U of M Women - Week 18: U-M to Send 17 to NCAA East Prelims in N.C.

U of M Women - Week 18: U-M to Send 17 to NCAA East Prelims in N.C.

Provided by U of M

May 21, 2013

Thu-Sat., May 23-25 -- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Greensboro, N.C.), 10 a.m.
Championship Central

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The University of Michigan women's track and field team will represented by 15 individuals, as well as its 4x100-meter relay, at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, which will be hosted by North Carolina A&T State University from Thursday through Saturday (May 23-25). Action will begin each at 10 a.m. at Irwin Belk Track.

The top 48 athletes in both the east and west regions in each event (in descending order), as well as the top 24 relays from each region, qualified for the meet. The athletes will participate in two rounds (first round and quarterfinals) during the preliminary round. Twelve competitors from each individual event and 12 teams from each relay event will advance from each preliminary championship competition to the NCAA Championships. This year's national meet will be held from June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.

Five other teams from the Big Ten Conference will join Michigan at the East Preliminary Rounds, including one which is ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I top 25 with No. 24 Michigan State. Penn State, Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue round out the Big Ten schools in the east region.

Michigan Qualifiers
Name -- Event (Seed, Time/Mark)
Meg Bellino -- 800m (40, 2:07.91)
Rebecca Addison -- 1,500m (10, 4:17.41)
Amanda Eccleston -- 1,500m (11, 4:17.49)
Shannon Osika -- 1,500m (14, 4:19.00)
Jillian Smith -- 1,500m (31, 4:21.78)
Brook Handler -- 1,500m (35, 4:22.55) 
Alex Leptich -- 3,000m Steeplechase (19, 10:11.85)
Megan Weschler -- 3,000m Steeplechase (28, 10:26.30)
Taylor Pogue -- 10,000m (34, 34:48.15)
Cindy Ofili -- 100m Hurdles (13, 13.30)
Amber Smith -- 100m Hurdles (38, 13.64)
4x100m Relay -- (21, 45.26)
Kiley Tobel -- Pole Vault (17, 4.07m)
Erin Busbee -- Long Jump (28, 6.13m)
Ada Unachukwu -- Triple Jump (40, 12.54)
Erin Pendleton -- Discus (12, 52.03m) 

Rebecca Addison • Senior • 1,500m • Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven
Addison will be making her fourth appearance in the regional meet and second in the 1,500-meter run, as she competed in the 800-meter run as a freshman and sophomore. In 2012, she finished 16th in the 1,500m. At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Addison finished third in the 1,500m and eighth in the 800m. Her fastest 1,500m time of the season of 4:17.41, which is just .25 seconds off her personal best, came at the tri-meet with Cal and Virginia (April 6).

Meg Bellino • Senior/Junior • 800m • Monroe, Mich./Catholic Central
Bellino will be making her career debut at the NCAA East Prelims in the 800-meter run. She finished 13th in the 800m at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Her career-best time of 2:07.91 was clocked at the Toledo Invitational just a week before the conference meet (May 3).

Erin Busbee • Junior • Long Jump • Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood
Busbee will be making her career debut at the regional meet, competing in the long jump and as a member of the 4x100-meter relay. Her career-best mark of 6.13 meters (20-1.5) came at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, where she finished second to earn All-Big Ten second team honors. Busbee was a 2013 All-America first teamer in the indoor long jump, placing sixth at the NCAA Championships.

Amanda Eccleston • Fifth-Year Senior • 1,500m • Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh
Eccleston, who transferred from Hillsdale College for her final year of eligibility, will be making her career debut at the NCAA Division I East Prelims. In her first season in Maize and Blue, she captured the 2013 Big Ten outdoor 1,500-meter and indoor mile titles. Her personal-best 1,500m mark of 4:17.49 is a converted mark, which was recorded in the mile run at the Penn Relays (April 25). While at Hillsdale in 2012, Eccleston was the NCAA Division II national champion in the 1,500-meter run.

Brook Handler • Sophomore • 1,500m • Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester
Handler will be making her first career appearance at the regional meet in the 1,500-meter run. She competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, finishing ninth, but she opted to declare in the 1,500-meter run for the regional meet. Her career-best 1,500m time of 4:22.55 came at the Kansas Relays (April 17).

Alex Leptich • Junior • 3,000m Steeplechase • Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline
Leptich will be making her second consecutive trip to the NCAA East Prelims. A year ago she finished 17th in the steeplechase at regionals. At the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, she placed seventh in the steeple with a season-best time of 10:20:54. Her personal-best steeple time is 10:11.85.

Cindy Ofili • Freshman • 100m Hurdles • Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron
Ofili will be making her career debut at the NCAA East Prelims as the only U-M freshman to qualify for the meet. She will compete in the 100-meter hurdles and as a member of U-M's 4x100-meter relay. She finished third in the 100-meter hurdles at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a personal-best time of 13.30. She is the highest-seeded freshman in the east region at No. 13 and is one of just seven freshmen to qualify for the 100-meter hurdles.

Shannon Osika • Sophomore/Freshman • 1,500m • Waterford, Mich./Mott
Osika will be making her NCAA East Prelims debut, as she redshirted during the 2012 outdoor season. She is the second-highest seed out of the nine freshmen to qualify for the 1,500-meter run, sitting in the 14th spot with a time of 4:19.00, which is a converted mark that was recorded in the mile run at the Penn Relays (April 25). Osika finished fourth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships as part of a U-M contingent that went 1-3-4-5.

Erin Pendleton • Senior • Discus • Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore
Pendleton will be making her fourth straight appearance at the NCAA East Prelims in the discus. She advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2010 and 2011 but fouled all attempts in 2012, failing to record a mark. The two-time Big Ten discus champion finished fourth at this year's conference meet. She currently holds the school record with a mark of 56.87 meters (186-7), which she recorded in 2010. Her season-best throw of 52.03 meters (170-8) came at the Drake Relays (April 24).

Taylor Pogue • Junior • 10,000m • Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich
Pogue will be appearing in the NCAA East Prelims for the first time in her career. She finished sixth in the 10,000-meter run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Her career-best time of 34:48.15 came this season at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Amber Smith • Junior • 100m Hurdles • Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood
Smith will be making her second straight trip to the regional meet but first in the 100-meter hurdles and as a member of the 4x100-meter relay. At the 2012 east regional, she finished 37th in the 400-meter hurdles. She matched her career-best time of 13.64 at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships to finish seventh.

Jillian Smith • Senior/Junior • 1,500m • Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional
Smith will be making her third appearance at the NCAA East Prelims. A year ago, she finished as the regional runner-up in the 1,500-meter run and went on to place 13th at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America second team accolades. She finished fifth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships as part of a U-M contingent that went 1-3-4-5. Her season-best time of 4:21.78 came at the Kansas Relays (April 17), while her career-best time (4:13.59) was clocked at the 2013 NCAA Championships.

Kiley Tobel • Senior/Junior • Pole Vault • Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western
Tobel is a three-time regional qualifier and two-time NCAA Outdoor Championship participant in the pole vault. She finished third a year ago at the regional meet before placing 10th at the national competition to earn All-America second team honors. She finished runner-up at the 2012 and 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, earning All-Big Ten second accolades in both years. Her career-best mark of 4.24 meters (13-11) is currently a school record, while her season-best mark, which came at the conference meet, is 4.07 meters (13-4.25).

Ada Unachukwu • Senior • Triple Jump • Morganville, N.J./Marlboro
Unachukwu will be making her second consecutive appearance in the NCAA East Prelims in the triple jump, as she placed 30th in the regional meet a year ago. Her season-best mark of 12.54 meters (41-1.75) came at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, where she finished fifth, while her career-best mark of 12.72 meters (41.8.75) was recorded at the 2012 conference meet.

Megan Weschler • Junior • 3,000m Steeplechase • Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt
Weschler will be making her career debut at the NCAA East Prelims, as a foot injury cut her season short in 2012. Her career-best 3,000-meter steeplechase time of 10:26.30 came at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, where she finished in eighth place.

4x100-meter Relay
This marks the first time a Michigan 4x100-meter relay qualified for regional competition since 2008. The relay team, which consists of Amber SmithCindy OfiliErin Busbee and senior Charlotte Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington),took third place at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Their season-best time of 45.26 came in the prelims at the conference meet. 

• Several different events are contested during the outdoor season that were not during the indoor season. The 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles are replaced by the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles; the mile run is replaced by the 1,500-meter run; and the weight throw is replaced with the hammer throw. The 400-meter hurdles, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 10,000-meter run, javelin and discus, as well as the 4x100-meter relay, are also added to the list of events. The multi-event competition also increases from five events to seven events with the heptathlon (100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, javelin, long jump and 800-meter run).

• 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/junior Jillian Smith have no relation.


 Erin Busbee 
Cleveland, Ohio

On qualifying for regionals in two events ... "It feels really great to have the relay go because it was so unexpected. I'm really excited about the long jump, but I had known for a while that I had a position at regionals and the way my indoor season went, I'm not shocked that I made it -- it would have been more of a shock if I didn't make it. I expected to make it in the long jump, so that makes me even more excited for the 4x1 and the possibilities there."

On competing in open events instead of the multi ... "Going into Big Tens, I hadn't done a full heptathlon all season so I really wanted to focus in on some of the open events. I felt really good about the long jump -- I had a couple frustrating meets where I fouled really good jumps so I knew it was there. I knew that I would probably be doing three open events even if I did the multi, so I didn't want to that to take away from my open events. Going into competition, it makes a world of difference. Going into Big Ten I had an entirely different attitude. I knew that on this day I had to do one event and on the next day I had this event, instead of having four events on one day with the multi. As far as training, it's much easier because I don't have to schedule practices with all the different event coaches. The most I'm running now is a 100 meters, so I can practice the same way for the 4x1 relay and the long jump. It's a lot less stressful."

On benefiting from going to indoor nationals ... "Outdoor is a whole different ball game than indoor, but just knowing what the performances are and what I need to do helps. I'm completely confident that as long as I go out there and get in my good jumps that I'm very capable of making it to nationals. Obviously you're not going to be on every single jump or every day, but all it takes is one jump so that's what I'm focused on -- getting in that jump when I need it."

On having 15 individuals and the 4x1 relay qualify for regionals ... "It's an amazing feeling. To know that so many people did well this season and so many people are going to be able to go and compete is great. To be able to take the 4x1 is unexpected and something we haven't had at regionals in a while. I'm happy to be able to be a part of this meet because there are so many of us going. The roster looks almost like any other track meet that we're going. There is going to be a lot of team support, which will make it a lot better."

On her summer plans following the track and field season ... "Right now I'm taking spring classes while I'm here to take advantage of that time. I'm also going to Guatemala in July. I got accepted into an anthropological field school and I'll be doing research with a group for about four weeks. I'll also be taking some Spanish courses while I'm there."

Wed-Sat., June 5-8 -- at NCAA Championships (Eugene, Ore.), Noon/11 a.m./12:30 p.m./12:30 p.m. PDT
Event Schedule