Week 15: Michigan to Divide Team for Penn, Drake Relays

April 23, 2013

Thu-Sat., April 25-27 -- at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.), 10 a.m./9 a.m./9 a.m.
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Fri-Sat., April 26-27 -- at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa), 8 a.m. CDT
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The University of Michigan women's track and field team will divide its squad for the second straight weekend, sending student-athletes to the Drake Relays on Friday and Saturday (April 26-27) in Des Moines, Iowa, and the historic Penn Relays from Thursday to Saturday (April 25-27) in Philadelphia, Pa..


Drake Relays: Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Sara Nitz, Cindy Ofili, Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Amber Smith, Ada Unachukwu, Alexandria Williams.
Penn Relays: Rebecca Addison, Amanda Eccleston, Brook Handler, Taylor Manett, Shannon Osika, Danielle Pfeifer, Jillian Smith, Kiley Tobel, Megan Weschler, Victoria Wesley.


Drake Relays

Friday, April 26
9:32 a.m. -- Erin Busbee, Cindy Ofili, Amber Smith, 100m Hurdles (prelims)
10:58 a.m. -- A. Smith, Ofili, Busbee, Cahill, 4x100m Relay (prelims)
1 p.m. -- Sara Nitz, High Jump
2 p.m. -- Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Discus
5:30 p.m. -- Erin Busbee, Long Jump

Saturday, April 27
10 a.m. -- Ada Unachukwu, Triple Jump
1:17 p.m. -- A. Smith, Ofili, Busbee, Cahill, 4x100m Relay (finals)
3:30 p.m. -- Erin Busbee, Cindy Ofili, Amber Smith, 100m Hurdles (finals)

Penn Relays

Thursday, April 25
10 a.m. -- Victoria Wesley, Pole Vault (college)
3 p.m. -- Kiley Tobel, Pole Vault (championship)
8:15 p.m. -- Brook Handler, Megan Weschler, 3,000m Steeplechase
8:40 p.m. -- Taylor Manett, 5,000m

Friday, April 26
1:10 p.m. -- R. Addison, J. Smith, Osika, Eccleston, 4x1,500m Relay

Saturday, April 27
4:20 p.m. -- J. Smith, R. Addison, Bellino, Pfeifer, 4x800m Relay


D. Pfeifer Danielle Pfeifer
Cincinnati, Ohio

On her expectations for her freshman season ... "I never really expected the outcome that I've had on the team so far. I told myself that I had a good high school career and I knew coming into college that I was prepared. Being able to train during cross country and not compete while I settled in helped me a lot. I wasn't thrown into competition right away and I got the workouts in and I knew that I could hang with the rest of the team. I know that's a big fear for freshmen coming in, that they can't hang with the pace and it's going to be incredibly hard. Having that time during cross country to mesh with the team has really helped me with track."

On the opportunity to compete at the Penn Relays ... "I'm really excited. The girls always talk about what a great event it is. I know it's a big event but I was never there in high school or anything so this will be my first time. I'm really excited for the opportunity to race with Jill (Smith) and Becca (Addison) and Meg (Bellino). I'm hoping to do my best out there and put out a good performance because it is a big race and it's exciting to be a part of it."

On the team's winning mentality this season ... "From the very start of indoor we were excited. I knew that after last year, when they didn't finish as well as they had hoped, they were focused on getting everyone really pumped for this season. That was really exciting for me as a freshman, seeing the upperclassmen excited. We had great energy going into Big Tens indoor -- we had all run great times a couple weeks before at SPIRE -- and we had momentum going into it, which really helped me as a freshman get ready to race. Everyone was ready to race and compete for Michigan and do really well."

On the positive upperclassmen influence that she's had ... "Jill (Smith) and Becca (Addison) have influenced be from the start. I remember coming on my visit here, I talked with them and I remember wanting to race with them and train with them because they're great athletes and everybody knows that. They've done nothing but help me and be a positive influence and role models for me. They always talk to me before races and keep me at ease, which is important. Being a freshman, I'm still getting used to different races. The strategies that are in college are so different than high school."

On Mike McGuire's guidance in her young career ... "He's been really great. Ever since I came onto campus in high school, we had a great relationship from the very beginning and I knew that he was who I wanted to be my college coach for the next four years and that's never changed. We still have a great relationship -- he always gives me feedback that helps me, whether it's positive or negative."


• The Penn Relays is the longest uninterrupted collegiate track meet in the country.

• Michigan last competed in the Penn Relays in 2011, where the distance medley relay's sixth-place performance highlighted its performances. Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) and senior/junior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) were each members of that relay.

• The last time a Michigan student-athlete won an individual title was in 2009, when Geena Gall captured the Olympic Development mile run, and Danielle Tauro won the college division 3,000-meter run.

• Michigan's last relay victory at the Penn Relays came in 2008, when the Wolverines won the 4x1,500-meter relay and distance medley relay. The winning DMR time of 10:49.58 was the second-fastest collegiate DMR time ever.

• Michigan will compete in the 4x800- and 4x1,500-meter relays, which are not contested at the championship level. The 4x800 relay team will consist of Smith, Addison, senior/junior Meg Bellino (Monroe, Mich./Catholic Central) and freshman Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley). Competing in the 4x1,500 relay will be Addison, Smith, sophomore/freshman Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh).

• Junior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) will compete in her first 3,000-meter steeplechase since April 6, 2012. A foot injury suffered in practice prior to the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships forced her to miss the remainder of the season. Weschler finished 10th in the steeple at the 2011 Penn Relays -- the last time U-M appeared in the meet. She made her championship debut in the steeple at the 2011 outdoor conference meet, where she finished 23rd as a freshman. Her personal-best steeple time is 10:38.17.

• Michigan's 4x100-meter relay clocked the sixth-fastest time in the Big Ten this season of 45.96 at the Kansas Relays last weekend. The same relay combination of junior Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood), Ofili, junior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and senior Charlotte Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington) will be back in action at the Drake Relays. Their time was just .95 seconds off the school record set in 1998.

• Senior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), who took second in the discus at the 2011 Drake Relays with a throw of 54.74m (179-07), will compete in the discus at Drake for the final time in her career on Friday (April 26).

• With just two weeks of regular-season competition remaining, Michigan has 17 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 the top time in the 800-meter run (2:05.74) and 1,500-meter run (4:17.41). Ofili will be in action in the hurdles at Drake, while Addison will be running as part of the 4x800- and 4x1,500-meter relays at Penn.

• 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-Fri., May 2-3 -- at Toledo Invitational (Toledo, Ohio), 1 p.m./11 a.m.
Fri-Sun., May 10-12 -- at Big Ten Championships (Columbus, Ohio)