Weekly #16: U-M to Divide Squad Three Ways for Weekend Competition
Kiley Tobel

April 24, 2012

Thu-Sat., April 26-28
-- at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa), 10 a.m./10 a.m./9 a.m. CDT
Live Video | Live Results | Event Schedule
Fri-Sat., April 27-28 -- at Hillsdale College "GINA" Relays (Hillsdale, Mich.), Noon/10 a.m.
Live Results | Heat Sheets | Event Schedule
Sunday, April 29 -- at Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), 1 p.m. PDT
Live Results | Event Schedule

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will split three ways to compete in the Drake Relays (April 26-28), Hillsdale College "GINA" Relays (April 27-28) and Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational (April 29) this weekend.

Meet Breakdown -- The Drake Relays will be held from Thursday to Saturday (April 26-28) at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, which will also be the site of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships June 6-9. Michigan has entered athletes in the Drake Relays in each of the last 12 years, dating back to 2000, as well as in 1998 and 1993.

The Hillsdale College "GINA" Relays will also be contested on Friday and Saturday (April 27-28) at Ken Herrick Track in Allendale, Mich. Action will begin on Friday at noon and Saturday at 10 a.m. This will mark Michigan's seventh consecutive year competing at Hillsdale and its 11th time in the past 12 years.

The Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational will be held on Sunday, April 29, at Stanford's Cobb Track and Angell Field in Palo Alto, Calif. The meet is an elite event designed to accommodate athletes who can achieve either the USA National Championship standards, World Championship A standards or NCAA Division I marks. Michigan will make its second trip to Stanford this season and third to the State of California, after competing in the Stanford Invitational on April 6-7 and the USC Invitational March 23-24.



Drake Relays: Allison Liske, Mary Grace Pellegrini, Emily Pendleton and Erin Pendleton.

Hillsdale Relays: Tofunmi Akeredolu, Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Dana Carey, Joanna Fleming, Shelby Hines, Brianna Jenkins, Chelsey Miller, Chinyere Onimo, Kari Prena, Amber Smith, Ada Unachukwu, Brittani Williams.

Payton Jordan Invitational: Rebecca Addison, Meg Bellino, Michaela Carnegie, Brook Handler, Lindsey Hilton, Alex Leptich, Anna Pasternak, Jillian Smith, Kiley Tobel and Victoria Wesley.

Steeplechase Success -- Sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline), who won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational on April 6, will compete in the event at this weekend's Payton Jordan Invitational, along with freshman Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland). Pasternak and fellow freshman Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) made their 3,000-meter steeplechase debuts at the Sea Ray Relays on April 13. Handler and Pasternak finished in third and fifth place, respectively, in times of 10:51.76 and 11:02.49.

Leptich's steeplechase win at the Stanford Invitational marked her season debut. Sophomore Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) also made her first steeplechase appearance of the season at Stanford. 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 -- Sophomore Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) is Michigan's primary multi-event competitor. Busbee completed her first heptathlon of the season at the Sea Ray Relays (April 11-12), 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. Michigan will not have any athletes competing in the heptathlon at the Hillsdale Relays this weekend. However, in preparation for the Big Ten Championships (May 11-13), Busbee will compete in six open events -- 200m dash, 100m hurdles, 4x400m relay, high jump, long jump and javelin.

Junior/sophomore Sara Nitz (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) -- a multi-event athlete -- returned to the track for the first time since 2011 at the Al Owens Classic (April 21). After competing in just two meets during the 2011 outdoor season, an injury forced her to miss the remainder of the season. Nitz competed in the high jump at Grand Valley State, clearing a height of 1.55 meters (5-1). During her freshman campaign in 2010, Nitz placed 11th in the heptathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. She also participated in the heptathlon at the 2010 Hillsdale Relays.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Several Michigan track and field athletes rank among the top 10 in the Big Ten through the early season, including fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), who owns the top spot in the 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 4
Jillian Smith (R-So.) 1,500m Run 4:21.96 6
Mary Grace Pellegrini (R-Jr.) 10,000m Run 34:23.25 4
Amber Smith (So.) 100m Hurdles 13.74 8
Alex Leptich (So.) 3,000m Steeple 10:11.85 2
Amber Smith, Charlotte Cahill,
Brittani Williams, Jillian Smith
4x400m Relay 3:43.68 9
Kiley Tobel (R-So.) Pole Vault 12-9.50 ft. 6
Ada Unachukwu (Jr.) Triple Jump 41-4.25 ft. 5
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 7

Sensational Sisters -- The dynamic duo of sisters, fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton and junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), has 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 11th 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 (April 14).


Al Owens Classic -- The Wolverines won four events at the Grand Valley State Al Owens Classic (April 20-21). Sophomore Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) took first in the 400-meter hurdles (1:00.76) and placed second in the 100-meter hurdles (14.01). Michigan dominated the field events, winning the pole vault, shot put and discus. Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) won the pole vault after clearing a season-best height of 3.95 meters (12-11.50). In the throwing events, fifth-year senior Allison Liske (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) reached a mark of 15.19 meters (49-10), while junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) threw 53.93 meters (176-11.25) in the discus, each winning their events. [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two ]

Personal Improvement -- At the Grand Valley State Al Owens Classic, two Michigan athletes recorded new personal records. After six meets this outdoor season, 19 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 fell one spot to No. 4 in the fourth Great Lakes Region poll released Tuesday (April 24) 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. 1 Ohio State, No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 5 Indiana, No. 6 Michigan State, 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.

One and Only Home Meet -- Michigan will host its only home meet of the outdoor season with the Len Paddock Invitational on Thursday and Friday, May 3-4. The men's and women's hammer throw will be contested on Thursday starting at 3 p.m., while the remainder of the events will be held on Friday beginning at noon. The men's and women's 5,000-meter run, which was scheduled to begin on Friday at 9 a.m. has been cancelled.

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.

Thu-Fri., May 3-4 -- Len Paddock Invitational (Ferry Field), 3 p.m./Noon
Meet Information