Weekly #15: Wolverines to Stay In-State for Al Owens Classic
MGOBLUE Allison Liske
MGOBLUE
Allison Liske
MGOBLUE

April 18, 2012

THIS WEEKEND
Fri-Sat., April 20-21
-- at Grand Valley State Al Owens Classic (Allendale, Mich.), 3 p.m./11 a.m. [ Event Schedule ]

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will travel across the state to Grand Valley State University to participate in the Al Owens Classic on Friday and Saturday (April 20-21). The hammer throw and javelin will be contested on Friday starting at 2 p.m. CDT. Action will resume again on Saturday at 10 a.m. CDT for the remainder of the meet, which will be held at the GVSU Lacrosse/Track & Field Stadium.

WOLVERINE BITES

Athletes in Action this Weekend -- Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Dana Carey, Ariel Dempsey, Joanna Fleming, Shelby Hines, Brianna Jenkins, Meghan Lark, Allison Liske, Erica Marcos, Morgan McNeil, Chelsey Miller, Sara Nitz, Emily Pendleton, Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Amber Smith, Kiley Tobel, Victoria Wesley, Brittani Williams.

Steeplechase Debuts -- Two Wolverine freshmen made their 3,000-meter steeplechase debuts at the Sea Ray Relays on April 13. Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) and Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland) finished in third and fifth place, respectively, in times of 10:51.76 and 11:02.49.

At the Stanford Invitational on April 6, sophomores Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) and Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) made their season debuts in the steeple. 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. Michigan's only Big Ten champion in the steeple was Anna Willard in 2007.

Multi-Madness -- Michigan has two primary multi-event athletes in sophomore Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and senior/junior Tofunmi Akeredolu (Southfield, Mich./Lathrup). Busbee completed her first heptathlon of the season last weekend at the Sea Ray Relays, finishing third with 4,947 points. She took first place in four of the seven events (long jump, javelin, high jump and shot put) and recorded five personal-best marks. Akeredolu competed in the first four events of the heptathlon, tying Busbee for first place in the high jump. Michigan will not have any athletes competing in the heptathlon at Grand Valley this weekend.

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 3
Jillian Smith (R-So.) 1,500m Run 4:21.96 5
Mary Grace Pellegrini (R-Jr.) 10,000m Run 34:23.25 3
Amber Smith (So.) 100m Hurdles 13.74 6
Amber Smith (So.) 400m Hurdles 1:00.31 9
Alex Leptich (So.) 3,000m Steeple 10:11.85 1
Amber Smith, Charlotte Cahill,
Brittani Williams, Jillian Smith
4x400m Relay 3:43.68 10
Kiley Tobel (R-So.) Pole Vault 12-9.50 ft. 5
Victoria Wesley (Fr.) Pole Vault 12-5.50 ft. 9
Tofunmi Akeredolu (R-Jr.) Long Jump 19-1.25 ft. 9
Ada Unachukwu (Jr.) Triple Jump 41-4.25 ft. 4
Allison Liske (R-Sr.) Shot Put 51-10 ft. 7
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Shot Put 50-10.75 ft. 9
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Discus 179-4 ft. 1
Erin Pendleton (Jr.) Discus 178-2 ft. 2
Allison Liske (R-Sr.) Discus 157-9 ft. 10
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Hammer 186-11 ft. 8
Erin Busbee (So.) Heptathlon 4,947 points 2

Sensational Sisters -- The dynamic duo of sisters, 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 four Big Ten top-10 rankings. Emily and Erin rank first and second in the discus, respectively. Emily also ranks eighth in the hammer and ninth in the shot put.

Best of the Best -- Three Michigan athletes rank among the top 15 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. Sisters fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton and junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) rank 11th and 13th, respectively in the discus with throws of 54.66 meters (179-4) and 54.30 meters (178-2). Leptich's and Emily Pendleton's marks were recorded at the Stanford Invitational (April 6-7), while Erin Pendleton moved up the national charts at the Sea Ray Relays last weekend (April 14).

Last Time on the Track: Sea Ray Relays -- Michigan tallied 13 top three-performances and 14 new personal records at the Sea Ray Relays (April 11-14), including a win in the 1,500-meter run by sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline). Sophomore Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) competed in her first heptathlon of the season, finishing third after tallying 4,947 points. She took first place in four of the seven events and recorded five personal-best marks. Junior/sophomore Lindsey Hilton (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) recorded a runner-up finish in the 3,000-meter run, running an 11-second personal record of 9:54.72. In the showcase events, Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) placed third in the 1,500-meter run in 4:21.96, while Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) took third in the 400-meter hurdle in a personal-best time of 1:00.31. Jillian's time moved her into fifth in the Big Ten, while Amber's time puts here in ninth in the conference. Michigan's 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays also recorded runner-up finishes.
[ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four :: Michigan Daily ]

Personal Improvement -- At the Sea Ray Relays, 11 Michigan athletes recorded 15 new personal records. After five meets this outdoor season, 18 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with seven improving in at least two events. During the 2012 indoor season, 42 student-athletes recorded new PRs.

In the Rankings -- Michigan moved up one spot to No. 3 in the third Great Lakes Region poll released Tuesday (April 17) 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. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Indiana, No. 7 Wisconsin, and No. 11 Purdue.

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 freshmen have also made their collegiate outdoor debuts -- Erica Crane (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) and Ariel Dempsey (Jenison, Mich./Jenison).

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 All-America honorable mention 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.

GET SOCIAL
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.

A LOOK AHEAD
Thu-Sat., April 26-28 -- at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa), 10 a.m./9 a.m. CDT
Sunday, April 29 -- at Payton Jordon Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), Noon PDT