Weekly #11: U-M Women to Divide Squad in Half for Trio of Meets

Weekly #11: U-M Women to Divide Squad in Half for Trio of Meets

Provided by U of M

After a week off from competition, the University of Michigan women's track and field team will split its squad two ways for three different meets this week. U-M's middle-distance and distance runners, as well as its pole vaulters, will travel to California to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays (Thu-Fri., April 17-18) in Walnut, Calif., and the Beach Invitational (Saturday, April 19) at Long Beach State in Norwalk, Calif. Freshman multi-event athlete Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington) will also represent U-M on the West Coast at the California Invitational Heptathlon in Azusa, Calif. (Wednesday, Thursday, April 16-17). The Wolverine sprinters, hurdles and remaining field event athletes will compete in the LSU Alumni Gold meet on Saturday, April 19, starting at 9 a.m. CDT.


California Invitational Heptathlon: Aaron Howell

Mt. SAC Relays: Erin Finn, Corinne Florie, Brook Handler, Devon Hoppe, Alex Leptich, Taylor Manett, Jamie Morrissey, Shannon Osika, Anna Pasternak, Danielle Pfeifer, Kiley Tobel, Megan Weschler.

Beach Invitational: Laura Addison, Jami Hill, Devon Hoppe, Meghan Lark, Alex Leptich, Gina McNamara, Jamie Morrissey, Courtney Munley, Shannon Osika, Danielle Pfeifer, Jillian Smith, Kiley Tobel, Megan Weschler.

LSU Alumni Gold: Amanda Adwon, Erin Busbee, Dana Carey, Joanna Fleming, Abby Grinnell, Maya Long, Sami Michell, Elly Mioduszewski, Sara Nitz, Cindy Ofili, Chinyere Onimo, Paris Parnell, Emily Wee, Jackie Wold.


• Junior/sophomore Devon Hoppe (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar), Michigan's only student-athlete on the roster from California, will be in her element this weekend, as her hometown of Newport Beach, Calif., is roughly 30 miles from both Mt. SAC and Long Beach State.

Outdoor Advantages

• Several different events are contested during the outdoor season that were not during the indoor season. The 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles will be replaced by the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles; the mile run will be replaced by the 1,500-meter run; and the weight throw will be 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, will also be 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).

Michigan will benefit from several of the different outdoor events added to the outdoor lineup:


Freshman Aaron Howell (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington), who finished fifth in the pentathlon in her Big Ten Indoor Championship debut, will compete as U-M's only heptathlete this season. She will make her collegiate debut in the heptathlon at the California Invitational Heptathlon on Thursday and Friday. She will participate in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash on Wednesday and finish with the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run on Thursday.

3,000-meter Steeplechase

Michigan has a strong contingent of runners in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, including senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline), senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) and junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), who went 7-8-9 at last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Leptich earned All-Big Ten second team honors in 2012 after finishing runner-up in the steeplechase. Junior Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland), who steepled at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships as a freshman, will return in the steeple for U-M after redshirting the 2013 outdoor season.

Leptich was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week after winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase in her season debut at the tri-meet against Virginia and Cal (April 5). Her career-best time of 10:04.86 is the second-fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time ever run in a collegiate dual/tri/quad meet and currently ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the NCAA. Weschler's steeple time of 10:11.56 from the tri-meet ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the country.

Handler has been focusing on the 1,500-meter run this outdoor season. She currently ranks first in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation with her personal-best time of 4:18.26, which she clocked in the season opener at Raleigh Relays.

10,000-meter Run

Senior/junior Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), who missed the majority of the 2013 cross country and 2014 indoor seasons due to injury, returned to compete in two indoor meets and will be in full swing for the outdoor season. She finished sixth in the 10,000-meter run at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and also advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, where she placed 28th.


Senior/junior thrower Elly Mioduszewski (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) is in her second outdoor season in a Maize and Blue uniform after competing for Michigan's club softball team during her first three years at U-M. In her Big Ten Outdoor Championship debut in 2013, Mioduszewski was one spot shy of scoring in the javelin, finishing ninth overall. She also competed in the shot put a year ago and has added discus and hammer throw to her list of events this outdoor season.

4x100-meter Relay

Michigan's 4x100-meter relay finished third at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and also qualified to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) and senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) are the only returning members of that relay.

Other Key Wolverines

• Fifth-year senior Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) is U-M's only returning All-American from a year ago and also holds the outdoor pole vault school record (4.25m, 13-11 1/4). Tobel has earned All-America second team accolades in each of the last two years, placing 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both 2012 and 2013.

• After redshirting during the 2014 indoor season, junior/sophomore Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) returned to the track for her second outdoor season in Maize and Blue. Her season-best 1,500-meter time of 4:23.62, which she ran in the tri-meet, ranks fourth in the Big Ten this season. Last season, she finished fourth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and 16th at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in the 1,500-meter run.

• Fifth-year senior Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), who did not compete during the indoor season due to exhausted eligibility, will make her final outdoor debut at the Beach Invitational on Saturday (April 19) in the 800-meter run. Smith has finished in the top five in the 1,500-meter run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in each of the three years, finishing fifth last year, second in 2012 and third in 2011. She is also a three-time NCAA East Preliminary Rounds participant. In 2012, she advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she took 13th in the 1,500-meter run to earn All-America second team honors.

• With just one 100-meter hurdle race under her belt this outdoor season, sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten with a time of 13.64. Ofili placed third in the Big Ten in the 100-meter hurdles in 2013 with a personal record of 13.30 and also moved onto the NCAA East Prelims. During the most-recent indoor season, Ofili won the Big Ten title in the 60-meter hurdles, en route to being named Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, as she also finished top four in the 60- and 200-meter dash.

• Senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood), the 2014 indoor Big Ten champion in the long jump, currently ranks tied for seventh in the long jump in the conference with a mark of 5.96 meters (19-6.75). Busbee finished runner-up in the long jump at last year's outdoor conference meet and advanced to the NCAA East Prelims.

• Sophomore Danielle Pfeifer (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) has come on strong in her second year and currently ranks third in the Big Ten in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:07.61. During the 2014 indoor season, she was a member of the distance medley relay that won the Big Ten title and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships.

• Freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) will look to continue her early success as a Wolverine during the outdoor season. After opening the season in the 1,500-meter run, she will make her collegiate outdoor debut in the invite elite 5,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays. Finn captured the 2013 Big Ten cross country and 2014 Big Ten indoor 5,000-meter run titles and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in both cross country and indoor track and field as well at the conference's Athlete of the Year in cross country.

Michigan Among the Big Ten

• After two weeks of competition, Michigan has nine student-athletes ranked in the top eight in the Big Ten in their respective events (the top eight score at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships).

Name Event Time/Mark Rank

Maya Long 400m 54.70 6th

Danielle Pfeifer 800m 2:07.61 3rd

Devon Hoppe 800m 2:09.07 8th

Brook Handler 1,500m 4:18.26 1st

Shannon Osika 1,500m 4:23.62 4th

Cindy Ofili 100m Hurdles 13.64 5th

Alex Leptich 3,000m Steeple 10:04.86 1st

Megan Weschler 3,000m Steeple 10:11.56 2nd

Erin Busbee Long Jump 5.96m (19-6.75) T-7th

Returning Big Ten Scorers

• The Wolverines return 51 of its 82 total points that led them to a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Name Event Place Points

Erin Busbee Long Jump 2nd 8

Sara Nitz High Jump 2nd 8

Kiley Tobel Pole Vault 2nd 8

Cindy Ofili 100m Hurdles 3rd 6

Cindy Ofili, Erin Busbee 4x100m Relay 3rd 6

Shannon Osika 1,500m 4th 5

Jillian Smith 1,500m 5th 4

Taylor Pogue 10,000m 6th 3

Alex Leptich 3,000m Steeplechase 7th 2

Megan Weschler 3,000m Steeplechase 8th 1


• Team Captains: Senior/junior distance runner Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), senior hurdler Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and fifth-year senior pole vaulter Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) will serve as team captains for the 2014 season. Smith and Tobel are each serving for the second straight year, while Pogue also represented the U-M cross country squad as a captain this past fall.

• Lifetime Teammates: Sophomores Cindy Ofili and Maya Long, as well as junior Chinyere Onimo were high school teammates at Huron High School in Ann Arbor. All three compete in sprinting events for the Wolverines.

• U-M Family Ties: Sophomore 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). Senior/junior Elly Mioduszewski is the younger sister of Melany Mioduszewski, who ran cross country and track for U-M in 2008 and 2009. Sophomore Hailey Middlebrook and freshman Darby Middlebrook are the only sisters on the roster this season. Senior Amber Smith, fifth-year senior Jillian Smith and freshman Jillian Smith have no relation.



The 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Purdue University from May 16-18.


For the fifth consecutive season, the NCAA East and West Preliminary Rounds will be utilized to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Using a descending order list, the top-48 athletes in each event 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. There are no qualifying marks used during the outdoor season. This year's NCAA East Preliminary Round will be hosted by the University of North Florida from May 29-31, in Jacksonville, Fla.


Thu-Sat., April 24-26 -- at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.), 9 a.m.

Thu-Sat., April 24-26 -- at Hillsdale Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.), 3 p.m./9 a.m./10 a.m.

Contact: Whitney Dixon