Weekly Release #11: Wolverines to Open Outdoor Season in Florida

March 15, 2011

Friday, March 18 -- at Bulls Invitational (Tampa, Fla.), 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 19 -- at UCF Challenge (Orlando, Fla.), 9 a.m.

The University of Michigan women's track and field team begins its transition to the outdoor season this weekend, heading to Florida for two meets. The Wolverines will participate in most of the events on Friday (March 18) at the Bulls Invitational at the USF Track and Field Stadium in Tampa before sticking to sprints and field events on Saturday (March 19) at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge at the UCF Track and Soccer Complex in Orlando. U-M is taking 26 athletes to participate this weekend.


Outdoors, Here We Come! -- This weekend's competitions mark the beginning of the outdoor season for the Wolverines, who are coming off a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and an 18th-place showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Events competed outdoors that are not held indoors are the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 1,500-meter run, 3,000-meter steeplechase, hammer throw, discus, javelin and heptathlon.

On Tap at the Bulls Invite -- The first of Michigan's two events this weekend, the Bulls Invitational on Friday (March 18) will begin with the hammer throw at 9:30 a.m., with the 3,000-meter run kicking off the running portion at 2:30 p.m. Running will continue on a rolling schedule. The Wolverines will have participants in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, 1,500-meter run, 3,000-meter run, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter relay, high jump, pole vault, long jump, shot put, discus, hammer throw and javelin. In all, 26 Wolverines will participate on Friday.

At the UCF Black and Gold Challenge -- The Wolverines will stick to the sprints and field events on Saturday (March 19) at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge. U-M will participate in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, high jump, pole vault, long jump, shot put, discus, hammer throw and javelin. Javelin is the first field event at 9 a.m., with running beginning with the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 1:30 p.m. The rest of the running events will be on a rolling schedule. Other competing schools include UCF, Florida, Jacksonville and Texas.

Heading to the Sunshine State -- The following Wolverines will be in action this weekend: Charlotte Cahill, Erin Busbee, Ada Unachukwu, Shelby Hines, Brittani Williams, Meg Bellino, Chloe Prince, Lindsey Hilton, Alex Leptich, Kaitlyn Patterson, Megan Weschler, Tofunmi Akeredolu, Taylor Moore-Willis, Jennifer Neville, Amber Smith, Alexandria Williams, Julian Purvis, Amber Smith, Lauren Young, Sara Nitz, Andrea Marcos, Kiley Tobel, Allison Liske, Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Alisha Cole and Joanna Fleming.

Let's Make It Like Indoors -- During the indoor season, Michigan improved its 2010 Big Ten finish by four spots in 2011. The Wolverines finished eighth during 2010 before jumping to No. 4 at this year's championships. During last year's outdoor season, the Maize and Blue also finished eighth and will be looking for similar improvement at this year's championship meet.

Success at NCAA Championships -- The distance medley relay team of senior Danielle Tauro (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), fifth-year senior Alisha Cole (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), sophomore Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) and sophomore Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) combined for a sixth-place finish (11:07.38) to all earn All-America first team honors. The next evening, Smith finished runner-up in the 800-meter run, moving from fifth to second the final lap for a time of 2:04.78. Addison took eighth in the event in 2:07.68 as the sophomore duo picked up the first individual All-America honors of their career. Michigan scored 12 points, finishing 18th at the two-day meet.

All-America Count -- Michigan picked up seven All-America honors at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, six of which were first-team honors. The DMR team of Danielle Tauro, Alisha Cole, Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith all earned first-team honors with their sixth-place finish with Addison and Smith earning individual recognition in the 800-meter run. Tauro was tabbed as a second-team All-American with her 16th-place finish in the mile.

All-America Changes -- Beginning with the 2011 indoor season, USTFCCCA All-America honors will be assigned into first and second teams for all events, both individual and relays. Those individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point at the NCAA Championships will earn USTFCCCA first team All-America honors. The individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall will earn USTFCCCA second team All-America honors. Those who participate in at least a round of the finals site for an NCAA Championship will be listed as honorable mention All-America.

Fourth at Big Ten Championships, First at NCAAs -- The Wolverines finished fourth at the Big Ten Indoor Championships but were the highest-finishing Big Ten squad at the NCAA meet. Michigan's 12 points gave it an 18th-place finish, making the Wolverines the only conference team to finish in the top 25. Indiana and Wisconsin were the next highest finishing Big Ten schools, tying for 36th with five points.

Big Ten Finishes
18. Michigan - 12 points
36. Indiana, Wisconsin - 5 points
40. Ohio State - 4 points
45. Penn State - 3 points
50. Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota - 2 points
57. Michigan State - 1 point

McGuire Named Great Lakes Assistant Coach of the Year -- Associate head coach Mike McGuire was named the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Assistant Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career after helping Michigan to a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. McGuire's athletes won two individual titles along with Michigan's eighth consecutive win in the distance medley relay at the Championships. [ Release ]

Taking Fourth at the Big Ten Championships -- The Wolverines improved their 2010 finish by four spots, taking fourth at this season's Big Ten Championships with 68.5 points. U-M won the distance medley relay with Jillian Smith defending her crown in the 800-meter run and Rebecca Addison winning her first conference title with a victory in the mile. Smith, Addison, Alisha Cole and Danielle Tauro all earned All-Big Ten first team honors. The following athletes scored points for Michigan:

Tofunmi Akeredolu: Pentathlon
Rebecca Addison: DMR, mile
Erin Busbee: Triple jump, long jump
Alisha Cole: DMR, 200-meter dash, 4x400-meter relay
Jennifer Neville: 4x400-meter relay
Kaitlyn Patterson: 5,000-meter run
Taylor Pogue: 5,000-meter run
Julian Purvis: 60-meter hurdles
Jillian Smith: DMR, 800-meter run
Danielle Tauro: DMR, mile
Kiley Tobel: Pole vault
Ada Unachukwu: Triple jump
Brittani Williams: 600-meter run, 4x400-meter relay
Alexandria Williams: 800-meter run, 4x400-meter relay

Trio of Captains to Lead U-M -- Alisha Cole, Allison Liske and Danielle Tauro will serve as captains for the 2011 season. Tauro repeats as captain for the second consecutive season while Cole and Liske were chosen by their teammates for the first time. [ Release ]

Who is Back -- The Wolverines return 22 letterwinners from last year's team that picked up a pair of eighth-place finishes at both the 2010 Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Michigan swept both Freshman of the Year awards with sophomores Jillian Smith and Erin Pendleton earning the honors. Smith (indoor 800-meter run) and Pendleton (outdoor discus throw) were the only Wolverines to win individual Big Ten championships during 2010. The Wolverines won their seventh consecutive distance medley relay title and return Smith, Danielle Tauro and sophomore Rebecca Addison from that team.

Fresh Faces -- Michigan has 20 new student-athletes to the roster this season. Of those 20, 10 competed for the Wolverines during the cross country season. Michigan finished runner-up at the 2010 Big Ten Cross Country Championships and 22nd at the NCAA Championships during the cross country campaign.

Same Name -- The Wolverines have three sets of sisters on the 2011 team in addition to three other sets of same last names. Sisters Andrea Marcos (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington) and Erica Marcos (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington) both compete in pole vault; Emily Pendleton and Erin Pendleton both throw; and Chloe Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) and Nicole Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) both run mid-distance for the Wolverines. In addition, Alicia Patterson (DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt) and Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and Jillian Smith and Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) and Brittani Williams (Detroit, Mich./Jackson) all share last names but are not related.

For the second consecutive season, the East and West Preliminary Championship competition 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.

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. Each of our varsity athletic teams will have a Record Book and a Yearbook. 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. [ Publications ]

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.

Michigan women's track and field is also on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganwomenstrack. Facebook is a social network service and website with more than 500 million active users.

Thu-Sat., March 24-26 -- at Florida State Relays (Tallahassee, Fla.), 3 p.m./9 a.m.
Fri-Sat., March 25-26 -- at Stanford Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), 9 a.m. PDT