Feb. 5, 2013
The University of Michigan women's track and field team will get a preview of the Big Ten Indoor Championships site when it competes in the SPIRE Invitational on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 8-9) at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The meet is set to start at 2 p.m. on Friday and resume again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
This will mark the second year the SPIRE Institute is hosting the SPIRE NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Team Invitational. The SPIRE Institute was built in Geneva, Ohio, in 2008 to provide a centralized location to host various athletic events on all levels, including this year's Big Ten and Big East Indoor Championships. The GaREAT Sports Complex is the nation's largest track and field center and features an eight-lane 300-meter Beynon track with two full 150-meter straightaways.
Last year at the SPIRE Invitational, senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:05.24, while junior Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) clocked a winning time of 16:22.64 in the 3,000-meter run to highlight the event.
Last weekend at the Meyo Invitational, Michigan recorded 12 top-10 performances, including wins in the 3,000-meter run and 60-meter hurdles. Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) won the 3,000m in a time of 9:25.27, while freshman Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) won the 60-meter hurdles with the nation's 11th-best time of 8.26. Twelve Wolverines recorded new personal-best times in their respective events at Notre Dame; 23 of 38 athletes who have competed in uniform this season have recorded new PRs, including six who have improved in two or more events.
Freshman Cindy Ofili clocked the 11th-fastest time in the nation and top time in the Big Ten (8.26) to win the 60-meter hurdles at the Meyo Invitational. She has continued to improve her personal-best time each week, clocking times of 8.54, 8.51, 8.44 and 8.26, respectively, in U-M's first four meets.
With two meets remaining until the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Wolverines have 12 student-athletes ranked in the Big Ten's top eight in their respective events (the top eight finishers score at championship meets). Four athletes are ranked in the top eight in two events, including Brook Handler (800m, mile), Amanda Eccleston (mile, 3,000m), Rebecca Addison (mile, 3,000m) and Erin Busbee (long jump, triple jump).
Wolverines in the Big Ten Rankings
Jillian Smith -- 800m, 4th, 2:08.91
Meg Bellino -- 800m, 5th, 2:09.14
Brook Handler -- 800m, 8th, 2:10.19
Shannon Osika -- mile, 1st, 4:40.28
Amanda Eccleston -- mile, 4th, 4:42.27#
Rebecca Addison -- mile, 5th, 4:44.11#
Brook Handler -- mile, 6th, 4:45.02
Amanda Eccleston -- 3,000m, 6th, 9:25.27
Rebecca Addison -- 3,000m, 8th, 9:26.76
Lindsey Hilton -- 5,000m, 5th, 16:47.25
Cindy Ofili -- 60m hurdles, 1st, 8.26
Amber Smith -- 60m hurdles, 3rd, 8.33
Kiley Tobel -- pole vault, 2nd, 13-7.25 ft.
Erin Busbee -- long jump, t-3rd, 19-6 ft.
Ada Unachukwu -- triple jump, 3rd, 41-1 ft.
Erin Busbee -- triple jump, 5th, 40-8.75 ft.
# = converted time
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 ]
In the Spotlight
| Rebecca Addison
Spring Lake, Mich.
On how the transition from cross country to track has gone so far ... "It's is going really well. I think you can see that the girls that didn't compete during cross country season have really great track speed and are doing well, and the girls who did compete are coming along really well, and we've only had a couple meets. I think before Big Tens everything will come together really well. We have so much depth -- we have the girls from cross country, and we have more middle distance people now; we have so many girls from the 800 to the 5K that are really strong."
On what's different about this team in regard to performances and team chemistry ... "I think we have really great team chemistry, and we have a lot of great leadership. We also have a lot of underclassmen that are willing to learn, for example Devon (Hoppe), who is doing indoor for her first year, and Danielle (Pfeifer) and Laura (Addison); we have a lot of new travelers, and we also have a lot of experience, so I think there is a good mix."
On competing at the SPIRE Institute before Big Tens ... "It's a really nice track, and I'm glad we're going back there before Big Tens. I'm excited to do the 800 this weekend because I haven't done any eights this year, and it's usually my favorite event indoors, so I'm really excited."
On the successful tradition of the distance medley relay ... "I think it's definitely a tradition, and it's always a priority to qualify for nationals; it's always at the top of our agenda. It's such a strong tradition, and we know we're always going to have people step up and do well; even our freshman year when there weren't many people in the middle distances because of injuries, we still managed to qualify. So our priority has always been to get to nationals."
On participating in Mock Rock ... "It was really fun. I've done Mock Rock all four years, and it's really fun because you always end up getting to know at least one person that you didn't know before outside your event area. It's a great way to bring the team together. It's a great experience. They did a great job of making sure everyone knew that it was for a great cause as well. It was exciting that, besides Mott Children's Hospital, which is obviously an amazing cause, that the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy was a part of it. I did a lot of research about it last year and learned a lot about it. It's a really great school and a lot of kids want to go there. I know it's based on a lottery, so a lot of kids that normally wouldn't get to go to that great of a school, get to set themselves up for a really good future, so I thought that was really cool."
A LOOK AHEAD
Saturday, Feb. 16 -- host Silverston Invitational (U-M Indoor Track Building), 10:30 a.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 22-23 -- at Big Ten Indoor Championships (Geneva, Ohio), 10 a.m.