Feb. 11, 2014
Wolverine Spotlight: Erin Busbee
The 18th-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will get a preview of the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championship site when it competes in the SPIRE Invitational on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14-15) at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The meet is set to begin at 2 p.m. on Friday and resume again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
This will mark the third 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 the 2013 and 2014 Big Ten 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.
Michigan's distance medley relay will make its season debut this weekend at the SPIRE Invitational. After losing three members of its national champion relay to graduation, three new Wolverines will step up to fill their shoes. Sophomore sprinter Maya Long is U-M's only returning member from the winning relay. The relay at SPIRE will consist of freshman Jaimie Phelan (1,200m), Long (400m), sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (800m) and junior Brook Handler (mile). Handler was a member of Michigan's DMR that won the event at the 2013 SPIRE Invitational.
Fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel will look to defend her pole vault title from last year's SPIRE Invitational. She won the event with a mark of 4.22 meters (13-10), which is 1.25 inches shy of her school-record mark she notched earlier this season. That personal-best mark of 4.25 meters (13-11.25) is currently leading the Big Ten.
Freshman Aaron Howell will compete in her first collegiate pentathlon this weekend, consisting of the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter run. Howell has competed in open events in three events this season, including the long jump, triple jump, high jump, 200-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles. In addition to the pentathlon, Howell will also compete in the open high jump along with fifth-year senior Sara Nitz.
Michigan remained at No. 18 in the third regular-season USTFCCCA DI National Coaches' Poll of the indoor season after a solid performance at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational last weekend (Feb. 7-8).
With two meets remaining until the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Wolverines have seven student-athletes ranked in the Big Ten's top eight in their respective events (the top eight finishers score at championship meets). Cindy Ofili is ranked in three events, (60m, 60mH, 200m), while Brook Handler (800m, mile) and Erin Finn (mile, 3,000m) make the list in two events.
Brook Handler -- 800m, 3rd, 2:07.09#; mile, 1st, 4:37.68
Jaimie Phelan -- 800m, 6th, 2:08.10
Erin Finn -- 3,000m, 1st, 9:11.10#; mile, 6th, 4:45.54
Corinne Florie -- 5,000m, 8th, 17:07.48
Cindy Ofili -- 60m hurdles, 2nd, 8.25; 60m, 6th, 7.47; 200m, 7th, 24:02
Erin Busbee -- long jump, 2nd, 6.10m (20-0.25)
Kiley Tobel -- pole vault, 1st, 4.25m (13-11.25)
# = converted time
Sophomore Cindy Ofili has finished third or better in every event she has competed in so far this season, winning six of the eight events. Most recently, she won the 60-meter hurdles (8.25) and 200-meter dash (24.02) and took second in the 60-meter dash (7.47) at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational. Her 60-meter hurdle time from that meet of 8.25 ranks second in the Big Ten Conference. At the Simmons-Harvey Invitational (Jan. 18), she swept the 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles. 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, made her collegiate debut in the mile run at Notre Dame, finishing ninth in 4:45.54, which ranks sixth in the Big Ten. In her collegiate track and field debut, she won the 3,000m run at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational in a time of 9:11.10#, which still ranks first in the Big Ten, and is less than two seconds off the indoor school record.
Fellow freshmen Corinne Florie and Jaimie Phelan have also made their presence known early in the indoor season. In their collegiate debuts in their respective events at Notre Dame, Florie (5,000m -- 17:07.48) and Phelan (800m -- 2:08.10) registered the eighth- and sixth-best times in the Big Ten, respectively.
Junior Brook Handler clocked the Big Ten's top mile time this season at Notre Dame last weekend, running a personal-best 4:37.68. She also owns the Big Ten's third-fastest 800-meter time of 2:07.09#, which is also a personal record for her.
Last weekend at the Meyo Invitational, senior Erin Busbee continued her steak of success when competing in the long jump at Notre Dame. She recorded a jump of 6.10 meters (20-0.25), which ranks second in the Big Ten.
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
Saturday, Feb. 22 -- host Silverston Invitational (U-M Indoor Track Building), 10:30 a.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 28-March 1 -- at Big Ten Indoor Championships (Geneva, Ohio), 10 a.m./10 a.m.