Weekly Release #1: Wolverines Kick Off 2010 at Akron Opener

Jan. 5, 2010

Friday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.
-- at Akron Opener - vs. Akron, Buffalo, Pittsburgh (Akron, Ohio)
Live Results

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will begin the 2010 season on Friday (Jan. 8) at 7 p.m. when it travels to Akron, Ohio, for the Akron Opener, competing against Akron, Buffalo and Pittsburgh inside the Stile Athletics Field House.


First Action of 2010 -- Coming off a third-place Big Ten Indoor Championships finish and an 11th-place showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2009, the Wolverines kick off the 2010 indoor season at the University of Akron. U-M lost five-time national champion Tiffany Ofili and two-time national champion and 10-time All-American Geena Gall to graduation but will welcome 25 newcomers to the team.

Joining U-M at Akron are the host Zips, along with the University at Buffalo and University of Pittsburgh. It marks the first action for Akron and Buffalo, while Pittsburgh participated at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala in December.

Last Year at the Quad -- The Wolverines won the Akron Quad for the second consecutive season in 2009, winning nine of the 14 events. Tiffany Ofili won three events, with Geena Gall winning two of her own. Junior/sophomore Allison Liske (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) won the shotput with senior Shana Vinson (Detroit, Mich./Mumford) earning an individual win in the 400-meter dash. The Wolverines accumulated 173.5 points to defeat second-place Akron, which finished with 136.5.

New Faces -- The Wolverines welcome 23 freshmen to the squad this year, comprising over a third of the team. Of the newcomers, 12 are distance runners, four participate in multiple events, three are throwers, two are sprinters, to go along with a pole vaulter and a jumper. In addition, juniors Lauren Young (Edina, Minn./Edina), a former U-M basketball player, and Rachel White (New Lothrop, Mich./New Lothrop) joined the Wolverines. Young will participate in the high jump, while White is a distance runner.

2009 Indoor Rewind - The Wolverines bring back two All-Big Ten performers in Jennifer Neville (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) and Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), who were both part of the champion distance medley relay team. Tauro is the only returning Wolverine who earned indoor All-America honors as part of the seventh-place DMR team. U-M finished third at the Big Ten Championships and 11th at the NCAA Championships, on the strength of Tiffany Ofili's second consecutive title in the 60-meter hurdles.

Red Simmons Turns 100 -- The Father of Michigan women's track and field, Red Simmons, will be celebrating his 100th birthday on Jan. 5. Simmons was the first coach in Michigan history, coaching the Wolverines from 1978-81. A 1933 graduate of Eastern Michigan University, then Michigan Normal College, Simmons is still visible at both EMU and U-M. He was inducted into the Eastern Michigan Hall of Fame in 1978, became U-M's first honorary 'M' man in 1990 and was the inaugural inductee into the Michigan women's track and field hall of fame in 1994. The Wolverines have hosted the "Red Simmons Invitational" every year since 1981 in his honor. After this year's Red Simmons Invitational (Jan. 23), U-M will honor Red with a party. [ More Information ]

Bullard To Join U-M Hall of Honor -- Former Wolverine Joanna Bullard (1980-83) will be inducted into the U-M Hall of Honor on Sunday, Jan. 10, at the men's basketball game. Bullard was a four-time All-American in the high jump, earning two AIAW honors in 1982 and two NCAA citations in 1983. The University of Michigan Hall Of Honor was established in 1978 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions as athletes, coaches and administrators to the tradition of Wolverine athletics and, in doing so, have enhanced the image and reputation of the University of Michigan. The Letterwinners M Club Executive Board accepts nominations and presides over the selection of inductees.

Those inducted into the Hall of Honor have earned All-America recognition in a team or individual sport or, as individuals have established an NCAA, American or World record; won an NCAA title, or made significant contributions to the Michigan Athletic Department as a coach or administrator.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach James Henry is in his 26th season guiding the Wolverines. He has guided U-M to four top-10 NCAA indoor finishes and three top-10 NCAA outdoor finishes during his tenure. His teams have won 14 Big Ten Conference titles and he has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year 12 times. Henry has coached athletes to nine NCAA individual and three relay titles, earning USTCA Regional Coach of the Year honors three times. His student-athletes have also performed well in the classroom, as he has coached 326 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Henry has had nine student-athletes earn Big Ten Medals of Honor, while eight were honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2009. Prior to being named the head coach in 1984, Henry was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1981-84. He was a four-year letterwinner (1977-80) for the Michigan men's track and field team.

Michigan women's track and field is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_track) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need (coming soon!). For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

Saturday, Jan. 16
-- at Penn State Invitational, 10 a.m.