Weekly #8: Finn, Ofili, Tobel, DMR to Represent U-M Women at NCAAs
Provided by U of M
The University of Michigan women's track and field will be represented by three individuals, as well as its defending national champion distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday (March 14-15) at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M. Competition will begin at 10 a.m. MDT on Friday and resume at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) make her NCAA Championship debut in the 5,000-meter run, sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) will make her first appearance at NCAAs in the 60-meter hurdles, and fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) will return to indoor nationals for the first time since 2012 in the pole vault.
Michigan's distance medley relay will consist of freshman Jaimie Phelan (Kitchener, Ont./St. Mary's), sophomore Maya Long (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron), sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) and junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester). Long is the only returning member of the Wolverines' 2013 national champion DMR.
ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 14 starting at 7:55 p.m. and March 15 starting at 7:50 p.m. A tape delay of the championship will air Saturday, March 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
MICHIGAN COMPETITION SCHEDULE
Time Event Wolverine NCAA Seed
Friday, March 14 (Times MDT)
6 p.m. Pole Vault Kiley Tobel 16
6:45 p.m. 60m Hurdles (Semifinals) Cindy Ofili 5
8:45 p.m. 5,000m Erin Finn 8
9:30 p.m. Distance Medley Relay Phelan, Long,
Pfeifer, Handler 7
Saturday, March 15 (Times MDT)
6:30 p.m. 60m Hurdles (Finals) Cindy Ofili if qualify
• Based on a descending-order list for the season, the top 16 declared student-athletes and top 12 declared relay teams were accepted into the NCAA Championships.
• Individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point at the NCAA Championships will earn USTFCCCA All-America first team honors. Those individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall (including ties) will earn USTFCCCA All-America second team honors. Those who do not meet the criteria above but participate in at least a round of the NCAA Championship will be listed as All-America honorable mention.
Sophomore Cindy Ofili ranks fifth in the nation in the 60-meter hurdles with her career-best time of 8.08, which she clocked at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, en route to her first Big Ten title. She was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, as she also finished third in the 60-meter dash and fourth in the 200-meter dash in addition to her hurdles title. Kentucky's Kendra Harrison owns the nation's top time this season at 7.94. Ofili has finished fourth or higher in every indoor race this season, including wins in 11 of 17 total races.
The only Wolverine to win a national championship in the 60-meter hurdles was her older sister, Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, who won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2008 and 2009.
Freshman Erin Finn owns the eighth seed in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:52.11, while Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino leads the nation with her time of 15:40.55. Finn, the 2013 Big Ten cross country champion, added another conference title to her resume at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, winning the 5,000-meter run by nearly a 30-second margin. Her 5K time of 15:52.11 broke a 25-year-old school record as well as a SPIRE Institute facility record. Finn was named Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year, as she also finished second in the 3,000-meter run at Big Tens. She was named Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year during cross country season.
Michigan has never had a NCAA champion in the 5,000-meter run, while the last U-M All-American in that event was Erin Webster in 2007 (11th).
Fifth-year senior captain Kiley Tobel secured the 16th and final spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault to earn her second trip to the national indoor event and first since 2012. Her school-record setting vault of 4.25 meters (13-11.25) came at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational earlier this year. Emily Grove from South Dakota owns the nation's top pole-vault mark at 4.51 meters (14-9.5).
At the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, Tobel finished tied for eighth place (4.20 meters, 13-9 1/2), earning All-America first team honors. She is Michigan's only athlete to earn All-America status in the pole vault in program history.
DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY
Michigan is the defending national champion in the distance medley relay and has won four national championships in the DMR (1994, 1998, 2005, 2013), producing 48 All-Americans in the event in program history. U-M's relay has remained the same all season and features freshman Jaimie Phelan (1,200m), sophomore Maya Long (400m), sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (800m) and junior Brook Handler (mile). Long is the only returning member of U-M's 2013 national champion DMR that clocked a school-record time of 10:56.66 and earned All-America first team recognition. The relay's top time this season of 11:00.20 came at the SPIRE Invitational (Feb. 14), giving U-M the seventh seed at NCAAs. At the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Phelan, Long, Pfeifer and Handler took home Michigan's 11th straight Big Ten title with a time of 11:12.52. Michigan has qualified for NCAAs in the DMR in 14 of the last 17 years, winning the national title three times and finishing in the top seven on 10 occasions during that span. Stanford is the top seed heading into the meet with a time of 10:54.04.
A LOOK AHEAD
2014 Outdoor Season
Fri-Sat., March 28-29 -- at Raleigh Relays (Raleigh, N.C.), 8:45 a.m./9:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 29 -- at North Florida Invitational (Jacksonville, Fla.), 11 a.m.
Contact: Whitney Dixon