March 5, 2013
Fri-Sat., March 8-9 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.)
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The 23rd-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will be represented by junior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood)in the long jump and sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) in the mile, as well as its distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday (March 8-9) at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track. Competition will begin on Friday at 10 a.m. and resume again on Saturday at 11 a.m. CST.
MICHIGAN COMPETITION SCHEUDLE
Watch the NCAA Championships Live
ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. CST and March 9, beginning at 7 p.m. CST. A tape delay of the championship will also air Sunday, March 17, at 7 p.m. CDT on ESPNU.
Based on a descending-order list for the season, the top 16 declared student-athletes and top 12 declared relay teams were accepted into the NCAA Championships.
Individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point at the NCAA Championships will earn USTFCCCA All-America first team honors. Those individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall (including ties) will earn USTFCCCA All-America second team honors. Those who do not meet the criteria above but participate in at least a round of the NCAA Championships will be listed as All-America honorable mention.
Last weekend at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (March 1-2), Michigan's distance medley relay clocked the fastest time in the nation at 10:56.66, en route to winning the event and setting a new school record. It marked the first time the combination of senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) (1,200m), freshman Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) (400m), senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) (800m) and fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) (mile) competed together this season. The relay topped the previous school record of 11:01.51, which was run by Danielle Tauro, Serita Williams, Geena Gall and Nicole Edwards in 2008.
Last weekend at Notre Dame, Erin Busbee also etched her name into the Michigan record book, setting a new school long-jump record of 6.38 meters (20-11.25). The mark moved her from 71st to tied for seventh in the nation to help secure her spot at the NCAA Championships. Busbee topped her previous personal-best mark by roughly 15 inches and edged the previous school record of 6.36 meters (20-10.5), which was set by Brandi Bentley in 1999. She is one of just two long jumpers from the Big Ten Conference to qualify in the event and will be joined by Nebraska's Mara Griva, who won the 2013 Big Ten indoor title.
Michigan has won three national championships in the distance medley relay (1994, 1998, 2005) and produced 44 All-Americans in the event in program history. Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith were both members of the last two relay teams to compete at the NCAA Championships in 2011 and 2012. The pair helped U-M finish sixth in 2011, and that year each earned All-America first team status; and in 2012 the duo led U-M to a 12th-place finish and earned All-America second team honors. Michigan has qualified for NCAAs in the DMR in 13 of the last 16 years, winning the national title twice and finishing in the top seven on nine occasions.
Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith each competed in the 800-meter run at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Addison qualified for the finals, where she finished eighth to earn All-America first team honors, while Smith took 12th to earn second-team recognition.
Shannon Osika is making her second straight trip to the NCAA Championships in the mile run. Last year, she qualified for the finals, where she finished ninth to earn a spot on the All-America second team list. She ran a time of 4:37.91 at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational last weekend to secure the 16th and final spot in the mile at nationals.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
On getting the news that she qualified for NCAAs ... "I was extremely excited. After finding out that I was the 26th spot, I didn't think I chance because all the people that could scratch would have to. I didn't think that would happen and I was already prepared to go as the alternate for the DMR. At practice on Monday, coach McGuire was talking about how I still had a chance so I kind of got excited about it again. I was getting texts last night saying 'you're in, you're in!' so I checked and I was so thrilled."
On representing U-M at NCAAs as a freshman and sophomore ... "It's really cool and it's such a great opportunity. The older girls on the team and captains make it so I don't feel like I'm younger -- they don't treat me like and underclassmen. It's great to be younger and having this success, but with the team that we have, it doesn't matter what year you are -- it's not that big of a difference."
On what she's learned about racing at an elite level ... "I usually have the same pre-race feeling. I try to stay mentally strong before every race, so while I'm racing it's about how tough I am mentally. Coach McGuire does a good job of preparing us physically. Nationals are a whole other experience. I've learned to stay connected in a race. You have to be alert non-stop. I learned a lot about the focus it takes. People will be making moves and you have to make moves also. I'm getting used to the pain of racing, you just have to be prepared for it an embrace it."
On her race at Notre Dame being a confidence booster heading into NCAAs ... "Last year I peaked a bit earlier at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational, so I was hoping to peak a little later this year in case I made it to nationals. Hopefully I can keep improving and peak this weekend at nationals."
On running a move tactical race at NCAAs instead of going for a fast time ... "It's usually pretty tactical at nationals so I can see it going out slower and then having a really fast finish. At Big Tens I made the decision to take it out fast. I wanted to try and run a fast time because I knew what it would take to make it to nationals. At the end of a race, it's easier to pass people than hold the lead, so being prepared for that is going to help me."
A LOOK AHEAD
Outdoor Track and Field
Friday, March 15 -- at USF Bulls Invitational (Tampa, Fla.), 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 16 -- at UCF Black and Gold Challenge (Orlando, Fla.), 9 a.m.