Weekly Release #2: U-M Heads to Penn State Northeast Challenge

Jan. 11, 2010

Saturday, Jan. 16, Noon
-- at PSU Northeast Challenge (State College, Pa.)

First Invitational of the Year
-- The Wolverines will open action at their first invitational of the 2010 season, heading to State College, Pa., to participate in the PSU Northeast Challenge. Joining U-M at the event are Albany, Cornell, Georgetown, Penn, No. 10 Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Francis (Pa.) and No. 22 West Virginia. The action will take place at Ashenfelter III Track, a 200m Mondo track, with hydraulically banked turns (six 42-inch lanes with 65-foot radius on oval) and eight 48-inch lanes on the sprint straightaway. This will be the first of two events for the Wolverines at Penn State, as they return for the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships (Feb. 27-28). The non-scoring event begins at noon on Saturday (Jan. 16)

Schedule of events

Field Events
Pole Vault, Noon
Long Jump, Noon
Weight Throw, 12:30 p.m.
Triple Jump, 2:30 p.m.
Shot Put, 3:30 p.m.
High Jump, 3:30 p.m.

Running Events
Mile Run, 12:10 p.m.
60m Hurdles (pr), 12:35 p.m.
60m Dash (pr), 1 p.m.
500m Dash, 1:20 p.m.
400m Dash, 1:45 p.m.
60m Hurdles (f), 2:05 p.m.
60m Dash (f), 2:15 p.m.
800m Run, 2:35 p.m.
600m Run, 3:05 p.m.
1,000m Run, 3:30 p.m.
200m Dash, 4 p.m.
3,000m Run, 4:40 p.m.
Distance Medley Relay, 5:15 p.m.
4x800m Relay, 5:45 p.m.
4x400m Relay, 6:15 p.m.

(pr) - preliminaries
(f) -- finals

Wolverines Win the Akron Opener -- The Maize and Blue opened up the 2010 indoor season with a win at the Akron Opener, accumulating 117 points to outdistance second-place Akron, which had 97 points. U-M won six events on the evening, led by fifth-year senior Shana Vinson (Detroit, Mich./Mumford), who won the 400m dash (55.98) while anchoring the 4x400m relay team (3:54.80) to a win in the final event of the evening. The Wolverines took all three distance events, winning the 800m, mile and 3,000m runs. U-M has won the season-opening event the past three seasons.

Dazzling Debuts -- With former national champions Geena Gall and Tiffany Ofili lost to graduation, the Wolverines are looking to replace them by committee. The freshman class had a strong debut last weekend, showing that it can provide some top finishes. Freshman senior/junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) won the 800m run (2:10.89), while the freshman duo of Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) and Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac) took the top two spots in the 3,000m run. Addison won the event in 10:03.52, while Patterson finished runner-up at 10:12.14.

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 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.

Red Simmons Turns 100 -- The Father of Michigan women's track and field, Red Simmons, will be celebrating his 100th birthday, 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.
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Bullard Joins U-M Hall of Honor -- Former Wolverine Joanna Bullard (1980-83) was inducted into the U-M Hall of Honor last 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. [ Photo Gallery | More information ]

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 the Yearbook ]

Fri-Sat., Jan. 22-23
-- host Red Simmons Invitational (U-M Indoor Track Building), 6 p.m./9 a.m.