Weekly #14: Sea Ray Relays Up Next for Wolverines
Tofunmi Akeredolu

April 11, 2012

Wed-Sat., April 11-14
-- at Sea Ray Relays (Knoxville, Tenn.), 12:15 p.m.
Event Schedule/Live Results/Live Video | Entry List

For the first time since 2007, the University of Michigan women's track and field team will return to the University of Tennessee to compete in the Sea Ray Relays from Wednesday through Saturday (April 11-14) at LaPorte Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. Wednesday and Thursday will feature the heptathlon, beginning at 1 p.m. each day, while the hammer throw will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The remainder of the meet will be held on Friday and Saturday, with action starting at 12:15 p.m. both days.

Live results will be available each day and live video will be available on Friday and Saturday beginning at noon.


Athletes in Action this Weekend -- Rebecca Addison, Tofunmi Akeredolu, Meg Bellino, Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Dana Carey, Michaela Carnegie, Ariel Dempsey, Joanna Fleming, Nicola Hallenborg, Brook Handler, Lindsey Hilton, Shelby Hines, Brianna Jenkins, Alex Leptich, Allison Liske, Chelsey Miller, Chinyere Onimo, Anna Pasternak, Emily Pendleton, Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Chloe Prince, Amber Smith, Jillian Smith, Ada Unachukwu, Megan Weschler, Victoria Wesley, Brittani Williams.

Setting the Scene -- The 46th Annual Sea Ray Relays will be held at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium features a new PolyTan PUR surface, which was applied in 2009. The Wolverines will make their first trip to Tennessee for the relays since 2007. Michigan competed in the Sea Ray Relays for five straight years from 2003-07.

Steeplechase Debut -- Sophomores Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) and Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) made their season debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational on April 6. Leptich won section two of the event with a 42-second personal record of 10:11.85, while Weschler took 15th in a personal-best time of 10:38.17. As freshmen, Leptich and Weschler finished 15th and 23rd, respectively, in the steeple at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. In the summer of 2011, Leptich won her second straight steeplechase crown at the 2011 Pan American Junior Championships.

Fresh Faces -- Michigan added 17 new student-athletes to the roster this season -- 17 freshmen and one transfer. Of those 18, nine competed for the Wolverines during the indoor track and field season. Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) highlighted the group of newcomers as the only freshman in the country to advance to the finals of the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She earned All-America second team honors after placing ninth.

Seven Wolverine freshmen made their collegiate outdoor debuts in the first three meets of the season. Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester)was the most-recent Wolverine to make her first career outdoor appearance, running the 1,500-meter at the Yellow Jacket Invitational on March 31. Two redshirt freshman have also made their collegiate outdoor debuts -- Erica Crane (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) and Ariel Dempsey (Jenison, Mich./Jenison).

Among The Big Ten's Best
Several Michigan track and field athletes rank among the best in the Big Ten through the early season, including three who rank first in the conference -- Rebecca Addison (1,500m), Alex Leptich (3,000m Steeple) and Emily Pendleton (discus).

Name Event Time/Mark Rank
Jillian Smith (R-So.) 800m Run 2:06.89 3
Rebecca Addison (Jr.) 800m Run 2:06.96 4
Rebecca Addison (Jr.) 1,500m Run 4:21.15 1
Jillian Smith (R-So.) 1,500m Run 4:25.82 7
Brook Handler (Fr.) 1,500m Run 4:27.05 9
Lindsey Hilton (R-So.) 5,000m Run 16:56.04 9
Mary Grace Pellegrini (R-Jr.) 10,000m Run 34:23.25 3
Amber Smith (So.) 100m Hurdles 13.74 6
Alex Leptich (So.) 3,000m Steeple 10:11.85 1
Megan Weschler (So.) 3,000m Steeple 10:38.17 8
Amber Smith, Charlotte Cahill,
Rebecca Addison, Brittani Williams
4x400m Relay 3:46.24 10
Kiley Tobel (R-So.) Pole Vault 12-8.25 ft. 5
Tofunmi Akeredolu (R-Jr.) Long Jump 19-1.25 ft. 7
Ada Unachukwu (Jr.) Triple Jump 41-4.25 ft. 2
Allison Liske (R-Sr.) Shot Put 51-10.00 ft. 6
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Shot Put 50-10.75 ft. 7
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Discus 179-4.00 ft. 1
Erin Pendleton (Jr.) Discus 172-5.00 ft. 4
Allison Liske (R-Sr.) Discus 157-9.000 ft. 9
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Hammer 186-11.00 ft. 7
Erin Pendleton (Jr.) Hammer 180-3.00 ft. 10

Sensational Sisters -- The dynamic duo fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton and junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) have dominated the Big Ten discus scene over the last three years. Emily won the Big Ten title in 2008 and 2009 and Erin took the crown in 2010. After winning the title in 2010, Erin was named Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year. Erin finished fourth at last year's conference meet and went on to finish 21st the NCAA Championships, while Emily redshirted the 2011 indoor and outdoor seasons.

In their three throwing events, the pair currently owns five Big Ten top-10 rankings. Emily ranks first in the discus, and seventh in the shot put and hammer, while Erin is fourth in the discus and 10th in the hammer.

Best of the Best -- Four Michigan athletes rank among the top 20 in the nation in their respective events. Sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) ranks third in the country in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:11.85. Junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) ranks 20th among 1,500-meter runners with a time of 2:06.89. Leptich and Addison's times are both personal bests. The Pendleton sisters, fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton and junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), rank eighth and 18th, respectively in the discus with throws of 54.66 meters (179-4.00) and 52.55 meters (172-5.00). Each of the four nationally ranked marks were recorded at the Stanford Invitational last weekend (April 6-7).

Last Time on the Track: Stanford Invitational -- Michigan recorded five top-five performances at the Stanford Invitational (April 6-7), including a win in section two of the 3,000-meter steeplechase by sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline). Leptich ran a 42-second PR of 10:11.85, which tops the Big Ten rankings. Fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) finished second in the discus, third in the shot put and fifth in the hammer throw, throwing season-best marks in the discus and shot. Her discus throw of 54.66 meters (179-4.00) moved her into first in the Big Ten. Junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) took fifth in the second-fastest section of the 1,500-meter run, clocking a personal-best time of 4:21.15, which ranks first in the Big Ten. [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two :: Michigan Daily ]

Personal Improvement -- With four meets crossed off the 2012 schedule, 16 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with five improving in at least two events. During the 2012 indoor season, 42 student-athletes recorded new PRs.

In the Rankings -- Michigan remained at No. 4 in the second Great Lakes Region poll released Tuesday (April 10) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). U-M is one of six Big Ten schools in the Great Lakes Region, including No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 Indiana and No. 11 Purdue.

Same Name -- The Wolverines have three sets of sisters on the 2012 team in addition to four other sets of same last names. Sisters Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) and Laura Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) both compete in distance events; Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), and Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), 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 (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), Chelsey Miller (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and Samantha Miller (Edina, Minn./Edina), and Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) and Brittani Williams (Detroit, Mich./Jackson) all share last names but are not related.

Leaders of the Pack -- Fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), senior Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) and junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) will continue to serve as team captains for the 2012 outdoor season. Pendleton repeats as captain for the second season, having captained the Wolverines in 2010, while Williams and Addison were selected to represent the Maize and Blue for the first time.

2011 Outdoor Rewind -- Michigan returns one Big Ten outdoor champion and two athletes who competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2011. Junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) won her first Big Ten outdoor title in the 1,500-meter run at last year's conference championships. The Wolverines were represented by junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) in the discus and junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) in the pole vault at the national meet. Both athletes earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in their respective events.

2012 NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING -- For the third 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. This year's NCAA East Preliminary Round will be held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.

Michigan women's track and field is on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganwomenstrack. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@umichtrack) for up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.

Fri-Sat., April 20-21 -- at EMU Open (Ypsilanti, Mich.)