Weekly Release #21: Pendleton Sisters Compete at NCAAs Wednesday

June 7, 2010

Wednesday, June 9
-- at NCAA Championships (Eugene, Ore.), 5:15 p.m. PDT
Live Results | Live Video | NCAA Championships Site | Schedule

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will have two representatives at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Oregon, with junior Emily Pendleton and freshman Erin Pendleton qualifying in the discus throw. The event is slated for Wednesday (June 9) at 5:15 p.m. PDT.

Pendleton Sisters Advance to NCAA Championships -- The Wolverines will have two representatives at the NCAA Championships, sending junior Emily Pendleton and freshman Erin Pendleton to compete in the discus. Emily Pendleton finished third at the NCAA East Preliminary Round (54.48 meters), while Erin Pendleton took eighth place (51.82 meters) to advance to the national championships. Emily will be making her third consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, while Erin is going for the first time in her Michigan career.

Championships Qualification Change -- The way the Pendleton sisters punched their tickets to the championships changed this year. Instead of four regional sites like in the past, there were two preliminary rounds. The top 12 in each event at each site, East and West, advanced to the national championships.

Where They Rank -- Erin Pendleton had the nation's second-best discus mark during the regular season, throwing a school-record distance of 56.87 meters (186-7) at the Jesse Owens Classic on May 1. Emily Pendleton achieved the eighth-best mark in the country with a throw of 54.86 meters (180-0) at the Len Paddock Invitational on May 8. Jere' Summers of Louisville had the best throw during the season, recording a toss of 57.21 meters (187-8).

Keep the Streak Alive -- The Wolverines have scored at the NCAA Outdoor Championships the past eight seasons, peaking with a third-place outdoor finish in 2007. U-M scored 28 points at the 2009 championships, using a pair of national titles from Tiffany Ofili and Geena Gall to record a seventh-place finish. Overall, Michigan has recorded points at 20 NCAA Championships. If the Wolverines score at this year's meet, it will mark the first time either Pendleton has scored at the NCAA Championships. It would also be the first time either Emily Pendleton or Erin Pendleton earns All-America honors.

Four in a Row? -- The Wolverines have won at least one national title at the past three championships. Tiffany Ofili (100-meter hurdles) and Anna Willard (3,000-meter steeplechase) won titles in 2007, with Ofili (100-meter hurdles) and Geena Gall (800-meter run) each winning back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009. If the Wolverines win a title this year, it will be the first field title for U-M since Penny Neer won an AIAW discus championship in 1982.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do -- It is easy to tell that the Pendleton sisters are related by the way they have each started their Michigan careers. Both won Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year, Emily earning the honor in 2008 and Erin in 2010. Both won the Big Ten discus throw as a freshman en route to earning All-Big Ten honors. Erin and Emily both qualified for the NCAA Championships in their first year as Wolverines. Jeff Arnold of AnnArbor.com took a look at the relationship between the two. [ Emily and Erin Pendleton work, succeed together on Michigan women's track team ]

Sweeping Freshman of The Year Awards -- Michigan came away with both the Indoor and Outdoor Freshman of the Year awards this season. During the indoor campaign, freshman Jillian Smith was tabbed the award winner after winning the 800-meter run and leading off the distance medley relay team to its seventh consecutive Big Ten title. During the outdoor season, freshman Erin Pendleton garnered the award after winning the discus while setting a new Big Ten Championships record. It is the first time in school history that the Wolverines have won both awards in the same season.

Taking Eighth at Big Ten Championships -- The Wolverines equaled their 2010 indoor championships finish at the outdoor championships, finishing with 56 points for eighth place. Freshman Erin Pendleton was the lone Wolverine to win a title, setting a new championships record in the discus (56.31m). Her sister, junior Emily Pendleton, put up 18 points for U-M with a pair of runner-up finishes in the hammer (55.86m) and discus (54.57m) to go along with a seventh-place performance in the shot put. Erin Pendleton was honored with All-Big Ten first-team honors while Emily Pendleton earned second-team accolades.

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 ]

Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week Twice -- 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 (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 who 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 (Feb. 28).

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! ]