Weekly Release #8: Wolverines Head to Penn State for Big Tens

Feb. 23, 2010

Sat-Sun. Feb. 27-28
-- at Big Ten Indoor Championships (State College, Pa.), 9 a.m./Noon
Live Results | Championships Information

The University of Michigan women's track and field team heads to Penn State University this weekend for the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. Saturday's (Feb. 27) action will begin with the first four events of the pentathlon at 9 a.m. before the unseeded 3,000-meter run at 1:30 p.m. The 20-pound weight throw will kick off Sunday's (Feb. 28) competition at noon. The Big Ten Network will air the championships on tape delay on March 9 at 8 p.m.

Heading to Big Ten's --
With the bulk of the indoor schedule complete, Michigan will now turn its attention to the Big Ten Indoor Championships this weekend (Feb. 27-28), hosted by Penn State University. The Wolverines finished third last year (121.5), with Tiffany Ofili being named the Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and Bettie Wade sweeping the Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and the Championships awards. Heading into the event, U-M has 17 top-10 Big Ten marks. The distance medley relay team has had the fastest time in the conference this season (11:13.69), while Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) holds the second-best performances in the 800-meter run (2:06.90).

Silverston Rewind -- In the final home indoor meet of the season, Michigan won eight events while hitting one provisional mark at last weekend's Silverston Invitational (Feb. 20). Junior hurdler Charnee Lumbus (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) had the performance of the weekend in the 60-meter hurdles, running a season-best and provisional time of 8.37 to win. In the pole vault, redshirt junior Abbey Breidenstein (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville Community) cleared a personal-record 3.80 meters (12-05.50) to take runner-up honors. Freshman Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro) picked up her first collegiate win, taking top honors in the triple jump. U-M also picked up wins in the 20-pound weight throw, mile run, 600-meter run, 800-meter run and 3,000-meter run to complete its final event before the conference championships.

Hitting Their Stride...Literally -- As the NCAA Indoor Championships quickly approach (March 12-13), the Wolverines have continued to improve each week. The Wolverines have achieved seven provisional marks, with six coming in individual events and one in the distance medley relay. Kaitlyn Peale (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) is the only U-M trackster with two individual marks, coming in the 3,000-meter run (9:28.83) and 5,000-meter run (16:29.12). Allison Liske (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) has hit the mark four times in the shot put, establishing a new career best (15.64 meters) at the Tyson Invitational (Feb. 12), while Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) in the mile (4:42.56) and Jillian Smith in the 800-meter run (2:06.90) both were at their fastest at the GVSU Big Meet (Feb. 12). Junior hurdler Charnee Lumbus (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) ran a season-best time in the 60-meter hurdles (8.37) for her first provisional time of the year this past weekend at the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 20).

The DMR team has only competed once this season, finishing in 11:13.69 at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational (Feb. 5). Liske was the only Wolverine to have established a provisional mark before the calendar flipped to February. [ Full Indoor Season Bests ]

DMR Dominance -- Even though the team has competed only once this season, the distance medley relay team will be counted on for a big performance at the Big Ten Championships. The quartet of Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven), Jillian Smith, Danielle Tauro and Shana Vinson (Detroit, Mich./Mumford) has the fastest Big Ten time this season (11:13.69) by two seconds. The Wolverines have captured the Big Ten DMR crown for the past six seasons, establishing the indoor record last season with a time of 11:16.65. The distance medley relay consists of a 1,200-meter run, a 400-meter dash, an 800-meter run and concludes with a 1,600-meter leg.

Two With Titles -- Michigan features two athletes with indoor Big Ten titles. Juniors Jennifer Neville (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) and Danielle Tauro were both part of last year's victorious DMR team. Tauro also picked up a title as part of the winning relay team in 2008.

Titles, Titles, Titles -- The Wolverines feature eight Big Ten indoor team titles, the most of any conference school. U-M won as a team in 1983, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. The Wolverines have won 67 individual titles, with 41 coming in individual track events, 17 in the field and nine crowns from relay teams. A Wolverine has been named Athlete of the Year six times, Athlete of the Championships five times and Freshman of the Year once. Head coach James Henry has been selected as Indoor Coach of the Year a conference-best six times.

Been Here, Done That -- This weekend marks the second time the Wolverines have participated at Penn State's Ashenfelter III Track. U-M went to the PSU Northeast Challenge earlier this season (Jan. 16), winning three events. Redshirt junior Ashley Greer (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) won the 20-pound weight throw (17.30 meters, 56-09.25) with Allison Liske winning the shot put with a provisional toss of 15.31 meters (50-02.75). The 4x800-meter relay team of Jenny Morgan (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston), Danielle Tauro, Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith won the final event of the day in 8:47.95.

Outdoor on the Horizon -- With only three events left in the indoor season, the Wolverines are less than a month away from kicking off the outdoor season. U-M will start the outdoor season at the Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Fla., March 19-20. Michigan will be in action at Ferry Field one time this spring, hosting the Len Paddock Invitational, May 7-8.

Trio of Captains and Leadership Council to Lead Michigan -- With the departure of a stellar senior class in 2009, balance is what the Wolverines are striving for this year. That is also reflected in the leadership of the Maize and Blue, as head coach James Henry named three captains, along with a leadership council with the goal of getting as many student-athletes involved in leading the team as possible. Shana Vinson, Emily Pendleton and Danielle Tauro will serve as tri-captains for the 2010 season. In addition, Olivia Both (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), Alisha Cole (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), Allison Liske, Carly Schiffer (Ovid, Mich./Ovid-Elsie) and Christina Solomon make up the leadership council that will help provide leadership and guidance to a young U-M squad.

New Faces -- The Wolverines welcome 23 freshmen to the squad this year, comprising over a third of the team. Of the newcomers, 12 are distance runners, four participate in multiple events, three are throwers, two are sprinters along with a pole vaulter and a jumper. In addition, juniors Lauren Young (Edina, Minn./Edina), a former U-M basketball player, and Rachel White (New Lothrop, Mich./New Lothrop) joined the Wolverines. Young will participate in the high jump while White is a distance runner.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach James Henry is in his 26th season guiding the Wolverines. He has guided U-M to four top-ten NCAA indoor finishes and three top-ten NCAA outdoor finishes during his tenure. His teams have won 14 Big Ten Conference titles while he has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year 12 times. Henry has coached athletes to nine NCAA individual and three relay titles, earning USTCA Regional Coach of the Year honors three times. His student-athletes have also performed well in the classroom, as he has coached 326 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Henry has had nine student-athletes earn Big Ten Medals of Honor while eight were honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2009. Prior to being named the head coach in 1984, Henry was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1981-84. He was a four-year letterwinner (1977-80) for the Michigan men's track and field team.

Michigan women's track and field is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_track) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

Located on the Athletic Campus south of Michigan's Central Campus on South State Street, the U-M facilities offer year-round training centers for both men's and women's track and field student-athletes. Originally constructed as the Indoor Track and Tennis Building in 1974, the completion of the Varsity Tennis Center allowed for the removal of the tennis courts and the 1997 renovations. During these renovations, the Indoor Track Building's six-lane track switched from a tartan-surface to Durathon-surface, and the pole vault, long jump and high jump pits were moved into the middle of the track.

Fri-Sat., March 5-6
-- at Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.) 5 pm./8 a.m.