U of M Women - 4x800m Relay Takes First as Split Action Concludes

U of M Women - 4x800m Relay Takes First as Split Action Concludes

Provided by U of M

Site: Jacksonville, Fla. (Hodges Stadium); Raleigh, N.C. (Paul Derr Track)

Event: North Florida Invitational (Day 2); Raleigh Relays (Day 2)

U-M Team Result: No team scoring

Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 5 -- vs. California and Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla./RALEIGH, N.C. -- The University of Michigan women's track and field team wrapped up its opening weekend of the 2014 outdoor season on Saturday (March 29) with members of its squad competing at the North Florida Invitational at UNF's Hodges Stadium as well as the Raleigh Relays at the Paul Derr Track and Field facility.

At the Raleigh Relays, four Wolverines also teamed up to win the 4x800-meter relay title. Freshman Jamie Morrissey (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams), junior/sophomore Devon Hoppe (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar), junior/sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) and sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) completed a combined eight laps in a time of 8:44.12 to win the relay by a 2.15-second margin over second-place Tennessee.

Fifth-year senior Jami Hill (Onalaska, Wis./Onalaska), who made her collegiate outdoor debut after missing four outdoor seasons due to injuries, led off a second 4x800-meter relay that finished in eighth place. Senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt), sophomore/freshman Gina McNamara (Northville, Mich./Northville) and senior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) joined Hill on the relay that clocked a time of 9:02.10.

In addition to the pair of relays, freshman Courtney Munley Clarkston, Mich./Mott) made her U-M outdoor debut in the invitational 800-meter run, where she placed 19th overall in a time of 2:15.78.

Senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood)and freshman Sami Michell (Reed City, Mich./(Reed City) were the only two Wolverines competing at North Florida today, as the pair qualified for the 100-meter hurdle finals on the opening day. Busbee ran to a runner-up finish in a time of 14.10, while Michell placed fifth in 14.66 in her first collegiate outdoor meet.

After beginning the season with a split squad, U-M's full team will be back together as it takes on Virginia and Cal in the second annual tri-meet between the three schools on Saturday, April 5, at Virginia's Lannigan Field.


Michigan Head Coach James Henry

On his focus for the season-opener ... "The goal was to come and train through this meet, but give them an opportunity to get in some warm weather and start to compete in the outdoor events since some are different than indoor. We also wanted to make sure that we stayed healthy with no injuries and that occurred so I think we accomplished the goals that we were after."

On individual performances that stood out ... "The throwers, as a group, did very well, with Elly (Mioduszewski) winning the shot put and several others having personal bests. Cindy Ofili had a very good 200 meter run and Erin Busbee looked good in the hurdles."

On different outdoor events that will benefit the team ... "I think Aaron Howell in the multi will help us. I think she's more suited for the outdoor heptathlon now that we add the javelin and 200 -- I think that will be good for her. In the 400 hurdles, I think Sami Michell has an opportunity to improve and get better. We also think that the steeplechase and longer distances -- the 10,000 meters -- should be events that will work into our favor."

On having the full team together next weekend for a tri-meet at Virginia ... "It should be good for us because this weekend we were split and next weekend will be our first test together in a scored meet. This is the second year we've competed in this type of triangular meet. It should bring the team together as a group. As we come together, bonding can occur and we can start thinking about championships. Our goal there is to do well of course and try to win that meet. It will be nice to get the middle-distance and distance group together with the rest of the group all in one place."


U-M Associate Head Coach Mike McGuire

On his approach to the first outdoor meet ... "Everybody kind of kidded us on how many people we ran in the 1,500m last night, but we have a scoring meet next weekend so I thought it was important that we not run our steeplechasers two weekends in a row, and I didn't think Erin Finn needed a 5,000m at this point. I told the kids that it's kind of like rebooting the computer. I thought we had a good weekend and it's just a stepping stone toward bigger and better things we hope to accomplish as we move forward."

On top individual performances of the weekend ... "Brook (Handler) was our highlight of the weekend for us. I don't know if it will hold up the whole weekend, but right now she has the number one national mark in the 1,500m. I thought Danielle Pfeifer had a good weekend. Shannon (Osika) bounced back after getting knocked down in the 1,500m last night, running a solid leg on the 4x800. Devon Hoppe also had a good weekend, as well as Jamie Morrissey."

On Jami Hill competing in her first outdoor meet after missing four outdoor seasons with injury ... "I know she was excited to be out here competing and traveling. The girls were really supportive of her making her way back into outdoor competition. She still has a long road to go, but the key thing is she's healthy and we just want to keep her healthy and have her have as best an outdoor season as she can. We've missed a lot of time, but she's been as resilient of a person as I've ever been around in all the years I've been coaching."