Weekly Release #19: Michigan Travels to Big Ten Championships
Mary Grace Pellegrini

May 11, 2010

Fri-Sun., May 14-16
-- at Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships (Bloomington, Ind.)
Championships Central | Live Results | (TV: Big Ten Network - tape-delay Saturday, May 22, 4 p.m.)

The University of Michigan women's track and field team travels to Indiana University this weekend (Fri-Sun., May 14-16) in hopes of improving upon its eighth-place Big Ten Indoor Championships finish. The three-day event kicks off with the heptathlon on Friday (May 14) and concludes with the 4x400-meter relay on Sunday (May 16).

Heading to Big Ten Championships -- Freshman Erin Pendleton has had the conference's best performance in the discus, with junior Emily Pendleton right behind her in second. Allison Liske boasts the Big Ten's third-best shot put mark, while Rebecca Addison's third-place time in the 800-meter run rounds out Michigan's top-three event performers. U-M holds three Big Ten Championships records, coming from Geena Gall in the 800-meter run (2:02.73), Anna Willard in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:57.90) and Tania Longe in the long jump (21-08). [ Big Ten Outdoor Performance List ]

New Surface at Indiana -- The Wolverines will get a chance to run on the newly surfaced Billy Hayes Track at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex this weekend at the Big Ten Championships. The new Polytan surface is the first of its kind in the western hemisphere and is made from the same materials as the track that hosted the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Indiana has only competed on the new surface once, hosting the Billy Hayes Invitational this past Friday (May 7).

Len Paddock Recap -- Battling high winds, intermittent rain and frigid temperatures, the Wolverines held their lone outdoor meet of the season this past weekend (May 7-8). U-M picked up five victories in its final meet before the Big Ten Championships. Allison Liske had a season-best throw in the shot put (15.66m, 51-04.50) in her victory, while Emily Pendleton (discus), Jennifer Neville (400-meter dash), Shana Vinson (200-meter dash) and Danielle Tauro (800-meter run) all won in their lone appearance at Ferry Field.

Senior Send-Off -- At this past weekend's Len Paddock Invitational, seniors Christina Solomon, Rachel Severin, Alysha Valencia, Shana Vinson, Abbey Breidenstein, Carly Schiffer, Ashley Greer, Jenny Morgan and Teleicia Rose all participated in their final home events at Ferry Field.

Overcoming Obstacles -- For his entire coaching career, head coach James Henry taught his student-athletes about overcoming obstacles. When he had an opportunity to heed his own advice, he took it. [ Positive Outlook Helps Henry Cope ]

Last Year at the Big Ten Championships -- The Wolverines just missed out on the Big Ten championship, losing to champion Penn State a quarter of a point. Former Wolverines Geena Gall (800, 1,500-meter runs) and Tiffany Ofili (100-meter hurdles, long jump) picked up victories, while junior Emily Pendleton won her second consecutive discus title. The 4x100-meter relay team of Alisha Cole, Shana Vinson, Casey Taylor and Tiffany Ofili won the Big Ten relay title for just the second time in school history.

Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week Times Two -- After being shut out during the indoor season and for most of the outdoor season, the Wolverines were honored by the Big Ten office two weeks in a row. Freshman Erin Pendleton was selected the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week in consecutive weeks, becoming the only Wolverine to earn the honor this season. After winning the discus at the Drake Relays on April 22, Pendleton was named Co-Athlete of the Week before earning the honor outright the following week after her school-record setting performance at the Jesse Owens Classic (May 1).

Pendleton Sets New School Record -- Erin Pendleton won her second consecutive discus title at the Jesse Owens Classic (May 1), setting a new school record with a throw of 56.87 meters (186-07). Her throw beat the old record of 186-02, set by former Wolverine Melissa Bickett in 2002. Pendleton joins Shana Vinson as Wolverines that have established new records this season. Vinson rewrote the indoor 400-meter dash record (53.86) with her third-place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

Friendly Competition -- Emily Pendleton and her younger sister, Erin Pendleton, push each other to get better while forming a support system for each other. [ Emily and Erin Pendleton work, succeed together on Michigan women's track team ]

TV Time -- The Big Ten Network will televise the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships (May 14-16) on a tape delay on Saturday, May 22, at 4 p.m. [ Big Ten Network Schedule ]

Another Trip Out West? -- After spending two of the first four weekends in California, the Wolverines hope to make one more trip out west, with the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at the University of Oregon, June 9-12.

An Outdoor Change -- The regional-qualifying system has changed for outdoor competition in 2010. There are now only two regions and it is called the NCAA preliminary round. There were previously four regions: East, Mideast, Midwest and West. U-M will participate in the East preliminary round, May 27-29, at North Carolina A&T State University.

2009 Outdoor Recap -- The Wolverines finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships while picking up a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season. U-M won six Big Ten titles with current Wolverines Alisha Cole, Emily Pendleton and Shana Vinson all picking up victories. Cole and Vinson were part of U-M's Big Ten champion 4x100-meter relay team, the first time the Wolverines won the event since 1982. Pendleton won the discus conference title for the second consecutive season in 2009.

Hardware Outside -- As a program, the Wolverines have won seven individual outdoor NCAA titles with Geena Gall (two, 800-meter run) and Tiffany Ofili (three, 100-meter hurdles) combining for five of them. Penny Neer won the discus in 1982, with Anna Willard coming away with a victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2007 to complete U-M's titles. Michigan has earned 60 All-America citations, 54 from the NCAA and six from the AIAW from 1981-82.

Trio of Captains and Leadership Council to Lead Michigan -- With the departure of a stellar senior class in 2009, balance is what the Wolverines are striving for this year. That is also reflected in the leadership of the Maize and Blue, as head coach James Henry named three captains, along with a leadership council with the goal of getting as many student-athletes involved in leading the team as possible. Shana Vinson, Emily Pendleton and Danielle Tauro will serve as tri-captains for the 2010 season. In addition, Olivia Both, Alisha Cole, Allison Liske, Carly Schiffer and Christina Solomon make up the leadership council that will help provide leadership and guidance to a young U-M squad.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach James Henry is in his 26th season guiding the Wolverines. He has guided U-M to four top-10 NCAA indoor finishes and three top-10 NCAA outdoor finishes during his tenure. His teams have won 14 Big Ten Conference titles, while he has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year 12 times. Henry has coached athletes to nine NCAA individual and three relay titles, earning USTCA Regional Coach of the Year honors three times. His student-athletes have also performed well in the classroom, as he has coached 326 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Henry has had nine student-athletes earn Big Ten Medals of Honor, while eight were honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2009. Prior to being named the head coach in 1984, Henry was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1981-84. He was a four-year letterwinner (1977-80) for the Michigan men's track and field team.

Michigan women's track and field is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_track) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

Thu-Sat., May 27-29
-- at NCAA Preliminary Round (Greensboro, N.C.), 10 a.m./11 am./3:30 p.m.