Week 7: Lady Wolverines to Travel to SPIRE Institute for Big Tens
Provided by U of M
Feb. 19, 2013
Fri-Sat., Feb. 22-23 -- at Big Ten Championships (Geneva, Ohio), 10 a.m.
Meet Information/Live Results/Tickets
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Follow along with the action on Twitter by using #B1GTF and @BigTenChamps.
The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will kick off the championship portion of its season at the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-23) at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Competition will begin at 10 a.m. each day. This weekend's event will mark the first conference championship hosted at a neutral site instead of on a Big Ten campus.
The SPIRE Institute was built in Geneva, Ohio, in 2008 to provide a centralized location to host various athletic events on all levels, including this year's Big Ten and Big East Indoor Championships. The GaREAT Sports Complex is the nation's largest track and field center and features an eight-lane 300-meter Beynon track with two full 150-meter straightaways.
• Two Big Ten schools are currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I top 25, including No. 15 Illinois and No. 20 Michigan.
• The Big Ten Network will be on site to catch the action and get exclusive interviews with student-athletes and coaches. The event will air on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, March 5, at noon.
• The Wolverines competed at the SPIRE Institute two week ago (Feb. 8-9). Sixteen different student-athletes recorded personal-best marks at the SPIRE Invitational, nine of which came from the middle-distance and distance events.
Wolverines in the Big Ten Quick Hits
• Michigan has won eight indoor Big Ten team titles, including four in a span of five seasons (2002, '03, '05, '06).
• Fifty-three different Michigan student-athletes have won a total of 79 Big Ten indoor titles (67 individual and 12 relays).
• Michigan has won the distance medley relay in 10 of the last 11 years, including nine consecutive Big Ten titles (2004-12).
• Katie Erdman (2003-06) and Geena Gall (2006-09) hold the most individual Big Ten indoor titles in program history with seven apiece.
• Michigan finished seventh at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships with 57 points.
• After dropping out of the USTFCCCA Division I top 25 for two seeks, Michigan returned to the top 25 with a national ranking of No. 17 on Feb. 12. The last time the Wolverines were ranked that high was the final regular-season poll of the 2011 season, when U-M was also ranked 17th. Michigan is ranked 20th this week in the final regular-season poll, released Feb. 19. The Wolverines are also ranked No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region poll, with 13 student-athletes, as well as the distance medley relay, contributing to the ranking. Athletes who reach minimum predetermined standards in their respective events help improve the team's overall ranking.
• DMR Dominance: Michigan has won the Big Ten distance medley relay title in 10 of the last 11 years and is currently on a streak of nine straight. Seniors Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) and Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) have been members of the last three winning relays and will each compete in the event this weekend. Michigan's DMR ran the fastest time in the Big Ten this season by more than five seconds (11:09.30) two weeks ago at the SPIRE Invitational.
• Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) is the defending Big Ten champion in the 800-meter run. Michigan has captured the last three 800m titles, as senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) won the event in 2010 and '11. Addison was also the Big Ten indoor mile champion in 2011. Overall, Addison and Smith each have five Big Ten indoor crowns.
• Freshman Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) owns the 13th-fastest time in the nation and top time in the Big Ten (8.24) in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking new personal-best times in each of the first five weeks of the season -- 8.54, 8.51, 8.44, 8.26, and 8.24, respectively.
• Senior/junior Sara Nitz (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East), who suffered a season-ending back injury in the 2011 outdoor season and missed the 2012 indoor and most of outdoor season, has returned as Michigan's top high jumper this season. She cleared a personal-best height of 1.75 meters (5-8.75) at the SPIRE Invitational to finish third. She currently ranks sixth in the Big Ten standings.
• Heading into the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Wolverines have 12 student-athletes and one relay ranked in the top eight in the conference in their respective events (the top eight finishers score at championship meets). Four athletes are ranked in the top eight in two events, including Brook Handler (800m, mile), Amanda Eccleston (mile, 3,000m), Shannon Osika (mile, 3,000m) and Rebecca Addison (800m, mile), while Erin Busbee has accomplished the feat in three events (long jump, triple jump, pentathlon).
Wolverines in the Big Ten Rankings
Rebecca Addison -- 800m, 1st, 2:04.01
Jillian Smith -- 800m, 4th, 2:06.72
Brook Handler -- 800m, 8th, 2:10.19
Amanda Eccleston -- mile, 1st, 4:37.33
Shannon Osika -- mile, 3rd, 4:40.28
Brook Handler -- mile, 4th, 4:40.63
Rebecca Addison -- mile, 7th, 4:44.11#
Megan Weschler -- mile, 8th, 4:44.28
Shannon Osika -- 3,000m, 4th, 9:21.09
Amanda Eccleston -- 3,000m, 8th, 9:25.27
Cindy Ofili -- 60m hurdles, 1st, 8.24
Amber Smith -- 60m hurdles, 4th, 8.33
Sara Nitz -- high jump, 6th, 5-8.75 ft.
Kiley Tobel -- pole vault, 1st, 13-10 ft.
Erin Busbee -- long jump, 4th, 19-7.50 ft.
Ada Unachukwu -- triple jump, 4th, 41-1 ft.
Erin Busbee -- triple jump, 6th, 40-8.75 ft.
Erin Busbee -- pentathlon, 3rd, 3,933 points
Distance Medley Relay -- 1st, 11:09.39
# = converted time
• Michigan concluded the regular season by hosting the Silverston Invitational on Feb. 16. The Wolverines recorded 12 top-three performances. Senior/junior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) tied for first place in the pole vault with a height of 4.07 meters (13-4.25). Also winning in the field was senior Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro), who recorded the winning mark in the triple jump with a leap of 11.94 meters (39-2.25). On the track, freshman Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) took second in the 60-meter hurdles (8.39) and 60-meter dash (7.61).
• Family Ties: Freshman Cindy Ofili is the younger sister of former Wolverine, five-time NCAA champion and 2012 Olympian Tiffany (Ofili) Porter (2006-09), as well as Alex Ofili, who played football at U-M (2002, 04). Newcomer Elly Mioduszewski is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country for U-M in 2009. Erin Pendleton is the younger sister of two-time Big Ten champion discus thrower Emily Pendleton (2008-10, 12). Sophomore/freshman Laura Addison and senior Rebecca Addison are the only sisters remaining on the Wolverine roster this season. Junior Amber Smith and senior Jillian Smith have no relation.
• Qualifying Standards for NCAA Championships -- There are no qualifying standards for the championships season. There will be a track indexing standard to delineate the different indexing among flat, undersized, banked and oversized. Qualification to the championships is based on descending-order list for the season. For each individual event contested, the top 16 declared student-athletes will be accepted into the competition. For each relay event contested, the top 12 declared relay teams will be accepted into the competition. [ USTFCCCA Selection Criteria ]
In the Spotlight
Commerce Twp., Mich.
On her training progression ... "Training has been going really well. Last week I did feel a little fatigued, but by the time the meet came around I felt better. Coach Conlon just started our tapering cycle -- he has cycles planned out from the beginning of the year to help with our training. I've been feeling really good and practices have been going really well. I'm going to go from an eight-step this weekend at Big Tens-- that's what I did the past two weekends and it feels really good and really fast. I finally feel ready for the long approach -- last year I tried it out and it didn't work so I went back down to my seven-step."
On having experience at big meets ... "My mindset this year, as compared to year, is completely different. I think I've matured a little bit and I know that it's a huge competition and I want to do really well, but I'm not letting the pressure get to me. I know that I have to execute what I know I can do and what I've been training to do. I think that having those big meets, and having some falters at those big meets is beneficial. Last year, I went into Big Tens thinking I was going to win and I got upset and that was such a learning experience because I went into outdoor season with a completely different mindset. Getting those meets out of the way is hopefully setting me up to do some big things at this meet. I think my training is ready for it, I think I'm mentally ready for it and I'm just really excited."
On bringing the whole team together at Big Tens ... "It's a really exciting time for our team. Since I've been here, we haven't really had a full team effort where everyone is going in knowing what they have to do. I think this year, more than ever, everyone has been building on their performances each week. We're watching people do well in events where we haven't had people in scoring position during my time here. Seeing the performances continually get better really bring a lot of excitement and confidence to our team. I'm really proud of everyone and the progress we've made as a team. I hope that everyone really appreciates this opportunity that we have in front of us because we're in a position to do big things this weekend. We have to do a lot to get the results that we want, but I think we're ready to make it happen."
On helping the underclassmen mentally prepare for Big Tens ... "It's tough because until you go there and feel that pressure, it's hard to explain what it's like. It can really give you positive adrenaline and it can motivate you, but it can also freak you out. As a leader on this team, I'm trying to keep everyone focused on their individual goals and the great things we've been doing all year. We're all feeding off each other's achievements -- we've had so many PRs and so many great performances. I hope everyone takes this opportunity to give it their all, and I know they will. We have some younger athletes that are doing really well, but we also have a lot of experience and I think that will set our team up to do well. A lot of people have been here and they've been to three or four Big Ten Championships and I think that collective experience will help us across all the event groups."
On the biggest change in the program throughout her career ... "I think supporting each other this year and watching our cross country team have the success that they did has really helped bring us together. I think a lot of our success has stemmed from the mindset of coming to practice to work. We see that in the distance girls -- they are some of the most dedicated people I've ever meet. In different event groups, there are hungry people who are hungry for success and want to work hard. Those individuals are the sparks that make everyone want to push harder. Amber Smith has been a great example in the sprint group with her spark and enthusiasm. Every event has that person or people that spark the competitiveness and really get people in the mindset of wanting to work, so I think that's the first thing. After that, it's a matter of everyone knowing that they can contribute in any way. Our coaching staff is great -- coach Conlon has been an incredible addition for our pole vaulting group. Coach Fowler has been amazing the last two years -- her enthusiasm is something we all appreciate. We are all invested in each other and want everyone to do well."
A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., March 1-2 -- at Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m.
Saturday, March 2 -- at Virginia Tech Final Qualifier (Blacksburg, Va.), 10 a.m.
Fri-Sat., March 8-9 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.), 10 a.m./11 a.m. CST