Weekly #13: U-M to Go Back to California for Pair of Meets
Maya Long

April 30, 2014

• Wolverine Spotlight: Jillian Smith

Fri-Sat., May 2-3
-- at UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational (Irvine, Calif.), Noon/10 a.m. PDT
Meet Information/Schedule PDF | Live Results
Sunday, May 4 -- at Payton Jordan Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), Noon PDT
Meet Schedule | Performance List | Live Results | Live Video (Flotrack)

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The 20th-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will return to the state of California for a pair of meets this weekend, competing in the UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational on Friday and Saturday (May 2-3) at Anteater Stadium before heading to the University of Stanford for the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday (May 4) at noon at Cobb Track & Angell Field.

The UC Irvine Invitational will be a mix of all event areas for the Wolverines, while the Payton Jordan Invitational will consist of middle-distance and distance runners, as well as senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood)in the long jump.

UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational: Laura Addison, Dana Carey, Joanna Fleming, Corinne Florie, Abby Grinnell, Aaron Howell, Meghan Lark, Maya Long, Taylor Manett, Sami Michell, Elly Mioduszewski, Sara Nitz, Cindy Ofili, Chinyere Onimo, Kiley Tobel, Emily Wee, Victoria Wesley

Payton Jordan Invitational: Erin Busbee, Erin Finn, Brook Handler, Jami Hill, Devon Hoppe, Alex Leptich, Gina McNamara, Jamie Morrissey, Courtney Munley, Shannon Osika, Anna Pasternak, Danielle Pfeifer, Jillian Smith, Megan Weschler

• Michigan moved into the USTFCCCA Division I National Team Top 25 Rankings for the first time since 2009 in this week's poll, coming in at No. 20. U-M's 2009 team was ranked 11th in the final poll and finished seventh at the NCAA Outdoor Championships -- the second-highest finish in program history.

• With the exception of the tri-meet against California and Virginia, sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) has primarily competed in a maximum of two events at each meet so far this season. At the UC Irvine Invitational, she will compete in four events -- the 100- and 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and 4x400-meter relay. Ofili has the ability to score in multiple events at the championship level, as she contributed points in three events at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships. She won the 60-meter hurdle title and finished third in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the 200-meter dash.

• Michigan will run a 4x400-meter relay team for just the third time this outdoor season at UC Irvine. The Wolverines' season-best relay time is 3:48.19, which was clocked in the tri-meet at Virginia and ranks ninth in the Big Ten. The relay will consist of Cindy Ofili, Chinyere Onimo, Sami Michell and Maya Long.

• After winning the first collegiate heptathlon she competed in at the California Invitational Heptathlon (April 16-17), freshman Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington) did not compete last weekend. She will return to action at UC Irvine in the 100-meter hurdles, long jump and high jump as she continues her preparation for the heptathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

• Freshman Sami Michell (Reed City, Mich./(Reed City)has steadily improved throughout the outdoor season, including last weekend when she recorded personal-best marks in the 100-meter hurdles (13.89) and long jump (5.48m, 17-11.75). Her 100-meter hurdle times ranks 13th in the Big Ten, while her 400-meter hurdle time of 1:01.70, which she ran at the tri-meet at Virginia, is 10th in the conference.

• Freshman Erin Finn etched her name into the Michigan record book again at the Mt. SAC Relays (April 18), as she broke a 29-year-old school record in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:41.35 to finish seventh in the Invite Elite section at the Mt. SAC Relays. She also set the school's indoor 5,000-meter record during the recent indoor season, running 15:52.11. Finn will be back in action in the 5,000-meter run at Stanford this Sunday (May 4).

Outdoor Advantages
• Several different events are contested during the outdoor season that were not during the indoor season. The 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles is 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).

Michigan will benefit from several of the different outdoor events added to the outdoor lineup:

Freshman Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington), who finished fifth in the pentathlon in her Big Ten Indoor Championship debut, will compete as U-M's only heptathlete this season. She made her collegiate debut in the heptathlon at the California Invitational Heptathlon (April 16-17), winning the Invite A section with 5,416 points, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten. She won the javelin and shot put and cleared a height of 1.75 meters (5-8.75) in the high jump, which ranks third overall in the conference.

3,000-meter Steeplechase
Michigan has a strong duo in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, including senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) and senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt), who went 7-8 at last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Leptich earned All-Big Ten second team honors in 2012 after finishing runner-up in the steeplechase. Junior Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland), who steepled at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships as a freshman, returned in the steeple for U-M at the Virginia/Cal tri-meet after redshirting the 2013 outdoor season. All three steeplers will be in action at the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday (May 4).

Leptich was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week after winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase in her season debut at the tri-meet against Virginia and Cal (April 5). Her career-best time of 10:04.86 is the second-fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time ever run in a collegiate dual/tri/quad meet, and currently ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the NCAA. Weschler's steeple time of 10:11.56 from the tri-meet ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 14th in the country.

10,000-meter Run
Anna Pasternak made her collegiate debut in the 10,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays (April 17), where she clocked a time of 35:31.09, which ranks ninth in the Big Ten.

Senior/junior thrower Elly Mioduszewski (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) is in her second outdoor season in a Maize and Blue uniform after competing for Michigan's club softball team during her first three years at U-M. In her Big Ten Outdoor Championship debut in 2013, Mioduszewski was one spot shy of scoring in the javelin, finishing ninth overall. She also competed in the shot put a year ago and has added discus and hammer throw to her list of events this outdoor season.

4x100-meter Relay
Michigan's 4x100-meter relay finished third at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and also qualified to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) and senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) are the only returning members of that relay.

Other Key Wolverines
• Junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), who finished ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships, has been focusing on the 1,500-meter run this outdoor season. She currently ranks first in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation with her personal-best time of 4:18.26, which she clocked in the season opener at Raleigh Relays. She also ran the second-fastest 5,000-meter time in the Big Ten at the Mt. SAC Relays (16:04.99). Handler will be back in action in the 1,500-meter run at Stanford this Sunday (May 4).

• Fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) is U-M's only returning outdoor All-American from a year ago and also holds the outdoor pole vault school record (4.25m, 13-11 1/4). Tobel has earned All-America second team accolades in each of the last two years, placing 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both 2012 and 2013.

• After redshirting during the 2014 indoor season, junior/sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) returned to the track for her second outdoor season in Maize and Blue. Her season-best 1,500-meter time of 4:19.20, which she ran at the Beach Invitational (April 19), ranks second in the Big Ten and 12th in the NCAA this season. Last season, she finished fourth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and 16th at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in the 1,500-meter run. Osika will be back in action in the 1,500-meter run at Stanford this Sunday (May 4).

• Fifth-year senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), who did not compete during the indoor season due to exhausted eligibility, made her final outdoor debut at the Beach Invitational (April 19) in the 800-meter run, running 2:17.44. Smith has finished in the top five in the 1,500-meter run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in each of the last three years, finishing fifth last year, second in 2012 and third in 2011. She is also a three-time NCAA East Preliminary Rounds participant. In 2012, she advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she took 13th in the 1,500-meter run to earn All-America second team honors.

• Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) ran a career-best 100-meter hurdle time of 13.08 at LSU Alumni Gold (April 18), which ranks first in the Big Ten and 13th in the NCAA. Ofili placed third in the Big Ten in the 100-meter hurdles in 2013 in 13.30 and also moved onto the NCAA East Prelims. During the most-recent indoor season, Ofili won the Big Ten title in the 60-meter hurdles, en route to being named Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, as she also finished top four in the 60- and 200-meter dash.

• Senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood), the 2014 indoor Big Ten champion in the long jump, currently ranks 10th in the long jump in the conference with a mark of 5.96 meters (19-6.75). She also ranks eighth in the conference in the 100-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 13.66, which she ran at the LSU Alumni Gold (April 18). Busbee finished runner-up in the long jump at last year's outdoor conference meet and advanced to the NCAA East Prelims.

• Sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) has come on strong in her second year and currently ranks second in the Big Ten in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.82, which she ran at the Beach Invitational (April 19). During the 2014 indoor season, she was a member of the distance medley relay that won the Big Ten title and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships.

• Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) will look to continue her early success as a Wolverine during the outdoor season. After opening the season in the 1,500-meter run, she made her collegiate outdoor debut in the invite elite 5,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays, where she set a new school record of 15:41.35. She finished seventh overall and was the third collegian to cross the line. Finn captured the 2013 Big Ten cross country and 2014 Big Ten indoor 5,000-meter run titles and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in both cross country and indoor track and field, as well at the conference's Athlete of the Year in cross country.

Michigan Among the Big Ten
• With three weeks of regular-season competition remaining, Michigan has 11 student-athletes ranked in the top eight in the Big Ten in at least one event (the top eight score at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships).

Maya Long400m54.707th
Danielle Pfeifer800m2:06.822nd
Devon Hoppe800m2:07.578th
Brook Handler1,500m4:18.261st
Shannon Osika1,500m4:19.202nd
Erin Finn5,000m15:41.351st
Brook Handler5,000m16:04.992nd
Cindy Ofili100m Hurdles13.081st
Erin Busbee100m Hurdles13.668th
Alex Leptich3,000m Steeple10:04.862nd
Megan Weschler3,000m Steeple10:11.565th
Aaron HowellHigh Jump1.75m (5-8.75)3rd
Aaron HowellHeptathlon5,416 points4th

Returning Big Ten Scorers
• The Wolverines return 51 of its 82 total points that led them to a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Name Event Place Points
Erin Busbee Long Jump 2nd 8
Sara Nitz High Jump 2nd 8
Kiley Tobel Pole Vault 2nd 8
Cindy Ofili 100m Hurdles 3rd 6
Cindy Ofili, Erin Busbee 4x100m Relay 3rd 6
Shannon Osika 1,500m 4th 5
Jillian Smith 1,500m 5th 4
Taylor Pogue 10,000m 6th 3
Alex Leptich 3,000m Steeplechase 7th 2
Megan Weschler 3,000m Steeplechase 8th 1

2014 Academic Awards Banquet
• Fifth-year senior Jillian Smith was named Michigan's female Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient at U-M's Academic Awards Banquet April 15. The award is presented to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Smith is U-M's sixth Big Ten Medal of honor recipient during distance coach Mike McGuire's tenure and eighth all-time.

• Freshman Erin Finn received the Female Rookie of the Year award, which is awarded to the top freshman student-athlete who has excelled both academically and athletically.

• Filth-year senior Kiley Tobel was the recipient of the Big Ten Conference Postgraduate Scholarship awarded to one male and one female student-athlete from each of the Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education in a graduate degree program. Tobel will be pursuing a career as a physician's assistant upon graduation.


Team Captains: Senior/junior distance runner Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), senior hurdler Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and fifth-year senior pole vaulter Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) will serve as team captains for the 2014 season. Smith and Tobel are each serving for the second straight year, while Pogue also represented the U-M cross country squad as a captain this past fall.

Lifetime Teammates: Sophomores Cindy Ofili and Maya Long, as well as junior Chinyere Onimo were high school teammates at Huron High School in Ann Arbor. All three compete in sprinting events for the Wolverines.

U-M Family Ties: Sophomore 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). Senior/junior Elly Mioduszewski is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country and track for U-M in 2008 and 2009. Sophomore Hailey Middlebrook and freshman Darby Middlebrook are the only sisters on the roster this season. Senior Amber Smith, fifth-year senior Jillian Smith and freshman Jillian Smith have no relation.


The 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Purdue University from May 16-18.

For the fifth 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 the University of North Florida from May 29-31, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Friday, May 9 -- at Toledo Invitational (Toledo, Ohio), 9 a.m.
Fri-Sun., May 16-18 -- at Big Ten Outdoor Championships (West Lafayette, Ind.)

Contact: Whitney Dixon (whitdix@umich.edu)