Weekly #9: Maize & Blue to Split Group for Outdoor Season Opener
Erin Busbee

March 26, 2014

Wolverine Athlete Spotlight: Aaron Howell

Fri-Sat., March 28-29
-- at Raleigh Relays (Raleigh, N.C.), 8:45 a.m./9:30 a.m.
Meet Information PDF | Schedule of Events PDF | Live Results | Live Video (Flotrack)
Fri-Sat., March 28-29 -- at North Florida Invitational (Jacksonville, Fla.), 10 a.m./9 a.m.
Meet Information | Schedule of Events PDF | Live Results | @UNFTrackMeets

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After finishing runner-up at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and tied for 33rd at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the University of Michigan women's track and field team will begin the 2014 outdoor season this weekend. The majority of the squad will compete at the North Florida Invitational on Friday and Saturday (March 28-29) at UNF's Hodges Stadium, while a group of 14 middle-distance and distance runners will also represent U-M at the Raleigh Relays on Friday and Saturday at N.C. State's Paul Derr Track and Field facility. Action in Jacksonville, Fla., will get underway at 10 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday, while competition in Raleigh, N.C., will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Friday and resume at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.


North Florida Invitational: Amanda Adwon, Erin Busbee, Crystal Cole, Joanna Fleming, Abby Grinnell, Aaron Howell, Meghan Lark, Maya Long, Sami Michell, Elly Mioduszewski, Sara Nitz, Cindy Ofili, Chinyere Onimo, Paris Parnell, Kiley Tobel, Emily Wee, Victoria Wesley

Raleigh Relays: Laura AddisonGabriella DeFlorioErin Finn, Corinne FlorieBrook Handler, Jami Hill, Devon HoppeAlex Leptich, Taylor ManettGina McNamara, Jamie Morrissey, Courtney Munley, Shannon Osika, Anna PasternakDanielle Pfeifer, Gina Sereno, Victoria Waidley, Megan Weschler


• 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 and 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).

Michigan will benefit from several of the different outdoor events added to the outdoor lineup:

Freshman Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington), who finished fifth in the pentathlon in her Big Ten Indoor Championship debut, will compete as U-M's only heptathlete this season. She will participate in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, long jump and javelin at North Florida to begin preparing for the full heptathlon.

Michigan has a strong contingent of runners in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, including senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline), senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) and junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), who went 7-8-9 at last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Leptich earned All-Big Ten second team honors in 2012 after finishing runner-up in the steeplechase.

Senior/junior Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), who missed the majority of the 2013 cross country and 2014 indoor seasons due to injury, returned to compete in two indoor meets and will be in full swing for the outdoor season. She finished sixth in the 10,000-meter run at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and also advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, where she placed 28th.

Senior/junior thrower Elly Mioduszewski (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) will begin her second outdoor season in a Maize and Blue uniform after competing for Michigan's club softball team during her first three years at U-M. In her Big Ten Outdoor Championship debut in 2013, Mioduszewski was one spot shy of scoring in the javelin, finishing ninth overall. She also competed in the shot put a year ago and will add hammer throw to her list of events this outdoor season.

Michigan's 4x100-meter relay finished third at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and also qualified to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) and senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) were each members of that relay and will return to lead it this season. Individually, Busbee finished runner-up in the long jump at last year's conference meet and advanced to the NCAA East Prelims. Ofili placed third in the Big Ten in the 100-meter hurdles in 2013 and also moved onto the NCAA East Prelims. During the most-recent indoor season, Busbee and Ofili each won Big Ten titles in the long jump and 60-meter hurdles, respectively. Ofili was also named Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, as she finished top four in the 60- and 200-meter dash.

• Fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) is U-M's only returning All-American from a year ago and also holds the outdoor pole vault school record (4.25m, 13-11 1/4). Tobel has earned All-America second team accolades in each of the last two years, placing 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both 2012 and 2013.

• After redshirting during the 2014 indoor season, junior/sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) will return for her second outdoor season in a Maize and Blue uniform. Last season, she finished fourth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and 16th at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in the 1,500-meter run.

• Fifth-year senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), who did not compete during the indoor season due to exhausted eligibility, will return to the track for her final outdoor season, but she will not be in action this weekend. Smith has finished in the top five in the 1,500-meter run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in each of the three years, finishing fifth last year, second in 2012 and third in 2011. She is also a three-time NCAA East Preliminary Rounds participant. In 2012, she advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she took 13th in the 1,500-meter run to earn All-America second team honors.

• Fifth-year senior Jami Hill (Onalaska, Wis./Onalaska) has been plagued by injury throughout her Michigan career, missing each of the last four outdoor seasons. She will make her outdoor track and field debut in a Michigan uniform this weekend at the Raleigh Relays in the 800-meter run. Hill's indoor 800-meter personal record, which was clocked in 2013, is 2:10.92.

• Several Wolverines will make their outdoor track and field debuts this weekend:

Freshman Gina Sereno (Madison, Wis./West) will make her career debut in a Michigan uniform, while sophomore/freshman Gabriella DeFlorio (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington), freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield), freshman Corinne Florie (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac), fifth-year senior Jami Hill (Onalaska, Wis./Onalaska), junior/sophomore Devon Hoppe (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar), sophomore/freshman Gina McNamara (Northville, Mich./Northville), freshman Jamie Morrissey (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams), freshman Courtney Munley Clarkston, Mich./Mott) and sophomore/freshman Victoria Waidley (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) will participate in their first collegiate outdoor meet at the Raleigh Relays.

Finn will look to continue her early success as a Wolverine during the outdoor season. She captured the 2013 Big Ten cross country and 2014 Big Ten indoor 5,000-meter run titles and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in both cross country and indoor track and field, as well at the conference's Athlete of the Year in cross country.

At the North Florida Invitational, five Wolverines who represented U-M at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships will make their outdoor collegiate debuts, including sophomore/freshman thrower Crystal Cole (Harbor Beach, Mich./Harbor Beach), freshman thrower Abby Grinnell (Sherwood, Ohio/Fairview), freshman heptathlete, Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington), freshman sprinter/jumper Sami Michell (Reed City, Mich./(Reed City) and freshman sprinter Paris Parnell (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Renaissance).

• The Wolverines return 51 of their 82 total points that led them to a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Name Event Place Points
Erin Busbee Long Jump 2nd 8
Sara Nitz High Jump 2nd 8
Kiley Tobel Pole Vault 2nd 8
Cindy Ofili 100m Hurdles 3rd 6
Cindy Ofili, Erin Busbee 4x100m Relay 3rd 6
Shannon Osika 1,500m 4th 5
Jillian Smith 1,500m 5th 4
Taylor Pogue 10,000m 6th 3
Alex Leptich 3,000m Steeplechase 7th 2
Megan Weschler 3,000m Steeplechase 8th 1

Team Captains: Senior/junior distance runner Taylor Pogue(Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), senior hurdler Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and fifth-year senior pole vaulter Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) will serve as team captains for the 2014 season. Smith and Tobel are each serving for the second straight year, while Pogue also represented the U-M cross country squad as a captain this past fall.

Lifetime Teammates: Sophomores Cindy Ofili and Maya Long as well as junior Chinyere Onimo were high school teammates at Huron High School in Ann Arbor. All three compete in sprinting events for the Wolverines.

U-M Family Ties: Sophomore 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). Senior/junior Elly Mioduszewski is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country and track for U-M in 2008 and 2009. Sophomore Hailey Middlebrook and freshman Darby Middlebrook are the only sisters on the roster this season. Senior Amber Smith, fifth-year senior Jillian Smith and freshman Jillian Smith have no relation.


The 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Purdue University from May 16-18.

For the fifth 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 the University of North Florida from May 29-31, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Saturday, April 5 -- vs. California and Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
Wed-Thu., April 16-17 -- at Mt. SAC Relays Multi-Event (Azusa, Calif.) 11:15 a.m./1 p.m. PDT
Thu-Sat., April 17-19 -- at Mt. SAC Relays (Walnut, Calif.), 6 p.m./10 a.m./9 a.m. PDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon (whitdix@umich.edu)