U-M Women Takes Third at Big Tens Behind Eccleston's Mile Victory

U-M Women Takes Third at Big Tens Behind Eccleston's Mile Victory

Provided by U of M

Site: SPIRE Institute (Geneva, Ohio)

Event: Big Ten Indoor Championships (Day 2)

U-M Team Result: 3rd Place of 11 Teams (89 points)

Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., March 1-2 -- at Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m.

GENEVA, Ohio -- The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team tallied 58 points on the final day of the Big Ten Indoor Championships to place third overall with 89 total points on Saturday (Feb. 23) at the SPIRE Institute. Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) headlined the event, winning the mile run, to lead four U-M runners that tallied 22 points in that event.

Illinois won the team title with 115 total points, while Nebraska placed second with 112 points.

Michigan went 1-4-5-6 in the mile finals to score 22 total points. In her first Big Ten Indoor Championships, Eccleston won the mile with a time of 4:40.66. After sitting in third for the majority of the race, Eccleston made a move with about 100 meters to go and outkicked Nebraska's Jessica Furlan to the finish line. Sophomore Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) (4:43.25) placed fourth after edging teammate, sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott), who set the tone for the race and led until the final straightaway, before finishing fifth in 4:43.67. Junior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) claimed the sixth spot with a time of 4:47.28.

Freshman Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) recorded her fifth personal-best time of the season to finish runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 8.22. Junior Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) matched her career-best time from yesterday's (Friday, Feb. 22) prelims to finish fourth with a time of 8.30, giving U-M a total of 13 points in the hurdles.

In the 800-meter run, Michigan earned a total of 13 points, with runners finishing 3-5-7-8. Senior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) held the lead with less than 100 meters to go but could not hold on. Senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) made a move on the final straightaway and finished third in 2:05.70, while Addison took fifth with a time of 2:06.55. Freshman Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) (2:06.96) and sophomore/freshman Devon Hoppe (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar) (2:07.33) secured the last two scoring positions in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

In the field, senior Ada Unachukwu (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro) recorded a career-best mark of 12.79 meters (41-11.50) in the triple jump to place third and register six points for the Wolverines.

The conference meet concluded with Michigan placing seventh in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:42.85. The relay consisted of freshman Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron), A. Smith, senior/junior Meg Bellino (Monroe, Mich./Catholic Central) and senior Charlotte Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington).

In an attempt to solidify their qualifying spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships, select Wolverines will be in action next Friday and Saturday (March 1-2) at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational at the Loftus Sports Center in Sound Bend, Ind.

Final Team Standings

1. Illinois 115

2. Nebraska 112


4. Penn State 73

5. Ohio State 66

6. Michigan State 57

7. Minnesota 56

8. Wisconsin 54

9. Purdue 36

10. Indiana 33

11. Iowa 11

Event Winners/U-M Finishers (Day Two)

60-meter Dash (Finals)

1. Morolake Akinosun, Illinois 7.32

7. Cindy Ofili, U-M 7.50

800-meter Run (Finals)

1. Vanessa McLeod, Purdue 2:05.21

3. Jillian Smith, U-M 2:05.70

5. Rebecca Addison, U-M 2:06.55

7. Danielle Pfeifer, U-M 2:06.96

8. Devon Hoppe, U-M 2:07.33

Mile Run (Finals)

1. Amanda Eccleston, U-M 4:40.66

4. Brook Handler, U-M 4:43.24

5. Shannon Osika, U-M 4:43.67

6. Megan Weschler, U-M 4:47.28

5,000-meter Run

1. Caitlin Comfort, Wisconsin 16:11.84

13. Shannon Osika, U-M 16:47.05

15. Lindsey Hilton, U-M 16:51.17

60-meter Hurdles (Finals)

1. Breeana Coleman, Illinois 8.20

2. Cindy Ofili, U-M 8.22

4. Amber Smith, U-M 8.30

4x400-meter Relay

1. Illinois 3:33.30

7. MICHIGAN 3:42.85

(Maya Long, Amber Smith, Meg Bellino, Charlotte Cahill)

Triple Jump

1. Mara Griva, Nebraska 13.09mS (42-11.50)

3. Ada Unachukwu, U-M 12.79m (41-11.50)

10. Erin Busbee, U-M 12.16m (39-10.75)

High Jump

1. Emma Kimoto, Indiana 1.80m (5-10.75)

10. Sara Nitz, U-M 1.71m (5-7.25)

-- Erin Busbee, U-M FOUL

-- Brianna Jenkins, U-M FOUL

Weight Throw

1. Beth Rohl, Michigan State 22.17m (72-9)

13. Erin Pendleton, U-M 18.26m (59-11)

21. Joanna Fleming, U-M 16.30m (53-5.75)

22. Kari Prena, U-M 16.01m (52-6.50)

-- Amanda Adwon, U-M FOUL

Q heat winner, qualified for finals q qualified for the finals M - Big Ten Meet Record S - SPIRE Institute record

• Day 1 Results


• With Amanda Eccleston's win in the mile run, Michigan has now won the event in two of the last three years, as Rebecca Addison won the mile in 2011.

• Michigan's third-place finish is its best in four years, as the Wolverines also finished third in 2009.

● Amanda Eccleston earned First Team All-Big Ten honors after winning the mile run. Shannon Osika, Meg Bellino, Jillian Smith and Rebecca Addison joined Eccleston on the All-Big Ten first team list after taking first in the distance medley relay. Cindy Ofili and Kiley Tobel each earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team after finishing second in the 60-meter hurdles and pole vault, respectively.


Cindy Ofili -- 60m (7.50)

Cindy Ofili -- 60m Hurdles (8.22)

Ada Unachukwu -- Triple Jump (12.16m, 39-10.75)

Kari Prena -- Weight Throw (16.01m, 52-6.50)


Michigan Head Coach James Henry

On the team's overall improvement at the Big Ten Championships ... "One of the things I said to our kids is that I wanted them to be patient, but on the other end, I wasn't patient. I expected them to do well, and they did well. We're taking steps forward, but we're not making leaps and bounds. We had a chance at the championships, but time run out and bodies ran out."

On the student-athletes competing for the good of the team ... "That's what's made me happy is that we're back to the Michigan way of always being in a position to win a Big Ten championship. When you want to win as a team, and you have the people to win, you have a chance to win, and we had a chance to win. That's the Michigan way, and that's the way it's been in the past. We've had a few down years in that regard, but our bread and butter, which is our middle-distance and distance, is back. We're moving in the right direction, and I think we're going to get there."

On individual highlights from the meet ... "The team is the most important part. We were in it to win it, and we went after it. I consider it a success because they had the winning attitude. The individual that stood out the most was Amanda Eccleston. She did very well in the 3K and the mile. She had an outstanding weekend for us. She brought some stability and some veteranship to the program, and that caused the other young ladies to step up. On the other extreme, our youngest that stood out was Cindy Ofili. This was her first Big Ten meet, and she stepped up to the plate and did well."

U-M Fifth Year Senior Amanda Eccleston

On winning the mile and finishing second in the 3,000m ... "I was really excited to go out and do that. We had talked a lot about the mile especially. I came in with the best time in the Big Ten so my goal was to win it, but the 3K was a little bit more up in the air. It means a lot, especially since this is my first year in the Big Ten and it's a lot more challenging. I'm really excited to have performed that well."

On the success of the distance group ... "That was very exciting. I think it's really carried over from cross country. We really worked well as a team in cross country and here, everyone is more in their true events and we're able to specialize a little bit more. I know in practice we keep feeding off each other and pushing each other and it's showing in the races."

On helping the team finish third overall ... "That was a big goal of ours, to get up and perform well here. It means a lot to do so well as a team. I know we were hoping for a little higher of a finish, but it's a big improvement for the team. I think everyone came together and performed their best."

Contact: Whitney Dixon