March 26, 2013
The University of Michigan women's track and field team will compete in the Raleigh Relays on Friday and Saturday (March 29-30) at North Carolina State. Competition will begin on Friday at 9:45 a.m. and resume on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Paul Derr Track and Field facility.
Michigan will compete in two non-conventional relays that are not contested at the championship level, with the 4x800- and 4x1,500-meter relays. Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven), sophomore/freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and senior/junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) will each run on both relays, while senior/junior Meg Bellino (Monroe, Mich./Catholic Central) will join them on the 4x800 relay and sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester)will run on the 4x1,500 relay.
Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) will make her first and final outdoor debut at Michigan, running the 5,000-meter run this weekend. Eccleston, a transfer student from Hillsdale College, won the Big Ten indoor mile title and was a member of the distance medley relay that captured the indoor national title.
Two Michigan pole vaulters will open up this weekend, in senior/junior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) and sophomore Victoria Wesley (Marine City, Mich./Marine City). Both vaulters qualified for the 2012 NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, while Tobel advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, finishing 10th to earn All-America second team honors. Tobel owns the school record in the indoor (4.23 meters, 13-10 1/2) and outdoor (4.24 meters, 13-11) pole vault.
Senior Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro) will compete in the triple jump for the first time this season. She finished third in the triple jump at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships. A year ago, she placed seventh at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds.
After two weeks of competition, Michigan has 18 student-athletes and two relays ranked in the top eight in the Big Ten in at least one event (the top eight score at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships). Freshman Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) owns the top time in the 1,500-meter run (4:31.35), while freshman Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) ran the conference's fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles (13.53). Manett will make her collegiate debut in the 5,000-meter run this weekend, while Ofili will run the 100-meter hurdles for the third straight week.
Several different events are contested during the outdoor season that were not during the indoor season. The 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles are replaced by the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles; the mile run is replaced by the 1,500-meter run; and the weight throw is 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, are also 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.
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.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
| Jillian Smith
On the national DMR title setting in ... "It definitely took more than that weekend for it to set in and for us to feel accomplished from it because it happened so fast. When you keep hearing about the school record and all that, it sets in after a while. Then again, you get back into training the next week, and it settles off like it didn't happen. We're finally where we wanted to be, especially the seniors, after four years. I think we're comfortable with that and ready to move on for the outdoor season."
On the transition from indoor to outdoor ... "So far the transition has gone pretty smooth. We're getting back and going a lot of workouts and getting in shape. I think Mike (McGuire) is doing a really good job with us. Becca (Addison) and I started out in the 3K last weekend, and that was kind of a new race, at least for me. It was a nice way to get back in the race mentality but not running on all cylinders yet."
On competing in non-conventional relays this weekend at the Raleigh Relays ... "It's fun I think because I think we all run better off of relays. I think it will be really good practice before Penn Relays because I know we're doing a handful there. It will be good practice with other teams at a higher level. Even though it's not a championship event, it helps you work on your times in the individual legs."
On deciding which event will be her focus ... "I think it depends on how the season plays out. Sometimes you get injuries here and there and maybe sometimes speed is a little bit too much. I think I definitely was a lot stronger last year going in, so I went toward the 1,500 more, but I feel like after indoor I've gotten a lot of 800s in, so it could go either way. It really just depends on how the races go this season and also, with the championships part of the season, who can fit into what area for the Big Ten meet. We have never had this much versatility before. The week before indoor Big Tens, we didn't even know which events we were doing because we were switching people around. And that's a great thing to have on this team, especially when injuries are so common with distance runners -- you have your teammates there to back you up if you're hurt or not having the best season. We have a really good training group here and when you can make it to the finals with your teammates, that's great. Mike (McGuire) is doing a really great job."
On team and individual goals for the outdoor season ... "I think, as a distance group, we're going to work on a lot of speed and strength. One of my goals is to make it through to regionals and then hopefully to nationals -- that's always the season goal. Besides that, I'd really like to see us place higher at Big Tens. If that means doubling or tripling in events, I'll do it -- I just want to be strong for the team for Big Tens."
A LOOK AHEAD
Saturday, April 6 -- vs. California and Virginia Tri-Meet (Berkley, Calif.)
Thu-Sat., April 18-20 -- at Kansas Relays (Lawrence, Kan.), Noon/8 a.m./8 a.m. CDT
Thu-Sat., April 18-20 -- at Mt. SAC Relays (Walnut, Calif.), 1:30 p.m./10 a.m./7:30 a.m. PDT