Weekly #6: Two-Day SPIRE Invite Next on Slate for Michigan
MGOBLUE Brittani Williams
MGOBLUE
Brittani Williams
MGOBLUE

Feb. 8, 2012

THIS WEEKEND
Fri-Sat., Feb. 10-11 -- at SPIRE Invitational (Geneva, Ohio), 2 p.m./10 a.m.
Schedule of Events

The 25th-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will travel to Geneva, Ohio, to compete in the SPIRE Invitational on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11) at the GaREAT Sports Complex. The first day of competition, which will feature only running and multi-events, will kick off at 2 p.m. on Friday with action resuming on Saturday, starting with field events at 10 a.m. and the remainder of the running events at 11 a.m.

Competing Teams: Auburn, East Carolina, No. 12 Florida State, George Mason, Georgetown, Indiana, Michigan State, No. 18 Ohio State, Syracuse, Guelph, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Wichita State and Western Kentucky.

WOLVERINE BITES

Setting the Scene -- In the inaugural year of the SPIRE Invitational, the Wolverines will be joined by 16 other Division I teams from around the country, including two other ranked programs in No. 12 Florida State and No. 18 Ohio State. With just two weeks remaining until the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Indiana and Michigan State will be among the four conference team in attendance.

The SPIRE Institute was built in Geneva, Ohio, in 2008 to provide a centralized location to host various athletic events on all levels, including five collegiate track and field meets this year. 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.

National Notables -- Michigan has five student-athletes ranked in the top 20 in the nation in their respective events, along with its distance medley relay, which ranks fifth in the country. Freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) ran the eighth-fastest time in the nation (4:38.42) at the Notre Dame (Feb. 4) to win the Meyo Mile. Juniors Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) (4:40.37) and Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) (4:40.41) rank 17th and 18th, respectively in the mile with times they clocked at the Nebraska Mark Colligan Memorial. In the field, junior Ada Unachukwu (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) ranks 14th in the triple jump (12.68 meters, 41-7.25), while junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) is 15th in the pole vault (4.15 meters, 13-7.25). [ NCAA Division I Indoor Rankings ]

In the Rankings -- Michigan fell to No. 25 in this week's regular season NCAA Division I 25-top poll released on Feb. 7 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Last Time on the Track -- Michigan recorded 14 top-10 finishes last weekend at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational. Freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) highlighted the weekend, running the eighth-fastest mile time in the nation (4:38.42) to win the Meyo Invitational Mile. Osika also ran the 1,200-meter leg of the distance medley relay, which took first with that nation's fifth-fastest time of 11:04.30 -- just 0.8 shy of the NCAA automatic qualifying mark. [ Recaps: MGoBlue: Day One | Day Two| Michigan Daily ] [ FloTrack Coverage: Meyo Mile Video | DMR Video | Shannon Osika Interview (Meyo Mile 1st place) | Rebecca Addison Interview (Meyo Mile 2nd place) ]

Personal Improvement -- At the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational (Feb. 3-4), nine Michigan student-athletes recorded personal-best marks. After five meets this season, 37 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with 13 improving in two events.

USA Cross Country Championships -- Freshmen Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and Ellen Junewick (Grand Rapids, Mich. (Forest Hills Eastern) will compete in the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships on Saturday (Feb. 11) at Forest Park in Saint Louis, Mo. The duo is entered in the women's junior 6K race, which will begin at 11:45 a.m. [ Watch Live ]. The race will also serve as the national team selection event for the North America, Central American, & Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships, which will be conducted in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on March 17. The top five finishes will be named to Team USA.

Among the Big Ten's Best
With four meets crossed off the 2012 schedule, several Michigan track and field athletes rank among the best in the Big Ten (# - converted mark).

Name Event Time/Mark Rank
Jillian Smith (Jr.) 600m Run 1:30.30 # 3
Brook Handler (Fr.) 800m Run 2:10.48 6
Rebecca Addison (Jr.) 800m Run 2:10:55 # 7
Jillian Smith (Jr.) 800m Run 2:11.02 10
Shannon Osika (Fr.) Mile Run 4:38.42 1
Jillian Smith (Jr.) Mile Run 4:40.37 4
Rebecca Addison (Jr.) Mile Run 4:40.41 5
Taylor Pogue (So.) 5,000m Run 16:42.72 2
Megan Weschler (So.) 5,000m Run 16:48.76 4
Lindsey Hilton (R-So.) 5,000m Run 16:52.73 6
Mary Grace Pellegrini (Sr.) 5,000m Run 16:56.28 8
Amber Smith (So.) 60m Hurdles 8.55 8
A. Smith, J. Smith, A. Williams, B. Williams 4x400m Relay 3:44.21 # 5
Osika, B. Williams, J. Smith, R. Addison Distance Medley Relay 11:04.30 1
Kiley Tobel (R-So.) Pole Vault 13-7 1/4 feet 3
Tofunmi Akeredolu (R-Jr.) Long Jump 19-8 feet 5
Erin Busbee (So.) Long Jump 18-11 1/4 10
Ada Unachukwu (Jr.) Triple Jump 41-7 1/4 feet 3
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Shot Put 50-6 1/4 8

Quick Hits
• U-M has gone 1-2 in all four mile races it has competed in this season (not including the invite mile at the Meyo Invitational).

Ada Unachukwu has taken the triple jump title in both her attempts (at Ohio State, at Mark Colligan).

Qualifying Standards for NCAA Championships -- For the second straight year, provisional standards are no longer part of the qualifying process. Championship fields will first be filled with those who declare for their events with automatic status. Then, the remainder of the field will be filled by the highest-remaining ranked performances. [ Indoor Qualifying Standards ]

GET SOCIAL
Michigan women's track and field is on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganwomenstrack. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@umichtrack) for up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.

A LOOK AHEAD
Saturday, Feb. 18 -- host Silverston Invitational (U-M Indoor Track Building), 10 a.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 24-25 -- at Big Ten Indoor Championships (Lincoln, Neb.), 10 a.m. CST

   

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