U of M - Ofili Sets Dash Record, Finals in Hurdles; Handler Moves On in 1,500
Provided by U of M
Site: Eugene, Ore. (Hayward Field)
Event: NCAA Outdoor Championships (Day 2)
U-M Team Result: No Team Score
Next U-M Event: Saturday, June 13 -- at NCAA Outdoor Championships - Day 4 (Eugene, Ore.), 2:15 p.m. PDT
EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Michigan women's track and field team began its week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a pair of athletes in competition, highlighted by senior co-captain Brook Handler advancing in the 1,500-meter run and junior Cindy Ofili advancing in the 100m hurdles in addition to breaking the program record in the 100m dash during Thursday's (June 11) second day of action at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.
Though it was the second day of the outdoor championships, it was the first day of action for women. Both Wolverines will compete in the finals of their respective events on Saturday (June 13).
Beginning with the 100m hurdles, Ofili matched her personal-best time of 12.81 seconds. She was seeded second overall and crossed second in her heat to automatically qualify for the finals in her signature event. Her time was fourth-fastest overall.
Ofili finished 11th in 2014 as a sophomore in Eugene and has the opportunity to achieve her first career first-team All-America honors in outdoor competition on Saturday, with the final scheduled for 2:45 p.m. PDT. She continues to inch closer to her sister's school record (12.73) with a full year of eligibility still remaining.
Following the hurdles, Ofili had just minutes to recover in preparation for the 100m dash, slated to begin less than 15 minutes after the hurdles race ended.
Despite not advancing to the final in the dash, Ofili set the new program record of 11.39 seconds, besting Sierra Hauser-Price's 10-year-old school record of 11.41. Ofili finished 18th among the 24-woman field with that time and will earn All-America honorable mention for her efforts. Ofili now owns the indoor 60m and 200m dash records in addition to her outdoor 100m dash record, giving her three Michigan bests in total.
In the 1,500m race, two Wolverines were scheduled to compete, but junior Shannon Osika was unable to race due to a lower left leg injury. This week would have marked Osika's first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Handler ran in the second heat of the evening, finishing fourth in her heat at 4:18.63 to automatically qualify for Saturday's final, which is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. PDT.
At the gun, Handler sat toward the back of the field and began picking off her competitors one by one. With about two-and-a-half laps remaining, she moved into the top five -- perfect positioning for the kick. As the Mississippi State duo of Rhianwedd Price and Marta Freitas began the push, Handler went with the lead group and was among a foursome of competitors to separate themselves from the pack.
Down the stretch, she was able to cruise comfortably across the finish line, knowing a top-five finish would guarantee her a spot in Saturday's final. Handler finished in sixth place a year ago at the NCAA meet and will look to build on her success two days from now in what will be her final race in maize and blue. Sophomore Erin Finn will also compete Saturday, running in the 5,000m race at 4 p.m. PDT.
N O T E S
• Cindy Ofili is the only athlete in the field -- man or woman -- to double in the short hurdles and 100m dash this week.
• Cindy Ofili ran 11.39 in the 100m dash to set a program record, breaking the previous mark held by Sierra Hauser-Price since the 2005 outdoor season.
• With her advancement to Saturday's (June 13) final in the 100m hurdles, Cindy Ofili has a chance to become Michigan's first back-to-back All-American in the event since her sister, Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, accomplished the feat in three straight seasons from 2007-09. No Wolverine has ever earned All-America honors in the 100m dash.
• After a sixth-place finish a year ago, senior co-captain Brook Handler has the opportunity to become Michigan's first back-to-back All-American in the 1,500m run since Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes in 2006-07 (fourth place, seventh place).
Cindy Ofili -- 100m dash (11.39*); 100m hurdles (12.81$)
* School record
$ Ties personal best
Q U O T E S
U-M Junior Cindy Ofili
On how she felt after tying her PR in the hurdles and setting a new program-record in the dash ... "I am elated right now; I'm so happy. I did not make the 100m hurdle final last year (as a sophomore) or during indoor season this year when I fell, so it is a nice little comeback for me. This is exactly what I needed for my confidence. I hit one hurdle and almost didn't make it in (the final), but I did, and I'm so happy."
On how her mentality changes now that she can focus on the hurdles race ... "It is nice. I am not going into the race trying to chase time. I am just trying to focus on myself and executing the cleanest race possible this time. I know everything will take care of itself once I do that."
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard