Week 10: Wolverines to Head South for First Outdoor Meets
MGOBLUE Maya Long
MGOBLUE
Maya Long
MGOBLUE

March 12, 2013

THIS WEEKEND
Friday, March 15 -- at USF Bulls Invitational (Tampa, Fla.), 9:30 a.m.
Event Schedule
Saturday, March 16 -- at UCF Black and Gold Challenge (Orlando, Fla.), 9 a.m.
Event Schedule | Meet Central | Live Results

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After finishing 15th at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the University of Michigan women's track and field team will jump straight into outdoor season when it heads south for a pair of meets on Friday and Saturday (March 15-16). The Wolverines will compete in the USF Bulls Invitational on Friday at 9:30 a.m. in Tampa, Fla., before traveling to Orlando, Fla., for the UCF Black and Gold Challenge at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Just 12 student-athletes in the sprints, hurdles and jumps events will make the trip to Florida -- Tofunmi Akeredolu, Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Brianna Jenkins, Maya Long, Sara Nitz, Cindy Ofili, Chinyere Onimo, Amber Smith, Ada Unachukwu, Emily Wee, Alexandria Williams.

WOLVERINE BITES

• Michigan will open the outdoor season in Florida for the second straight year, as the Wolverines competed in the North Florida Spring Break Invitational last March, winning six individual events.

• In addition to UCF, Michigan will be joined by FIU, Miami (Ohio), St. John's and Jacksonville at Saturday's Black and Gold Challenge.

• Fifth-year senior Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven), who sat out the indoor season due to depleted eligibility, will return to the track for her final season in Maize and Blue. She will compete in the 400-meter hurdles and 4x400-meter relay at USF, and the 800-meter run and 4x4 relay at UCF.

• Three Wolverine freshmen will make their collegiate outdoor track and field debut this weekend. Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) will compete in the 100-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash and 4x400-meter relay, Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) will compete in the 200-meter dash and 4x400-meter relay, while Emily Wee (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) will participate in the 400-meter hurdles. Ofili and Long were high school teammates at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, where they were each members of the 2012 MHSAA state champion 4x400-meter relay team.

• Multi-event athlete and junior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) will compete in three open events at each meet to help prepare her for the full heptathlon. She will compete in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles days, as well as the 200-meter dash at USF and the 4x400-meter relay at UCF.

• Several new events will be contested during the outdoor season that were not during the indoor season. The 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles will be replaced by the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles; the mile run will be replaced by the 1,500-meter run; and the weight throw will be replaced with the hammer throw. The 400-meter hurdles, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 10,000-meter run, javelin and discus, as well as the 4x100-meter relay, will also be added to the list of events. The multi-event competition also increases from five events to seven events with the heptathlon (100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, javelin, long jump and 800-meter run).

Family Ties: Freshman 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). Newcomer, Elly Mioduszewski, is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country for U-M in 2009. Erin Pendleton is the younger sister of two-time Big Ten champion discus thrower, Emily Pendleton (2008-10, 12). Sophomore/freshman Laura Addison and senior Rebecca Addison are the only sisters remaining on the Wolverine roster this season. Junior Amber Smith and senior Jillian Smith have no relation.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Long Photo Maya Long
Freshman
Sprints
Ann Arbor, Mich.

On the opportunity to compete on the DMR at the NCAA Championships ... "I was really excited to go -- especially being a freshman, it was such a huge opportunity. I knew they were going to do well regardless if I went or not, but it was really a fun experience, especially because they're all older than I am. Being an All-American as a freshman is great."

On winning a national title with the DMR ... "It took a while to set it because I'd never really been to a big meet like that. After Amanda (Eccleston) crossed the finish line, everyone was screaming and hugging each other. I couldn't believe that we got first and it was really happening. It took until we walked off the track and even after the interview with Flotrack for it to set in. We were all so excited and everyone was just hugging each other."

On what she's learned about competing at the collegiate level ... "It's a lot different from high school. I feel like the biggest thing I've learned is how to pace myself. I definitely went out a little too fast for my 400 at nationals, so I've learned that I have to pace myself and not get too excited right away. Becca (Addison), for example, when she was running, she was in the back for a while and that was kind of scary, but she held her position and made the right move at the right time, so that's one thing I've learned this year."

On whether much changes between indoor and outdoor season ... "Not really. As far as practice and conditioning, it's going to be more challenging, especially because we're going to go outdoors and the weather changes and everything. But because I run the same events indoor and outdoor, I'm sure my conditioning will be the same, just more intense and with more speed work than indoor."

On competing in Florida this weekend ... "I've actually never been to Florida so I'm pretty excited. It's our first outdoor meet on a 400-meter track, instead of the 200- and 300-meter tracks we've been running on. It's always fun transitioning from indoor to outdoor, but I think because it's my first collegiate outdoor race it's going to be a better experience with my team. Everyone is pretty excited, especially for the warm weather."

2013 NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING -- For the fourth consecutive season, the NCAA East and West Preliminary Rounds will be utilized to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Using a descending order list, the top-48 athletes in each event will participate in two rounds (first round and quarterfinals) during the preliminary round. Twelve competitors from each individual event and 12 teams from each relay event will advance from each preliminary championship competition to the NCAA Championships. There are no qualifying marks used during the outdoor season. This year's NCAA East Preliminary Round will be hosted by North Carolina A&T State University from May 23-25, in Greensboro, N.C.

A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., March 22-23 -- at Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational (Nashville, Tenn.), 4 p.m./11 a.m. CDT
Fri-Sat., March 29-30 -- at Raleigh Relays (Raleigh, N.C.), 9:45 a.m./10 a.m.