Week 14: U-M to Split Squad for Mt. SAC, Kansas Relays

April 16, 2013

Thu-Sat., April 18-20 -- at Kansas Relays (Lawrence, Kan.), Noon/8 a.m./8 a.m. CDT
Event Schedule | Live Results | Meet Information
Thu-Sat., April 18-20
-- at Mt. SAC Relays (Walnut, Calif.), 1:30 p.m./10 a.m./8 a.m. PDT
Event Schedule | Live Results

Social Media: Facebook | Twitter

After a week off from competition, the University of Michigan women's track and field team will send a group of five student-athletes to the Mt. SAC Relays (Thu-Sat., April 18-20) in Walnut, Calif., while the majority of the team will travel to Lawrence, Kan., for the Kansas Relays from Thursday, April 18-Saturday, April 20.


Mt. SAC Relays: Lindsey Hilton, Alex Leptich, Taylor Pogue, Kiley Tobel, Victoria Wesley.

Kansas Relays: Laura Addison, Rebecca Addison, Amanda Adwon, Tofunmi Akeredolu, Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Michaela Carnegie, Lily Clifford, Amanda Eccleston, Joanna Fleming, Nicola Hallenborg, Brook Handler, Maya Long, Taylor Manett, Alex Mathews, Elly Mioduszewski, Sara Nitz, Cindy Ofili, Chinyere Onimo, Shannon Osika, Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Danielle Pfeifer, Amber Smith, Jillian Smith, Ada Unachukwu, Megan Weschler, Alexandria Williams.


A. Leptich Alex Leptich
Ann Arbor, Mich.

On the different training aspects of the steeplechase ... "As a distance runner, on top of what we do for mileage and strength, a lot of strength in certain parts of our legs are important to be excel in the steeple. In the steeple, sometimes luck plays a factor because there is more of a chance of getting hurt, so we do a lot of drills to work on ankles and knees and power in our calves, hamstrings and quads. In terms of our endurance and strength throughout the race, it makes a different practicing those before you actually steeple in a race because when you're tired, you don't just have to finish a lap normally, you have to get your body over a hurdle five times per lap. It's important that we hurdle when we're tired and we lift tired. We have a different workout than everyone else on the team that's tailored toward creating power in our legs. I think the biggest thing with the steeple is making sure all those ligaments and joints in your legs are really strong so you're stable in those areas."

On being ready to race at Mt. SAC after injuries holding her back earlier in the year ... "I sat out cross country and indoor, and continued to train through indoor to get ready. I'm so happy to be back in full force. Going into Mt. SAC, I would like to have another race under my belt because of the competition I'm going to be racing against, but that doesn't lower any excitement I have since I've been waiting since the beginning of indoor to race again. I think sitting out gave me that extra boost of excitement and competitiveness and I'm ready to go!"

On taking advantage of each race before the championship season ... "I think every competition means something. Even though I haven't had the best competition yet this season with steeple, sometimes your best races are when you're alone -- you get to work on form and pace. Every race means something and is taken seriously. When I do get to run the steeple, it being my favorite event and my best event, I don't hold back at all. My first race this season, I made a mistake going out to fast, but I wouldn't take that back, and since I didn't finish at Cal, I have two races to get a time for Big Tens. At Big Tens this year, the heats are split up so I have to get in the fast heat. And hopefully I can get a regional time this weekend because it probably won't happen at Big Tens -- you can't count on that meet in case it's run strategically. Last year I got my regional time the first time I ran the steeple at Stanford, and this weekend should take care of itself -- I'm in the right race, I have the right people to run with, so I just need to go out and try and win it. I just need to stay with the leaders and time will take care of itself."

On learning from her 2012 Big Ten runner-up finish ... "I'm looking for any edge I can get on the girls in that race. The girl who won last year is probably doing all the same things too. It's about the better race on that day and better mentality on that day. We all have the physical talent and ability to win that race, but it's about who makes the right decisions at the end. As good as second place was coming off the year before, it was quite a bitter-sweet position to be in. The decisions I make with a lap or two to go will be key. The workouts we're doing this year to prepare are similar to last year, but the speed and intensity that they're at are nothing compared to last year. We're really practicing at a fast pace and doing all our maintenance drills. This is the first year we modified our workouts in the weight room to steeple-specific stuff. I'm just looking for any edge I can get. I don't know what the other girls are doing, but I know what I'm doing and I'm going to do everything I can do give me that edge. If I can to everything physically to prepare, I know I'm ready mentally after last year."

On having other steeplers to train with in a difficult event ... "As for training partners, this year has been great. Brook (Handler) is doing awesome -- she's great to have around. I can't wait for Anna Pasternak to be back and ready to go. It helps having others in the workouts. With steeple workouts, it's a little harder mentally to push yourself and challenge your brain to commit to that workout and not let the hurdles get in your way. There are a couple other people that are considering steepling, but it's not for everyone. It takes a lot of maintenance -- you can land weird and mess up an ankle, just like I did. It's a crowded race and it's a little riskier than other races. It takes more durability and aggressiveness. Sometimes in flat races, moves are made over an entire lap; in the steeple people try to move before the next barrier, so things are a little bit more messy and you have to be alert at all times."


• Michigan will compete in the state of California for the second time in three weeks, as the Wolverines participated in a tri-meet against California and Virginia on April 6 in Berkeley, Calif.

• Michigan will compete in the 10,000-meter run for the first time this weekend. Senior/junior Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) and junior/sophomore Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich) will run at Mt. SAC, while junior/sophomore Nicola Hallenborg (Summit, N.J./Summit) will compete in the 10K at the Kansas Relays.

• Junior multi-event athlete Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood), will compete in her first full heptathlon at the Kansas Relays. She has participated in open events in three of the first four meets to prepare for the heptathlon. Last year at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Busbee finished fourth with a career-best 5,336 points.

• Michigan will have two groups competing in the distance medley relay, which is not an event contested at the outdoor championship level, at the Kansas Relays. Sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), freshman Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron), freshman Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) and fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) will make one of the relay squads. Long and Eccleston were each members of the 2013 indoor national champion distance medley relay team. The second relay will consist of sophomore/freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott), sophomore Chinyere Onimo (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron), senior/junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven). Addison and Smith were also members of the winning relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

• The Wolverines will also compete in two other unconventional relays with the 4x880-yard and 4xmile relays. Eccleston, Handler and Pfeifer will be joined by junior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) in the 4x880, while sophomore/freshman Laura Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven), sophomore Michaela Carnegie (Beulah, Mich./Benzie Central), junior/sophomore Alex Mathews (Birmingham, Mich./Seaholm) and freshman Taylor Manett (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) will run the 4xmile relay.

• Junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at Mt. SAC. She ran the steeple at the tri-meet with California and Virginia but did not finish the race.

• After three weeks of competition, Michigan has 13 student-athletes, as well as the 4x100-meter relay, 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, while senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) holds onto the top time in the 1,500-meter run at 4:17.41. They will both be in action in their respective events this weekend at the Kansas Relays.

• 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.

Thu-Sat., April 25-27 -- at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.), 10 a.m./9 a.m./9 a.m.
Thu-Sat., April 25-27 -- at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa), 9:30 a.m./8 a.m./8 a.m. CDT