Weekly Release #5: Wolverines Split Up for Weekend Action

Feb. 2, 2010

Fri-Sat., Feb. 5-6 -- at Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 5 p.m./9 a.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 5-6 -- at New Balance Collegiate Invitational (New York, N.Y.), 11 a.m./9 a.m.

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will compete in two events this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 5-6), the Meyo Invitational and New Balance Collegiate Invitational. The distance medley relay team heads to the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, while the rest of the Wolverines travel to Notre Dame for the Meyo Invitational.

DMR Heads to NY - The Wolverines split up for the first time of the 2010 indoor season, with a quartet of runners heading to the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York, N.Y. Freshman Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven), freshman Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), junior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and senior Shana Vinson (Detroit, Mich./Mumford) will comprise Michigan's first distance medley relay team of the season. Tauro was part of Michigan's Big Ten indoor champion DMR team last season (11:16.65), while the other three are newcomers to the relay team. In addition to the DMR, Addison, Smith and Tauro will all participate in the 800-meter run while in New York.

Back in the Midwest - With four members of the team in the Big Apple, the rest of the Wolverines will stay in the Midwest, heading to Notre Dame for the Meyo Invitational. Always considered one of the top indoor meets in the country, the Invitational will consist of a session on Friday (Feb. 5) and two sessions on Saturday (Feb. 6). At last year's Meyo Invitational, the Wolverines picked up three wins as Geena Gall won the 800-meter run, Tiffany Ofili took first in the 60-meter hurdles and U-M won the distance medley relay.

Five times Seven at the McCravy Memorial - U-M picked up seven top-five finishes at the McCravy Memorial (Jan. 29-30), competing against some of the nation's best teams. Senior Shana Vinson led the way, placing third in both the 200-meter dash (24.65) and 400-meter dash (54.74) while anchoring the 4x400-meter relay team (3:43.17) to a runner-up finish. Sophomore Julian Purvis (Oakland, Calif./St. Elizabeth) crossed the finish line in 8.55 in the 60-meter hurdles with sophomore Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) grabbing U-M's best individual finish with a second-place showing in the 800-meter run (2:13.72). In the field, jump senior Christina Solomon (Belleville, Mich./Belleville) cleared 1.63 meters (5-04.25) for fifth-place high jump honors while junior Abbey Breidenstein (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) established a new career-best with a 3.55m clearance in the pole vault to finish third.

Keeps Getting Better - Personal records were set all over the place when the Wolverines were at the McCravy Memorial last weekend. Shana Vinson hit new personal records in both of her individual events, the 200-meter dash (24.65) and 400-meter dash (54.74). Junior Jennifer Neville (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) did the same in the 400-meter dash (56.13) while the entire Wolverine contingent in the 800-meter run established new personal records. Alexandria Williams led the way with a 2:13.72 time with freshman Meg Bellino (Monroe, Mich./Catholic Central) finishing in 2:16.08 for sixth place and Brittani Williams (Detroit, Mich./Jackson) finishing seventh in 2:16.84.

Individual Rankings - In the first individual national rankings of the 2010 season, the Wolverines have six performances among the top 35 in each event. Allison Liske's throw of 15.50 meters at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational (Jan. 22) gives her the nation's 26th-best performance. Michigan's other top 2010 performance is in the 4x400-meter relay at the PSU Northeast Challenge (Jan. 16), with the quartet of Alisha Cole (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), Jennifer Neville, Alexandria Williams and Shana Vinson finishing in 3:42.78. Danielle Tauro has two performances from the 2009 season rank among the best, coming in at No. 24 in the mile run (4:44.27) and No. 34 in the 800-meter run (2:08.77). Christina Solomon has the No. 22 performance in the high jump, clearing a personal-best 1.79 meters (5-10.5) in 2009. Finally, Michigan's distance medley relay team recorded a time of 11:05.05 in 2009, putting the Wolverines at No. 7 in that event.

Trio of Captains and Leadership Council to Lead Michigan - With the departure of a stellar senior class in 2009, balance is what the Wolverines are striving for this year. That is also reflected in the leadership of the Maize and Blue, as head coach James Henry named three captains, along with a leadership council with the goal of getting as many student-athletes involved in leading the team as possible. Shana Vinson, Emily Pendleton (Lindsay, Ohio/Woodmore) and Danielle Tauro will serve as tri-captains for the 2010 season. In addition, Olivia Both (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), Alisha Cole (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), Allison Liske, Carly Schiffer (Ovid, Mich./Ovid-Elsie) and Christina Solomon make up the leadership council that will help provide leadership and guidance to a young U-M squad.

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 at the Akron Opener, showing that it can provide some top finishes. Freshman Jillian Smith won the 800m run (2:10.89) while the freshman duo of Rebecca Addison and Kaitlyn Patterson 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.

Leader of the Wolverines - Head coach James Henry is in his 26th season guiding the Wolverines. He has guided U-M to four top-ten NCAA indoor finishes and three top-ten NCAA outdoor finishes during his tenure. His teams have won 14 Big Ten Conference titles while 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. 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! ]

Located on the Athletic Campus south of Michigan's Central Campus on South State Street, the U-M facilities offer year-round training centers for both men's and women's track and field student-athletes. Originally constructed as the Indoor Track and Tennis Building in 1974, the completion of the Varsity Tennis Center allowed for the removal of the tennis courts and the 1997 renovations. During these renovations, the Indoor Track Building's six-lane track switched from a tartan-surface to Durathon-surface, and the pole vault, long jump and high jump pits were moved into the middle of the track.

Fri-Sat., Feb. 12-13
-- at Tyson Invitational (Fayetteville, Ark.), 2 p.m./10 a.m. CST
Fri-Sat., Feb. 12-13 -- at Grand Valley Invitational (Allendale, Mich.), 4 p.m./10 a.m.