Feb. 21, 2012
The University of Michigan women's track and field team will participate in the Big Ten Championships on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 24-25). The event will be hosted by the University of Nebraska at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. Action will begin each day at 10 a.m. CST.
Championships Aired on BTN -- The Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on the Big Ten Network at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.
Setting the Scene -- The University of Nebraska, which is in its first year of competition in the Big Ten Conference, will host the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. The facility features one of four hydraulic-banked tracks in the nation and one of eight in the world. Nebraska's 200-meter track has the largest radius (67 feet) of any indoor-banked track in the world.
Three Big Ten teams are ranked in the most-recent USTFCCCA top 25 poll, which was released on Monday (Feb. 20) -- No. 10 Ohio State, No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 24 Michigan State.
"We want to be connected and stay connected," said head coach James Henry. "That's meaning that the competition, including them, must do it on that day. Once the competition starts, we just want to stay close. If we stay close, then we can be inspired to get in front just by staying close and being competitive. We can have our kids do both -- stay competitive and stay connected. We try not to let it be too stressful on them because they're emotionally charged anyway as competitors. I try to keep the kids loose."
Wolverines in the Big Ten Quick Hits
Michigan has won eight indoor Big Ten team titles, including four in a span of five seasons (2002, '03, '05, '06).
Fifty-four Michigan athletes have won 77 individual Big Ten titles.
Michigan has won the distance medley relay in nine of the last 10 years, including eight consecutive Big Ten titles.
Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes (2005-08) and Geena Gall (2006-09) hold the most individual Big Ten titles in program history with 10 apiece.
Big Ten Championship Rewind -- Michigan finished fourth (68.5) at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships at Purdue. Junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) won her second straight Big Ten title in the 800-meter run, while junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) won her first Big Ten title in the mile.
Wolverines to Watch -- Michigan has 14 athletes ranked in the top 10 of the Big Ten Conference in their respective events, as well as two relays. Seven athletes and one relay also rank in the top five.
Kiley Tobel - Pole Vault
Tobel ranks first in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation in the pole vault. She set a new indoor school record and lifetime best with a vault of 4.23 meters (13-10.50) at the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 18).
Ada Unachukwu - Triple Jump
Unachukwu ranks third in the Big Ten and 19th in the nation in the triple jump. She set a new personal best of 12.68 meters (41-7.25) at "The Dual" at Ohio State on Jan. 14.
Tofunmi Akeredolu - Long Jump
Akeredolu ranks fifth in the Big Ten in the long jump. She recorded a new personal best of 5.99 meters (19-8.00) at "The Dual" at Ohio State on Jan. 14.
Jillian Smith - 600-meter Run / Mile Run (# converted time)
Smith currently ranks fourth in the conference in both the 600-meter (1:30.30#) run and mile run (4:40.37). Both times are personal bests for Smith. Her mile time was recorded at the Nebraska Mark Colligan Memorial earlier this season. Smith is a two-time defending Big Ten champion in the 800-meter run and a member of the last two Big Ten champion distance medley relays.
Rebecca Addison - 800-meter Run / Mile Run
Addison ranks first in the conference and 10th in the nation (2:05.24) in the 800-meter run. Her time of 4:40.41 in the mile run ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Her mile time is a personal best and was set at the Nebraska Mark Colligan Memorial earlier this season. Addison is the defending Big Ten champion in the mile and a member of the last two Big Ten champion distance medley relays.
Shannon Osika - Mile Run
Osika ranks first in the conference and 13th in the nation (4:38.42) in the mile run. Her mile time is a personal best and was set at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational earlier this season.
Taylor Pogue - 5,000-meter Run
Pogue ranks third in the Big Ten with a lifetime best of 16:22.64, which she ran at the SPIRE Invitational earlier this season.
Distance Medley Relay - Shannon Osika, Brittani Williams, Jillian Smith, Rebecca Addison
The DMR ran a time of 11:04.30 at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational, which ranks first in the Big Ten and fifth in the nation. Their time was just 0.8 seconds shy of the NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 11:03.50. Michigan has won the Big Ten DMR title in each of the last eight years.
National Notables -- Michigan has four 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. Junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) ranks 10th with a time of 2:05.24 in the 800-meter run, while freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) ranks 13th in the nation in the mile (4:38.42). The distance medley relay squad is made up of Osika, Addison, junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and senior Brittani Williams (Detroit, Mich./Jackson).In the field, junior Ada Unachukwu (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) ranks 19th in the triple jump (12.68 meters, 41-7.25), while junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) is 10th in the pole vault (4.23 meters, 13-10.50). [ NCAA Division I Indoor Rankings ]
Last Time on the Track -- The Wolverines recorded four winning performances at the Silverston Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 18). Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) cleared a personal-best height of 13-10.50 to win the pole vault, improving upon her school-record mark set earlier this season. Michigan got back-to-back first-place performances from freshman Chinyere Onimo (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) in the 600-meter run (1:34.70) and junior Chloe Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) in the 800-meter run (2:15.47). Onimo was also a member of the winning 4x400-meter relay (4:01.81) along with senior/junior Shelby Hines (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler), freshman Chelsey Miller (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and junior Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro). [ Recaps: MGoBlue l Michigan Daily ]
Personal Improvement -- At the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 18), 14 Michigan student-athletes recorded personal-best marks in at least one event. With the Big Ten Championships up next on the schedule, 39 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with 18 improving in multiple events.
Cross Country Success -- Freshmen Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and Ellen Junewick (Grand Rapids, Mich. (Forest Hills Eastern) finished first and fourth, respectively at the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Forest Park in Saint Louis, Mo. The pair earned a spot on Team USA and will now compete in the Junior 6K race at the 2012 North America, Central American, & Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships. The event will be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad on March 17, 2012. [ Recap ]
Among The Big Ten's Best
With the Big Ten Championships next up for the Wolverines, several Michigan track and field athletes remain among the best in the conference (# - converted mark).
|Jillian Smith (Jr.)||600m Run||1:30.30 #||4|
|Brittani Williams (Sr.)||600m Run||1:32.30||9|
|Rebecca Addison (Jr.)||800m Run||2:05.24||1|
|Brook Handler (Fr.)||800m Run||2:10.48||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||16:22.64||3|
|Megan Weschler (So.)||5,000m Run||16:48.76||10|
|Amber Smith (So.)||60m Hurdles||8.55||8|
|A. Smith, R. Addison,
A. Williams, B. Williams
|Osika, B. Williams,
J. Smith, R. Addison
|Distance Medley Relay||11:04.30||1|
|Kiley Tobel (R-So.)||Pole Vault||13-10 1/2 feet||1|
|Victoria Wesley (Fr.)||Pole Vault||12-10 3/4 feet||7|
|Tofunmi Akeredolu (R-Jr.)||Long Jump||19-8 feet||5|
|Ada Unachukwu (Jr.)||Triple Jump||41-7 1/4 feet||3|
|Allison Liske (R-Sr.)||Shot Put||50-7 1/2 feet||8|
|Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.)||Shot Put||50-6 1/4 feet||9|
|Tofunmi Akeredolu (R-Jr.)||Pentathlon||3,643||9|
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 ]
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
Fri-Sat., March 2-3 -- at Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m.
Fri-Sat., March 2-3 -- at North Florida Spring Invitational (Jacksonville, Fla.), 9 a.m.