Week 8: U-M Women to Send 16 to Notre Dame for Last-Chance Meet
Provided by U of M
Fri-Sat., March 1-2 -- at Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m. [ Event Schedule ]
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The 21st-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team will send 16 student-athletes to compete in the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational on Friday and Saturday (March 1-2) in an attempt to secure their spots at the NCAA Championships on March 8-9 in Fayetteville, Ark. Competition will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. and resume again on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Loftus Sports Center.
MICHIGAN COMPETITION SCHEUDLE
Friday, March 1
6 p.m. -- Long Jump (Busbee)
7:45 p.m. -- DMR (R. Addison, Long, J. Smith, Eccleston)
Saturday, March 2
11 a.m. -- Triple Jump (Busbee, Unachukwu)
11 a.m. -- 60m Hurdles Prelims (Ofili, A.Smith, Busbee)
Noon -- Pole Vault (Tobel, Wesley)
Noon -- 60m Hurdles Finals (Ofili, A. Smith, Busbee - if qualify)
12:20 p.m. -- 400m (Long)
12:40 p.m. -- 800m (R. Addison, J. Smith, Pfeifer, Hoppe, Bellino)
1:25 p.m. -- Mile (Eccleston, Osika, Handler, Weschler)
• Qualifying Standards for NCAA Championships -- There are no qualifying standards for the championships season. 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 ]
Michigan in the NCAA Rankings
Rebecca Addison - 800m (3rd, 2:04.01)
Jillian Smith -- 800m (11th, 2:05.70)
Devon Hoppe -- 800m (21st, 2:06.45)
Danielle Pfeifer -- 800m (26th, 2:06.63)
Meg Bellino -- 800m (59th, 2:08.18)
Amanda Eccleston -- mile (16th, 4:37.33)
Shannon Osika -- mile (31st, 4:40.28)
Brook Handler -- mile (32nd, 4:40.63)
Megan Weschler -- mile (64th, 4:44.28)
Cindy Ofili -- 60m hurdles (15th, 8.22)
Amber Smith -- 60m hurdles (27th, 8.30)
Erin Busbee -- 60m hurdles (53rd, 8.43)
Kiley Tobel -- pole vault (15th, 4.22m, 13-10)
Erin Busbee -- long jump (71st, 5.98m, 19-7.50)
Ada Unachukwu -- triple jump (22nd, 12.79m, 41-11.50)
Erin Busbee -- triple jump (64th, 12.41m, 40-8.75)
Distance Medley Relay -- (13th, 11:09.39)
• Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith each competed in the 800-meter run at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Addison qualified for the finals, where she finished eighth to earn first team All-America honors. Addison (2:04.01) and Smith (2:05.70) currently rank third and 11th in the NCAA, respectively. At the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships, Smith and Addison finished third and fifth, respectively, in the 800m and were both members of the winning distance medley relay.
• Kiley Tobel finished second in the pole vault at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with a vault of 4.15 meters (13-7.25). Her season-best vault of 4.22 meters (13-10) currently ranks 15th in the NCAA. At the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, Tobel tied for eighth in the pole vault (4.20 meters, 13-9.5), earning first team All-America honors. She is the current school record holder with a lifetime-best height of 4.23 meters (13-10.5).
• In her freshman season in 2012, Shannon Osika competed in the mile run at the NCAA Championships, qualifying for the finals, where she finished ninth to earn a spot on the All-America second team list. She currently ranks 31st in the mile in the NCAA with a time of 4:40.28. Osika finished fifth in the mile at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
• In her first Big Ten Indoor Championships, Amanda Eccleston won the mile run and finished runner-up in the 3,000-mter run. Her career-best mile time of 4:37.33 currently ranks 16th in the NCAA. In addition to the open mile run, Eccleston will also run the mile leg of the DMR on Saturday. She ran on the DMR at the SPIRE Invitational early this season, when the Wolverines clocked the nation's 13th-fastest time of 11:09.39.
•In her first Big Ten Indoor Championships, Cindy Ofili finished runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles at the with a career-best time of 8.22, which ranks 15th in the NCAA. She has continued to improve, clocking new personal-best times in all but one meet this season -- 8.54, 8.51, 8.44, 8.26, 8.24 and 8.22, respectively.
• 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 21th this in the most-recent poll, released Feb. 26. 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.
• Michigan finished third at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last weekend -- its best finish since 2009. U-M's distance medley relay won its 10th straight Big Ten title and 11th in the last 12 years with a Big Ten meet record of 11:11.41. The relay consisted of Shannon Osika (1,200m), Meg Bellino (400m), Jillian Smith (800m) and Rebecca Addison (mile). Addison and Smith have each been a part of the last four winning DRM's, while Osika has been a member of the last two. Amanda Eccleston won the mile run in her first Big Ten Indoor Championships and also finished runner-up in the 3,000-meter run.
• Rebecca Addison and Jillian Smith now rank tied for second in program history with six indoor Big Ten titles apiece.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
On scoring 10 points for U-M at the Big Ten Championships ... "I was really happy that I was able to do my part as a freshman. I was very happy that I was able to make it to the finals in the 60-meter dash and run a new PR. I didn't run as well as I would have liked in the 60, but I was glad I was able to score a couple points for us. As for the hurdles, I was very happy with a new PR again, and I'm glad I was able to get a medal and represent for Michigan."
On what she learned from competing at her first championship meet ... "Mentally I learned that I had to be focused. I didn't do as well as I wanted to in the 60-meter dash, but I had to regroup and come back for the hurdles and make sure I had the focus I needed to execute, which I did."
On continuing to improve her time each week ... "I believe that it's my training -- my training has really jumped with training with Amber (Smith) and Erin (Busbee), as well as my sister (Tiffany Porter) in the hurdle group. Amber and Erin are hungry to do well and are both great athletes. It was nice because at the Big Ten Championships, me and Amber were right next to each other, just like practice, in the final. Having my teammate next to me helped my nerves go down a little and made me feel more comfortable with the whole environment. My focus at practice with them by my side has really helped me come back and run fast at meets. It comes down to my work ethic at practice and all the behind-the-scenes stuff."
On training with her sister, Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, and having her support ... "I've been watching my sister since I was little, and I've always looked up to her. She's always been a role model for me, so seeing her every day at practice and seeing what she does and how she improves, helps me improve. Training next to her, she's very aggressive in practice so I've always fed off of that. I was really happy with the support from my family at Big Tens -- having them there to watch me also helped me run fast."
On what qualifying for NCAAs would mean to her ... "It would be a huge deal for me to make it to nationals. Coming into college, I just wanted to make sure that the coaches knew I was doing my best, and I really hope I can make it with that elite group."
A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., March 8-9 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.), 10 a.m./11 a.m. CST