Michigan Women Take Nine of 15 Events in Red Simmons Invite

Michigan Women Take Nine of 15 Events in Red Simmons Invite

Provided by U of M

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Indoor Track Building)

Event: Red Simmons Invitational

U-M Team Result: No Team Scoring

Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Michigan State (Allendale, Mich.), 6 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The 19th-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team produced a dominant showing at the annual Simmons-Harvey Invitational, winning nine of the 15 events contested Saturday (Jan. 19) at the U-M Indoor Track Building. Michigan was joined by the University of Detroit Mercy, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green in the non-scoring event.

The Wolverines opened the day by going 1-2-3 in the shot put, led by senior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), who recorded a throw of 13.31 meters (43-8). Pendleton also finished second in the weight throw with a mark of 17.46 meters (57-3.50).

In the pole vault, senior/junior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) cleared a height of 4.15 meters (13-7.25) to win the event.

Fifth-year senior Tofunmi Akeredolu (Southfield, Mich./Lathrup) recorded a mark of 5.84 meters (19-2) to win the long jump, besting the runner-up by more than a foot.

Senior Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro) had a solid day across the board, winning the triple jump (12.25 meters, 40-2.25), placing second in the 60-meter dash (7.62, career best) and tying for third in the 200-meter dash (25.44). Her mark in the triple jump topped the runner-up by more than five feet.

On the track, Michigan dominated the mid-distance events, going 1-2-3 in the mile run and 800-meter run. In the mile, sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) came from behind to win the event with a time of 4:44.23. Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) (4:45.06) and senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) (4:46.92) followed closely in second and third place, respectively.

In the 800, senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) (2:11.80), sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester)(2:12.56) and senior/junior Meg Bellino (Monroe, Mich./Catholic Central) (2:12.91) each finished within a 1.11-second split to secure the top three spots.

Freshman Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) continued to make an early impact for the Wolverines, winning the 60-meter dash (7.59) and finishing third in the 60-meter hurdles (8.51). Junior Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) won the 60-meter hurdles, matching her career-best time of 8.39, set last weekend at Grand Valley. Smith also set a personal record of 7.72 in the 60-meter dash to place third.

Senior Charlotte Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington) recorded the top time in the 200-meter dash (24.85) to win the event.

Cahill was also a member of the runner-up 4x400-meter relay team that clocked a time of 3:52.34, along with sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), freshman Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) and junior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood). Long also finished second in the 600-meter run (1:37.75) behind U.S. Olympian and former Wolverine Geena Gall, who ran 1:29.89.

The Wolverines will take on Michigan State in a dual meet at 6 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 26) at Grand Valley State's Kelly Family Sports Center in Allendale, Mich.


• Prior the start of the running events, the women's cross country team unveiled its 2012 Big Ten championship banner in a special ceremony.

• Four Olympians who represented the University of Michigan at the 2012 London Olympics were in attendance to be honored -- Geena Gall (USA, 800m), Uhunoma Osazuwa (Nigeria, Heptathlon), Jeff Porter (USA, 110m Hurdles) and Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes (Canada, 1,500m).

• Former Wolverine Geena Gall, who competed for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics, competed unattached in the 600-meter dash, winning the event with a time of 1:29.89.


U-M Head Coach James Henry

On improvements he saw from last week to this week ... "Yes, there were improvements in the results that I saw, improvements in team unity, and I saw improvement in team effort. I've seen results and improvements, and the results are most important for us."

On competing in front of a home crowd ... "That's always the nice part of having a facility where other teams are willing to come -- it makes a difference when the kids get a chance to compete at their own place. Mike (McGuire) has been very cognizant of the fact that you want your home crowd to watch your seniors compete for the last time at their home track."

On individual performances today that stood out ... "The team got better. It's difficult, and it's getting more difficult to see, individually, who stood out, because from the long jump to the triple jump to the 60 dash to the 60 hurdles to the 200 to the high jump to the mile to the 800 meters, all of those performances stood out. We had several great performances, so it's hard to just name a few."

On what he's looking for from the Michigan State dual ... "We just have to get better. We have to tune up the relay. We coaches, especially, have a job to figure out who are going to be our four best legs for the 4x4 relay. We have to decide where our strength is and run with our strength and see what happens."

U-M Senior Ada Unachukwu

On the progression she's made from last year ... "I feel that this year I'm a lot stronger, and I think I've done a lot of preparation for this year. I practiced a lot during the summer time. I stayed here because I had classes, so I practiced a lot here and I just took care of myself, doing what I'm supposed to do on the track in practice. This year I'm really excited because I'm a senior and I want to give it all for my team."

On the team's balance this year ... "I think it helps a lot in practice to have a lot of great sprinters, because when you have great sprinters you push each other. Since we have so many good people this year, we're all really excited because of our potential. I think our attitude for these meets and Big Tens is really heightened."

On competing at home and then getting ready for the dual with Michigan State ... "For me personally, I take the meets like any other practice. I don't like stressing a lot, and I like taking each event as it comes. Being at home, you're used to the track and you're used to how it feels, so I'm really glad we didn't go away for this weekend and it still prepares us for next weekend."


Elly Mioduszewski -- Shot Put (11.45m; 37-6.75)

Liz Sherzer -- Shot Put (11.21m; 36-9.5)

Cindy Ofili -- 60m Hurdles (8.44) (P)

Cindy Ofili -- 60m Dash (7.59)

Amber Smith -- 60m Dash (7.72)

Alex Mathews -- Mile (5:04.96)

Ada Unachukwu -- 60m Dash (7.62)

Meg Bellino -- 800m Run (2:12.91)

Devon Hoppe -- 800m Run (2:14.77)

Amanda Adwon -- Weight Throw (16.06m; 52-8.25)

Contact: Whitney Dixon