April 3, 2013
The University of Michigan women's track and field team will compete against California and Virginia in a scored triangular meet on Saturday (April 6) at the University of California. Field events will begin at 9:30 a.m. PDT, while the running events will get underway at noon PDT at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley.
The idea behind organizing the tri-meet with Cal and Virginia was to bring together three of the top academic and athletic public institutions in the nation for a competitive, scored event.
The tri-meet will mark Michigan's first and only head-to-head competition of the outdoor season. The Wolverines competed in a dual meet during the indoor season, where they defeated Michigan State, 89-73, at Grand Valley State.
The tri-meet will mark the first of two trips to California for the Wolverines this season. Michigan will return to California in two weeks for the annual Mt. SAC Relays (April 18-20).
Junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) and sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester)will make their season debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The pair competed in the 2,000-meter steeple at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational (March 23), where they finished second and third, respectively, but the 3,000-meter steeple is the event contested at the championship level. Leptich finished runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Handler also competed in the steeplechase at the 2012 outdoor conference meet, finishing 26th, as a freshman.
There will be no heptathlon contested at the tri-meet, but junior multi-event athlete Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) will compete in the high jump and long jump as she continues to prepare for her season debut in the heptathlon, as well as the championships season. Busbee finished fourth in the heptathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in her first time competing in the multi at the championship level.
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 Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) owns the conference's fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles of 13.34, which she ran last weekend at the Raleigh Relays. Ofili also ranks fifth in the 200-meter dash and seventh in the 100-meter dash. She scored in two events at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships, including a runner-up finish in the 60-meter hurdles and seventh-place effort in the 60-meter dash.
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
| Erin Pendleton
On competing in the discus outdoor ... "We have had three meets and things have been going pretty well. I've been really consistent, but my numbers aren't quite where I want them to be but we trained with heavy implements for hammer and discus all fall and all winter, so we are working on form and technique right now and the goal is for it to be most beneficial toward the end of the season. I might not see the results right now, but I should see them later on. All the girls have been doing really well in their outdoor events -- Kari (Prena) has been really close to her PRs and Joanna (Fleming) threw a PR in the hammer so it has been really great."
On her older sister Emily training with her and competing unattached at the same meets ... "It has been really great to have her still around. She is still my training partner and we know how each other throws so it has been really nice. Unfortunately she won't be at the meet this weekend because it is a scored meet, but she will be back with us at Kansas Relays and Drake Relays also."
On having a scored meet before the Big Ten Championships ... "I think it is great to have a scored meet before Big Tens because it gets everyone in the mindset of how they need to compete in order for us to get the win. I think it is awesome for us to have a tri-meet with these schools that we don't get to see very often and they aren't the same competition that we see in the Big Ten. It will be good for everyone to work really hard and try to get the win."
On her personal and team goals for the outdoor season ... "My goal for discus is to win Big Tens again, and I want to score in the hammer and shot put. I think the whole team wants to build off the third-place finish in indoor and we want to win Big Tens outdoor. This meet this weekend will help with that and get us in the right mindset."
On personal and team improvements from last year ... "Working with the heavy implements, my arm is faster at the end so I have a better finish. It seems to be a lot more consistent because you know you are there and you are going to pop really far throws. It makes it more strength specific so instead of going to the weight room and you are doing the different exercises, you are doing them specific to our technique. As far as the team, from last year we have more people in the sprints so that will be more helpful when it comes to the Big Tens. We have a really solid distance team like we always have and we have more depth so that is going to be really crucial."
A LOOK AHEAD
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