Weekly #20: Pendleton, Smith, Tobel Set for NCAA Championships
Emily Pendleton

June 4, 2012

Wed-Sat., June 6-9
-- at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa), 2:30 p.m./2:30 p.m./3 p.m./11:30 a.m. CDT

Live Results :: Live Video: NCAA.com (Wednesday) | ESPN3.com (Thu-Sat.)
Championships Central | Ticket Information | Entry List | Event Brackets

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will be represented by three individuals at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships from Wednesday-Saturday (June 6-9). This year's national meet will be held at Drake University's Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

The three athletes include fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) in the discus, junior/sophomore Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) in the 1,500-meter run and junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) in the pole vault. Each Wolverine earned a spot in the meet at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (May 24-26) in Jacksonville, Fla..

The entire event will be streamed live. Wednesday's events will be available via NCAA.com, and Thursday through Saturday on ESPN3.com. Saturday's events will also be televised on ESPNU in a window beginning at noon (CDT).

Name Event Seed Qualifying Time/Mark Personal Record
Emily Pendleton Discus 5 55.08m (180-8.50) 55.85m (183-3)
Jillian Smith 1,500m 2 4:15.08 4:13.94
Kiley Tobel Pole Vault 19 4.10m (13-5.25) 4.24m (13-11)


Emily Pendleton • Fifth-Year Senior • Shot Put/Discus/Hammer Throw • (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore)
The two-time Big Ten discus champion (2008, '09) won the discus at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (May 24-26) with a toss of 55.08 meters (180-8) to earn the No. 5 seed at the NCAA Championships. Pendleton 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 57.09 meters (187-4). Her lifetime-best mark in the discus is 55.85 meters (183-3). Emily redshirted during the 2011 season but placed 10th at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus and ninth at the 2009 national meet.

Michigan has had five All-Americans in the discus in program history. Melissa Bickett was the last to earn All-America honors in the discus in 2004. Former Wolverine Penny Neer is Michigan's most decorated thrower in program history, earning All-America honors in 1981 and 1982. Neer also won the program's first national title in 1982 in the discus and is the only thrower in U-M history to win an individual NCAA championship.

Jillian Smith • Junior/Sophomore • 1,500m Run • (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional)
At the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, Smith finished runner-up in the 1,500-meter run (4:15.08) to earn the No. 2 seed at the NCAA Championships. She also finished runner-up in the 1,500-meter run (4:17.01) at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, earning All-Big Ten second team honors. Smith recorded her personal-best time of 4:13.94 in the 1,500m at the Payton Jordan Invitational on April 29. Last year, Smith's season ended at the regional meet, where she finished 19th in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:07.33.

Michigan has never had a national champion in the 1,500 meter run. The last U-M distance runner to win a national title was two-time 800-meter champion, Geena Gall, in 2008 and 2009. The Wolverines have had eight All-Americans in the 1,500 meter, with the last coming in 2008 (Nicole Edwards).

On her first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships ... "It's really exciting. Going into the season I just told myself to try my best and see how long I could last. The hardest part is going from cross country to indoor to outdoor. I'm really excited that for the first time I feel really great in practice at this point of the season. It's definitely a testament to our coach and my training partners this year. We're right on schedule with what we want to do. It will be great cheering for Kiley (Tobel) because she's returning to outdoor and also Emily (Pendleton), who has been there before. I'm glad I'll be there with them so they can help curb my nerves a little."

On focusing more on the 1,500m this year instead of the 800m ... "We ended up doing more 1,500s this year and I think I was just stronger with time and practice. Our training catered more to the 1,500 meter this year."

On being the No. 2 seed going into the NCAA Championships ... "Most of the field can run really fast times. My time at regionals was just to get into the meet. I definitely feel great about coming back and being able to run a solid time the second day at regionals. I know that no matter what, you have to go in with your head on straight and know that it's going to be probably and if it's tactical, it's going to be fast the last 800 meters. It's going to be fast no matter what."

On continuing to train after nationals ... "After nationals I'll be trying to go for the 'A' standard for the Olympic Trials, no matter how many meets that is. I'll train hard for the next couple of weeks and see if I can hit it and if not, I'll finish up training and get ready for cross country season."

Kiley Tobel • Junior/Sophomore • Pole Vault • (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western)
At the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, Tobel finished in third place. She was only forced to clear 4.10 meters (13-5.25) before the field of 12 advancing vaulters was determined. 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 NCAA Outdoor Championships, she finished 18th with a vault of 3.90 meters (12-9.50), earning All-America honorable mention.

Michigan has never had a national champion in the pole vault. In 2011, Tobel became the first All-American in the pole vault in program history, earning honorable mention. (Note: All-America criteria changed at the start of the 2011 season. Since then, All-America honors have been given to first, second and honorable mention teams for all events, both individual and relays.)


Dramatic Improvement -- In the last year, Tobel has increased her personal-best vault by nearly one foot. Her season best in 2011 was 4.00 meters (13-0 1/2) and she cleared 3.90 meters (12-9 1/2) in her final meet at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. At this year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Tobel set a new personal-best mark, getting over the bar at 4.24 meters (13-11).

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.

Familiar Scene -- This will mark the fourth trip to the NCAA Championships for Pendleton, who also competed in 2008, 2009 and 2010. After redshirting during the 2011 season, Pendleton will return for his final appearance at the national meet. As a freshman, she just missed qualifying for the finals with a 14th-place finish. In 2009, she took ninth and returned to take 10th in 2010. Pendleton is no stranger to Drake Stadium as she got the opportunity to compete in Des Moines earlier this season at the Drake Relays. She finished in the top 10 in all three throwing events, placing fifth in the discus, ninth in the hammer and 10th in the shot put.
Tobel made her first appearance at the NCAA Championships last season, which were also held at Drake Stadium. She finished 18th after clearing 3.90 meters (12-9 1/2).

All-America System -- The USTFCCCA All-America honors system changed beginning with the 2011 indoor season. Since then, All-America honors have been given to first and second teams for all events, both individual and relays. Those individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point at the NCAA Championships will earn USTFCCCA first team All-America honors. The individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall will earn USTFCCCA second team All-America honors. Those who participate in at least a round of the finals site for an NCAA Championship will be listed as honorable mention All-America.

Setting the Scene -- Drake Stadium was also the site of the 2008 and 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Jim Duncan Track, which was renovated in 2005, features a Mondo-surface with eight 48-inch lanes. New venues for the javelin, discus and hammer throws were also constructed behind the stadium as part of the 2005 renovations.

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.

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423