.

In addition to the seven Wolverines who earned the right to compete in the finals, Michigan will also participate in the high jump, discus, pole vault, triple jump, 5,000-meter run and 4x400-meter relay tomorrow on the third and final day of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Day 1 Results


Alex Leptich has now scored in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in each of the last three years, taking second in 2012, seventh in 2013 and third in 2014. Megan Weschler has taken eighth place in each of the last two years.

Devon Hoppe -- 800m (2:06.84)
Jamie Morrissey -- 800m (2:08.22)
Gina McNamara - 800m (2:11.03)
Courtney Munley -- 1,500m (4:34.18)
Sami Michell -- long jump (5.59m, 18-4.25)
Elly Mioduszewski -- shot put (14.35m, 47-1)
Aaron Howell -- javelin (40.96m, 134-4)
Sara Nitz -- javelin (38.56m, 126-6)

Contact: Whitney Dixon (