Feb. 4, 2014
Fri-Sat., Feb. 7-8 -- at Notre Dame Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 4 p.m./10 a.m.
After two weeks off from competition, the 18th-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will travel to South Bend, Ind. for its first two-day meet of the season with the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational. Competition will begin on Friday (Feb. 7) at 4 p.m., and action will resume again on Saturday morning (Feb. 8)at 10 a.m. at the Loftus Center.
The Meyo Field in the Loftus Center is a 320-meter Mondo track. The long jump/triple jump and pole vault runways are raised Mondo runways. The high jump apron is a Mondo on wood surface placed on the fieldturf field, and the throwing circles are wooden.
The Wolverines were not able to compete last weekend, as their dual meet against Michigan State scheduled for Saturday, Feb.1, at Grand Valley was cancelled due to inclement weather. No makeup date has been determined at this time, but both schools are working to reschedule the meet.
Michigan has competed in the non-scoring Meyo Invitational in each of the last 11 years. The annual meets boasts nearly 80 men's and women's teams from around the country. The Loftus Center features one of the largest six-lane banked tracks in the nation at one-fifth of a mile. The facility's Mondo track surface, lengthy straightaway and wide turns make for optimum conditions.
At last year's Meyo Invitational, Cindy Ofili clocked the Big Ten's top time and 11th-fastest time in the nation in the 60-meter hurdles, running 8.26. Ofili will look to continue slashing her time at Notre Dame this weekend, as she has in each of the first two meets -- Bob Eubanks Open (8.41), Simmons Harvey Invitational (8.27).
The last time Erin Busbee competed in the long jump at Notre Dame, she set a new school record to win the event with a mark of 6.38 meters (20-11 1/4). Heading into the 2013 Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational, Busbee was ranked 71st in the nation, when her record-setting jump moved her into a tie for seventh and onto the national championships, where she finished sixth. She will compete in the long jump on Friday at 4 p.m.
Michigan is ranked No. 18 in the second regular-season USTFCCCA DI National Coaches' Poll of the indoor season, dropping six spots from last week.
With just two weeks of competition under its belt, Michigan has eight athletes ranked in the top 10 of the Big Ten in at least one event:
Brook Handler -- 800m, 2:07.09# (3rd)
Danielle Pfeifer -- 800m, 2:10.95 (9th)
Erin Finn -- 3,000m, 9:11.10# (1st)
Cindy Ofili -- 60m hurdles, 8.27 (2nd); 60m, 7.56 (7th); 200m, 24:08# (7th)
Erin Busbee -- 60m hurdles, 8.53 (10th); long jump, 5.94m (19-6) (7th)
Sara Nitz --high jump, 1.71m (5-7.25) (t-9th)
Aaron Howell --high jump, 1.71m (5-7.25) (t-9th)
Kiley Tobel -- pole vault, 4.25m (13-11.25) (1st)
# = converted time
In U-M's home opener, the Simmons-Harvey Invitational, fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel improved upon her own school record in the pole vault with a jump of 4.25 meters (13-11.25). Her mark currently ranks first in the Big Ten and 10th nation. Tobel will compete in the invitational section of the pole vault at Notre Dame on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Sophomore Cindy Ofili has won four of the five events she has competed in so far this season. At the most-recent Simmons-Harvey Invitational (Jan. 18), she swept the 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles. Her 60-meter hurdle time of 8.27 from that meet ranks second in the Big Ten Conference. At the 2014 season opener at Grand Valley State, Ofili also won the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles.
Freshman Erin Finn, the 2013 Big Ten cross country champion, won the 3,000m run in her collegiate track and field debut at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational in a time of 9:11.10#. Her time ranks first in the Big Ten and seventh in the nation and is less than two seconds off the indoor school record. Finn will make her collegiate debut in the mile run at Notre Dame.
Junior Brook Handler's 800-meter time at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational of 2:07.09# was a new personal best for her and also ranks third in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation. Handler, as well as Erin Finn, Alex Leptich, Courtney Munley and Megan Weschler, will compete in the mile run at Notre Dame. # converted time
HENRY HITS 30-YEAR MILESTONE
Head coach James Henry is in his 30th season at the helm of the program. During his time at U-M, Henry has led the Wolverines to 14 Big Ten titles, including seven indoor and seven outdoor. U-M's track and cross country programs also teamed up to win a pair of triple crowns in 1993-94 and 2002-03 (Big Ten cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field titles in the same academic year). Individually, he has helped produce 153 NCAA All-Americans, 182 All-Big Ten honorees, 181 individual Big Ten champions, nine national champions and four national championship relay teams.
THE 2014 WOLVERINES
Team Captains: Senior/junior distance runner Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), senior hurdler Amber Smith(Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and fifth-year senior pole vaulter Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western)will serve as team captains for the 2014 season. Smith and Tobel are each serving for the second straight year, while Pogue also represented the U-M cross country squad as a captain this past fall.
Returning All-Americans: Michigan returned four indoor NCAA All-Americans, including three that earned the honors during the 2013 season. Senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood)and sophomore Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) each earned First Team All-America honors a year ago. Busbee finished sixth in the long jump, while Long ran the 400-meter leg of U-M's national champion distance medley relay team. Junior Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) earned Second Team All-America honors in the mile run for the second straight year, finishing 14th overall. Fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) earned All-America first team recognition in the pole vault during the 2012 season.
In the Record Books: Senior Erin Busbee and fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel each hold indoor school records in their respective events. Busbee owns the indoor long jump record with a mark of 6.38 meters (20-11 1/4), which she recorded at a last chance meet to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Busbee was ranked 71st in the nation heading into the last chance meet, when her record-setting jump propelled her into a tie for seventh and onto the national championships, where she finished sixth. Tobel increased her own indoor pole vault school record at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational on Jan. 18 (4.25 meters, 13-11 1/4) and also owns the outdoor pole vault record (4.25 meters, 13-11 1/4).
Lifetime Teammates: Sophomores Cindy Ofili and Maya Long, as well as junior Chinyere Onimo were high school teammates at Huron High School in Ann Arbor. All three compete in sprinting events for the Wolverines.
U-M Family Ties: Sophomore 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). Senior/junior Elly Mioduszewski is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country and track for U-M in 2008 and 2009. Sophomore Hailey Middlebrook and freshman Darby Middlebrook are the only sisters on the roster this season. Senior Amber Smith, fifth-year senior Jillian Smith and freshman Jillian Smith have no relation.
2013 IN REVIEW
Coach Henry's 2013 squad produced its best Big Ten team finishes since 2009, placing third at the indoor conference meet and fourth at the outdoor event. Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston captured the indoor mile and outdoor 1,500-meter run titles and also ran the anchor leg of Michigan's NCAA champion distance medley relay, which set a new school record (10:56.46). Rebecca Addison, Jillian Smith and freshman sprinter Maya Long joined Eccleston on the winning relay. The Big Ten DMR (Shannon Osika, Meg Bellino, Smith and Addison) captured the program's 10th-striaght conference crown. In addition to U-M's DMR winning the national title, junior multi-event athlete Erin Busbee finished sixth in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships to propel the Wolverines to a tie for 15th place -- its best team result since 2009.
Michigan lost several Big Ten point scorers from its 2013 team to graduation. The Wolverines graduated 36 of its 89 total points in individual events from the indoor conference meet, as well as three members of its winning distance medley relay and two members of the seventh-place 4x400-meter relay -- Amanda Eccleston (Mile, 1st; 3,000m, 2nd), Meg Bellino (DMR - 400m, 1st; 4x4 Relay, 7th), Rebecca Addison (800m, 5th; DMR - 800m, 1st), Ada Unachukwu (triple jump, 3rd), Tofunmi Akeredolu (long jump, 7th) and Charlotte Cahill (4x4 Relay, 7th). Jillian Smith (800m, 3rd; DMR - Mile, 1st) has no remaining indoor eligibility but will return for her final outdoor season in the spring.
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. Due to new NCAA legislation, last-chance meets will no longer be held the week prior to the national indoor meet. [ USTFCCCA Selection Criteria ]
For the second straight year, the Big Ten Indoor Championships will be held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Michigan finished third a year ago at the conference event -- its best finish since 2009. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be hosted by the University of New Mexico.
A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., Feb. 14-15 -- at SPIRE Invitational (Geneva, Ohio), 2 p.m./10 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22 -- host Silverston Invitational (U-M Indoor Track Building), 10:30 a.m.