Jan. 16, 2013
The No. 19 University of Michigan women's track and field team will host its first of two indoor home meets on Saturday (Jan. 19) with the Simmons-Harvey Invitational. Field events will begin at 10:30 p.m., with the running events following at 12:30 p.m. at the U-M Indoor Track Building. The Wolverines will be joined by Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Detroit Mercy and Easter Michigan for the non-scoring event.
Prior to the start of the running events at 12:10 p.m., the women's cross country team will unveil its 2012 Big Ten championship banner.
Directly following at 12:15 p.m., the track and field programs will recognize their Olympians from the 2012 London Games. Michigan was represented by eight athletes -- four men and four women -- at the 2012 Olympics, four of which will be in attendance at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational to be honored -- Geena Gall (USA, 800m), Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes (Canada, 1,500m), Uhunoma Osazuwa (Nigeria, Heptathlon) and Jeff Porter (USA, 110m Hurdles).
Gall will also be competing unattached in the 600-meter run in preparation for the Five Nations meet on Jan. 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, where she will compete in the 800-meter run for Team USA.
Schedule of Events
10:30 a.m. -- M Shot Put (west) & W Shot Put
11:30 a.m. -- M Long Jump, W Long Jump, W Pole Vault
Noon -- M Weight Throw, M High Jump
1 p.m. -- M Triple Jump, W Triple Jump
1:30 p.m. -- W High Jump, W Weight Throw, M Pole Vault
12:30 p.m. -- M then W 60m HH trials
12:45 p.m. -- M then W 60m dash trials
1 p.m. -- M then W One Mile Run
1:20 p.m. -- M then W 60m HH final
1:30 p.m. -- M then W 400m
1:45 p.m. -- M then W 600m
2 p.m. -- M then W 60m final
2:10 p.m. -- M then W 800m
2:25 p.m. -- M then W 200m
2:40 p.m. -- M then W 3,000m
3:00 p.m. -- M then W 4x4m Relay
• Francie Goodridge 800m Event -- The 800-meter run at Saturday's meet will be contested in honor of former University of Michigan student-athlete and coach, Francie Goodridge. She was considered a true trailblazer for the sport of women's track and field. A native of Ann Arbor, Goodridge competed for U-M's club track team from 1966-68 and returned to coach the Wolverines from 1982-84. Following her time as a Michigan student-athlete, she went on to be a member of the 1968 and 1972 U.S. Olympic teams. She was recognized for her accomplishments, being inducted into the Michigan Women's Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1995, the University of Michigan Women's Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2001. Goodridge will be in attendance to present an award to the winner of the race.
• Beginning in 1981, the women's Red Simmons Invitational has been hosted annually and has been run in conjunction with the men's Jack Harvey Invitational for the past five years.
• Michigan legend Kenneth "Red" Simmons started Ann Arbor's first women's track club called the 'Michigammes' in 1960 and was Michigan's first head coach when it was elevated to NCAA Division I status in 1978. He coached the program's first All-America selection (AIAW), Penny Neer, before retiring from coaching in 1981.
Following his retirement, Simmons frequently attended athletics events at Michigan, as well as Eastern Michigan, where he earned his undergraduate degree and competed in track and field. He was a generous supporter of Michigan Athletics and great friend to many until his passing on April 13, 2012, at the age of 102. This will be the first Red Simmons Invite since his passing.
• The Wolverines opened the season with a strong showing at the Grand Valley Bob Eubanks Open on Jan. 11. Michigan recorded 26 top-five performances, including four individual event titles -- junior Amber Smith in the 60-meter hurdles, junior Megan Weschler in the 800-meter run, sophomore/freshman Devon Hoppe in the mile run and senior/junior Sara Nitz in the high jump.
• After one week of competition, the Wolverines have five student-athletes ranked in the Big Ten's top eight in their respective events (the top eight finishers score at championship meets): Amber Smith (60-meter hurdles, 3rd, 8.39), Cindy Ofili (60-meter hurdles, 5th, 8.54), Meg Bellino (600-meter run, 8th 1:33.41), Megan Weschler (800-meter run, 5th, 2:13.79) and Anna Pasternak (3,000-meter run, 7th, 10:08.42).
• Family Ties: Freshman Cindy Ofili is the younger sister of former Wolverine, five-time NCAA champion and 2012 Olympian, Tiffany (Ofili) Porter (2006-09), as well as Alex Ofili, who played football at U-M (2002, 04). Newcomer Elly Mioduszewski is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country for U-M in 2009. Erin Pendleton is the younger sister of two-time Big Ten champion discus thrower Emily Pendleton (2008-10, 12). Sophomore/freshman Laura Addison and senior Rebecca Addison are the only sisters remaining on the Wolverine roster this season. Junior Amber Smith and senior Jillian Smith have no relation.
• Qualifying Standards for NCAA Championships -- There are no qualifying standards for the championships season. There will be a track indexing standard to delineate the different indexing among flat, undersized, banked and oversized. Qualification to the championships is based on descending-order list for the season. For each individual event contested, the top 16 declared student-athletes will be accepted into the competition. For each relay event contested, the top 12 declared relay teams will be accepted into the competition. [ USTFCCCA Selection Criteria ]
• This year's Big Ten Indoor Championships will be held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Michigan competed at the SPIRE Institute last year in the SPIRE Invitational and will do so again this season (Feb. 8-9). The NCAA Indoor Championships will be hosted by the University of Arkansas.
In the Spotlight
| Meg Bellino
On starting her final season strong at Grand Valley ... "I think a lot of it had to do with the success that we had as a cross country team, not just the nine girls that ran at Big Tens, but collectively as a team we all just worked harder than ever this season to have the success that we did. And a lot of us put more work in over winter break. I know that's something I really wanted to do this year to start off on a good note. I think it's a combination of everything coming together from the fall and winter break. As a team, we all did really well, and I think it's going to translate into track season."
On coming back strong from injuries ... "It is my last year here at Michigan, so going into every work out, every practice and every race, that's what I've had on my mind. I had more opportunities to race in the fall this year, and I think that is helping right now. I remember before every race saying, 'This could be my last race in a Michigan uniform,' so I'm going to take advantage of that and give it everything I have."
On the camaraderie between the cross country and track girls helping the team chemistry ... "I noticed a big difference on Friday at Grand Valley; everyone was cheering each other on. The distance girls were cheering on the sprinters, the sprinters were cheering on the distance girls, watching the field events, throwers were cheering on the high jumpers. I think the girls who weren't cross country runners are excited that we potentially have an opportunity to do big things this year in all three seasons. I think everyone wants the same thing."
On the balance of underclassmen and upperclassmen that can contribute ... "I think that when a freshman steps and does something so big, for example Shannon Osika last year in indoor, Taylor Manett this year in cross country, it really gets people motivated and excited everyone. When that happens, it pushes the other girls to want to do something just like that. And when a senior does it, it inspires a freshman. By having one person step up, I can really inspire everyone."
On competing in front of a home crowd on Saturday ... "I'm super excited that everyone is running. This is the first time in a while that everyone on the distance side is running. We're all really excited to run in front of our home crowd, potentially for the last time here at Michigan for some of us. We're ready to show everyone what we've been working on."
A LOOK AHEAD
Saturday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Michigan State (GVSU's Kelly Family Sports Center; Allendale, Mich.), 6 p.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 1-2 -- at Notre Dame Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.)