Weekly #19: 11 Athletes to Represent Michigan at East Prelims
MGOBLUE Mary Grace Pellegrini
MGOBLUE
Mary Grace Pellegrini
MGOBLUE

May 22, 2012

Talking Track with Mary Grace Pellegrini Video icon (Facebook)

THIS WEEKEND
Thu-Sat., May 24-26
-- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Jacksonville, Fla.), 11 a.m.
Live Results/Live Video | Ticket Information | Entry List

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will continue its postseason run with 11 individuals representing the Maize and Blue at the 2012 NCAA East Preliminary Rounds from Thursday-Saturday (May 24-26). Competition will begin each day at 11 a.m. at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

The top 48 athletes in both the East and West regions in each event (in descending order) qualified for the meet. The athletes 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. The west regional will be held at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. This year's national meet will be held June 6-9 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

WOLVERINE BITES

Michigan's qualifiers, with event, seed and time/mark:
Jillian Smith - 1,500m (4th, 4:13.94)
Rebecca Addison - 1,500m (13th, 4:17.16)
Alex Leptich - 3,000m Steeplechase (12th, 10:11.85)
Mary Grace Pellegrini - 10,000m (24th, 34:23.25)
Amber Smith - 100m Hurdles (40th, 13.64); 400m Hurdles (26th, 59.22)
Kiley Tobel - Pole Vault (6th, 4.24m)
Victoria Wesley - Pole Vault (38th, 3.87m)
Ada Unachukwu - Triple Jump (30th, 12.72)
Allison Liske - Shot Put (19th, 15.80m); Discus (43rd, 48.29m)
Emily Pendleton - Shot Put (24th, 15.65m); Discus (6th, 54.86m); Hammer Throw (29th, 57.09m)
Erin Pendleton - Discus (4th, 55.42m)

Setting the Scene -- UNF's Hodges Stadium features a nine-lane Olympic quality track with Mondotrack SX surface. All field event areas are within the stadium, including four horizontal jump pits, eight pole vault locations and multiple areas for each throwing event. To round out the package, the facility includes a full 400-meter, three-lane warm-up track. The facility has a maximum capacity of 9,400.
[ Facility Records ]

Five other teams from the Big Ten Conference will join Michigan at the East Preliminary Rounds, including two that are ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I top 25 -- No. 19 Illinois and No. 22 Ohio State. Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue round out the Big Ten schools in the region.

Live Webcast -- The University of North Florida will provide a live webcast of the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. [ Watch ]

ATHLETE BREAKDOWN

Jillian Smith • Junior/Sophomore • 1,500m Run • (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional)
Smith finished runner-up in the 1,500-meter run (4:17.01) and seventh in the 800-meter run (2:09.08) at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. She earned All-Big Ten second team honors for her 1,500-meter performance. In the 1,500m at the Payton Jordan Invitational on April 29, Smith recorded her personal-best time (4:13.94), which currently ranks ninth in the nation. At last year's regional meet, Smith competed in the 800-meter run, where she finished 19th in a time of 2:07.33.

Rebecca Addison • Junior • 1,500m Run • (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven)
The 2011 Big Ten outdoor 1,500-meter champion finished sixth in the 1,500-meter run (4:20.53) and eighth in the 800-meter run (2:10.01) at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Addison's personal-best 1,500-meter time came earlier this season at the Payton Jordan Invitational on April 29, where she clocked a time of 4:17.16, which also ranks 26th in the nation. At last year's regional meet, Addison competed in the 800-meter run, where she finished 14th in a time of 2:06.38.

Alex Leptich • Sophomore • 3,000m Steeplechase • (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline)
Leptich ran to a runner-up performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships -- a 13-spot improvement from the 2011 conference meet. She earned All-Big Ten second team honors for her efforts. Her time of 10:12.72 was just shy of her personal-best time of 10:11.85, which she used to win the steeple at the Stanford Invitational on April 6.

Mary Grace Pellegrini • Senior • 10,000m Run • (Louisville, Ky./DuPont Manual)
Pellegrini placed ninth in the 10,000-meter run at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in a time of 35:35.54. Her personal-best time of 34:23.25 came earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational on April 6. At last year's regional meet, Pellegrini competed in the 5,000-meter run, where she finished 36th in a time of 17:02.88.

Amber Smith • Sophomore • 100m Hurdles/400m Hurdles • (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood)
Smith recorded personal-best times in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdle prelims at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. She clocked a time of 13.64 in the 100-meter hurdles and a time of 59.22 in the 400-meter hurdles to advance to the finals in both events. In the finals, she took fifth in the 100m hurdles and eighth in the 400m hurdles.

Kiley Tobel • Junior/Sophomore • Pole Vault • (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western)
Tobel improved upon her own school record in the pole vault at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, clearing a height of 4.24 meters (13-11) to finish second and earn All-Big Ten second team honors. She remains the owner of the indoor and outdoor school pole vault records. At last year's regional meet, Tobel finished 12th and went on to place 18th at the NCAA Championships with a vault of 3.90 meters (12-9.50). She earned All-America honorable mention for her performance at the national meet.

Victoria Wesley • Freshman • Pole Vault • (Marine City, Mich./Marine City)
Wesley's personal-best vault came at the Len Paddock Invitational on May 4 when she cleared a height of 3.87 meters (12-8.25). She competed in the pole vault at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships but failed to clear a height and did not place.

Ada Unachukwu • Junior • Triple Jump • (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro)
Unachukwu finished seventh in the triple jump at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, matching her performance from the 2011 conference meet. She reached a personal-best mark of 12.72 meters (41-8.75).

Allison Liske • Fifth-Year Senior • Shot Put/Discus • (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East)
Liske qualified for the regional meet for the second straight year in the shot put and discus. At the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, she finished ninth in the discus (48.29 meters, 158-4) and 12th in the shot put (15.09 meters, 49-6.25). Her personal-best mark of 49.90 meters (163-8) in the discus came at the 2011 conference meet, while her career-best shot put throw of 15.66 meters (51-4.50) was recorded during the 2010 season. At last year's regional meet, Liske finished 19th in the shot put (15.33 meters, 50-3.50) and 33rd in the discus (45.73 meters, 150-0).

Emily Pendleton • Fifth-Year Senior • Shot Put/Discus/Hammer Throw • (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore)
The two-time Big Ten discus champion (2008, '09) scored in all three throwing events at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, finishing runner-up in the discus (54.86 meters, 180-0), seventh in the shot put (15.50 meters 50-10.25) and eighth in the hammer throw with a personal-best throw of 57.09 meters (187-4). Her lifetime-best mark in the shot put is 15.70 meters (51-6.25), while her top throw in the discus is 55.85 meters (183-3). Emily redshirted during the 2011 season but placed 10th at the 2010 NCAA Championships in the discus and ninth at the 2009 national meet.

Erin Pendleton • Junior • Discus • (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore)
Pendleton earned her second Big Ten discus title (2010) at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a throw of 55.42 meters (181-10), earning All-Big Ten first team honors. Following her conference title in 2010, she was name Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Pendleton still holds the Big Ten meet record in the discus with a throw of 56.31 meters, which she set in 2010 when she won her first Big Ten title. At last year's regional meet, Erin finished ninth to advance to the NCAA Championships, where she placed 21st in the discus (47.39 meters, 155-5). She earned All-America honorable mention for her performance.

Rewriting the Record Book -- Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) cleared a lifetime-best height of 4.24 meters (13-11) in the pole vault at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on May 13 to improve upon her own outdoor school record. She originally broke the program record at the Payton Jordan Invitational on April 29 with a vault of 4.16 meters (13-7.75). Tobel now owns the indoor and outdoor pole vault records at Michigan after she recorded a mark of 4.23m (13-10.50) at the Silverston Invitational on Feb. 18.

Steeplechase Success -- Sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) finished runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a time of 10:12.73 . In her season debut in the steeple, Leptich finished first at the Stanford Invitational on April 6 in a personal-best time of 10:11.85 -- a 42-second improvement on her season best from 2011. As freshmen, Leptich finished 15th in the steeple at the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. During the summer of 2011, Leptich won her second straight steeplechase crown at the 2011 Pan American Junior Championships.

Sensational Sisters -- The dynamic duo of sisters Emily Pendleton and Erin Pendleton have dominated the Big Ten discus scene over the last three years. Erin and Emily went one-two in the discus at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, duplicating their performance at the 2010 conference when the pair finished first and second. The 2010 meet marked Erin's first of two Big Ten crowns, while Emily won the Big Ten title in 2008 and 2009 before Erin began her career at Michigan. 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 at the NCAA Championships, while Emily redshirted the 2011 indoor and outdoor seasons.

Emily also scored in the shot put and hammer throw at this year's Big Ten meet, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.

During the regular season, Emily won two event titles, including the shot put at the USC Invitational and the discus at the Len Paddock Invitational. Erin took the hammer throw crown at the North Florida Spring Invitational and took first in the discus at the Grand Valley State Al Owens Classic.

Best of the Best -- Four Michigan athletes rank among the top 10 in the east region in their respective events. Junior/sophomore Jillian Smithcurrently has the fourth-best time in the region in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:13.94. Sisters Emily Pendleton and Erin Pendleton rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in the discus with throws of 55.42 meters (181-10) and 54.86 meters (180-0). Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel'sschool-record setting vault of 4.24 meters (13-11) ranks sixth in the east region.

Familiar Scene -- This will mark the second consecutive trip to the regional meet for Addison, Liske, Pellegrini, Erin Pendleton, Jillian Smith and Tobel. Emily Pendleton redshirted during the 2011 indoor and outdoor seasons but competed in the regional meet in 2010 and 2009.

Last Time on the Track: Big Ten Outdoor Championships -- Michigan finished seventh at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with 67 total points. Erin Pendleton highlighted the meet, winning the only individual title in the discus with a season-best throw of 55.42 meters (181-10). She earned All-Big Ten first team honors for her season-best performance. Tobel, Jillian Smith and Emily Pendleton each earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team for their runner-up performances. Tobel cleared a lifetime-best height of 4.24 meters (13-11) in the pole vault to finish second. In the 1,500-meter run, Smith clocked a time of 4: 17.01 to place second. Emily Pendleton finished second behind her sister Erin in the discus with a season-best mark of 54.86 meters (180-0). [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two | Day Three :: Michigan Daily ]

Personal Improvement -- At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, seven Michigan athletes recorded new personal records. Sophomore Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) showed the most improvement at the meet, setting new personal bests in five of the seven heptathlon events.

After 11 meets this outdoor season, 30 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with eight improving in at least two events. Nine of the 11 athletes who qualified for the regional meet have recorded new personal-best marks in at least one event. During the 2012 indoor season, 42 student-athletes recorded new PRs.

In the Rankings -- Michigan is ranked No. 47 in the most-recent USTFCCCA Division l national team rankings released on Monday (May 21) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

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.

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
Wed-Sat., June 6-9 -- at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa), Noon/11:30 a.m./3 p.m./11:30 a.m. CDT