Weekly Release #13: U-M Stays in Michigan for Spartan Invitational

March 30, 2010

Saturday, April 3
-- at Spartan Invitational (East Lansing, Mich.), 9:30 a.m.

The University of Michigan women's track and field team stays in Michigan for the first time during the outdoor season, heading to Michigan State University for the Spartan Invitational on Saturday (April 3) in East Lansing. Morning running will start at 9:30 a.m. with field events commencing at 10:30 a.m.

Staying in Michigan -- For the first time since hosting the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 20), the Wolverines will be competing in the state of Michigan this weekend. U-M heads to Michigan State for the Spartan Invitational on Saturday (April 3). It is one of only three outdoor meets in Michigan for U-M, as the Wolverines head down Washtenaw Ave. for the EMU Invitational (April 17) before hosting the Len Paddock Invitational (May 7-8).

Two Invites, Two Relay Wins -- The Wolverines have had a relay win in both of their outdoor competitions so far this outdoor season, with the 4x100-meter relay winning at the Bulls Invitational (March 19) and the 4x400-meter relay team triumphing at the Stanford Invitational (March 27). The 4x100-meter relay team of Alisha Cole, Jennifer Neville, Alexandria Williams and Shana Vinson crossed the line in 3:41.92 to claim first-place honors. Two weeks ago at the Bulls Invitational, the quartet of Julian Purvis, Cole, Teleicia Rose and Vinson combined for a victory in 46.24. U-M looks to continue its relay winning streak at the Spartan Invitational with the 4x400-meter relay.

A New Start -- After a somewhat disappointing indoor season, the Wolverines have started the outdoor season off with a bang, winning five events through the first two invitationals. U-M has the two relay wins, along with Emily Pendleton winning two discus titles. Julian Purvis is the other Wolverine to emerge victorious, grabbing first place in the 100-meter hurdles (13.72) at the Bulls Invitational. In addition, U-M has 18 top-three finishes in two weekends of outdoor competition. [ Michigan Daily Recap ]

Discus Dominance Runs in the Family -- The discus throw is the specialty of the Pendleton family, with Emily Pendleton winning both discus events this outdoor season. Her younger sister, freshman Erin Pendleton, is right behind her. Erin finished second to her sister at the Bulls Invitational while placing fourth this past weekend at Stanford. Both season bests came at the Bulls Invitational, with Emily's mark of 53.98 meters (177-01) and Erin's best throw of 51.04 (167-05).

Outdoors, Here We Are! -- The outdoor season is officially here! U-M will make its way around the United States, traveling to Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina and Oregon for competition throughout the season. The Wolverines will stay in the Great Lakes State for competition three times, with the first of those three this weekend.

Only At Home Once -- Mark your calendars for the weekend of May 7-8, as it is the only time the Wolverines will be at home during the outdoor season. U-M will team up with men to host the Len Paddock Invitational at Ferry Field.

A Break from the Pacific Time Zone...For a Week -- The Wolverines take a weekend break from the long travel, staying in Michigan this weekend. U-M will be headed back out west next weekend for the Joyner-Johnson Invitational (April 8-10). The Maize and Blue will then make the 2,387 mile jaunt back to Stanford for the Peyton Jordan (April 30-May 1).

Another Trip Out West? -- The Wolverines will hope to make one more trip out west, with the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at the University of Oregon, June 9-12.

An Outdoor Change -- The regional-qualifying system has changed for outdoor competition in 2010. There are now only two regions and it is called the NCAA preliminary round. There were previously four regions: East, Mideast, Midwest and West. U-M will participate in the East preliminary round, May 27-29, at North Carolina A&T State University.

2009 Outdoor Recap -- The Wolverines finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships while picking up a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season. U-M won six Big Ten titles with current Wolverines Alisha Cole, Emily Pendleton and Shana Vinson all picking up victories. Cole and Vinson were part of U-M's Big Ten Champion 4x100-meter relay team, the first time the Wolverines won the event since 1982. Pendleton won the discus conference title for the second consecutive season in 2009.

Hardware Outside -- As a program, the Wolverines have won seven individual outdoor NCAA titles with Geena Gall (two, 800-meter run) and Tiffany Ofili (three, 100-meter hurdles) combining for five of them. Penny Neer won the discus in 1982 with Anna Willard coming away with a victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2007 to complete U-M's titles. Michigan has earned 60 All-America citations, 54 from the NCAA and six from the AIAW from 1981-82.

Trio of Captains and Leadership Council to Lead Michigan -- With the departure of a stellar senior class in 2009, balance is what the Wolverines are striving for this year. That is also reflected in the leadership of the Maize and Blue, as head coach James Henry named three captains, along with a leadership council with the goal of getting as many student-athletes involved in leading the team as possible. Shana Vinson, Emily Pendleton and Danielle Tauro will serve as tri-captains for the 2010 season. In addition, Olivia Both, Alisha Cole, Allison Liske, Carly Schiffer and Christina Solomon make up the leadership council that will help provide leadership and guidance to a young U-M squad.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach James Henry is in his 26th season guiding the Wolverines. He has guided U-M to four top-10 NCAA indoor finishes and three top-ten NCAA outdoor finishes during his tenure. His teams have won 14 Big Ten Conference titles while he has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year 12 times. Henry has coached athletes to nine NCAA individual and three relay titles, earning USTCA Regional Coach of the Year honors three times. His student-athletes have also performed well in the classroom, as he has coached 326 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Henry has had nine student-athletes earn Big Ten Medals of Honor while eight were honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2009. Prior to being named the head coach in 1984, Henry was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1981-84. He was a four-year letterwinner (1977-80) for the Michigan men's track and field team.

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.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, 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. 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. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

Thu-Sat., April 8-10 -- at Joyner-Johnson Invitational (Westwood, Calif.), 5 p.m./1 p.m./10 a.m. PDT