Weekly #12: U-M Womenb at Hillsdale Relays, Penn Relays This Week

Weekly #12: U-M Womenb at Hillsdale Relays, Penn Relays This Week

Provided by U of M

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will remain in the state of Michigan for this weekend's meet, competing in the Hillsdale Relays from Thursday-Saturday, April 24-26, at Ken Herrick Outdoor Track. In addition to the Wolverines going to Hillsdale, a pair of 110-meter hurdlers in senior Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood)and sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) will also represent the Maize and Blue at the historic Penn Relays on Saturday (April 26) at Franklin Field.


Hillsdale Relays: Laura Addison, Amanda Adwon, Dana Carey, Crystal Cole, Joanna Fleming, Abby Grinnell, Nicola Hallenborg, Jami Hill, Meghan Lark, Maya Long, Gina McNamara, Sami Michell, Hailey Middlebrook, Elly Mioduszewski, Courtney Munley, Sara Nitz, Chinyere Onimo, Paris Parnell, Megan Pearson, Heather Price, Brittany Robinson, Jillian Smith, Claire Tewksbury, Kiley Tobel, Victoria Waidley, Emily Wee

Penn Relays: Erin Busbee, Cindy Ofili


 Freshman Erin Finn etched her name into the Michigan record book again last weekend, as she broke a 29-year-old school record in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:41.35 to win the Invite Elite section at the Mt. SAC Relays. She also set the school's indoor 5,000-meter record during the recent indoor season, running 15:52.11.

2014 Academic Awards Banquet

 Fifth-year senior Jillian Smith was named Michigan's female Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient at U-M's Academic Awards Banquet last Tuesday (April 15). The award is presented to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Smith is U-M's sixth Big Ten Medal of honor recipient during distance coach Mike McGuire's tenure and eighth all-time.

 Freshman Erin Finn received the Female Rookie of the Year award, which is given to the top freshman student-athlete who has excelled both academically and athletically.

 Filth-year senior Kiley Tobel was the recipient of the Big Ten Conference Postgraduate Scholarship Awarded to one male and one female student-athlete from each of the Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education in a graduate degree program. Tobel will be pursuing a career as a physician's assistant upon graduation.

 Five Wolverine distance runners will make their season debut at the Hillsdale Relays, including Nicola Hallenborg, Megan Pearson and Hailey Middlebrook in the 5,000-meter run, as well as Heather Price and Brittany Robinson in the 1,500-meter run.

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 is 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).

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


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 made her collegiate debut in the heptathlon at the California Invitational Heptathlon (April 16-17), winning the Invite A section with 5,416 points, which rank fourth in the Big Ten. She won the javelin and shot put and in the high jump cleared a height of 1.75 meters (5-8.75), which ranks third overall in the conference.

3,000-meter Steeplechase

Michigan has a strong duo in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, including senior/junior Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) and senior Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt), who went 7-8 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, returned in the steeple for U-M at the Virginia/Cal tri-meet 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 second in the Big Ten and sixth in the NCAA. Weschler's steeple time of 10:11.56 from the tri-meet ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 12th in the country.

10,000-meter Run

Anna Pasternak made her collegiate debut in the 10,000-meter run last weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays, where she clocked a time of 35:31.09, which ranked fifth in the Big Ten.


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

 Junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), who finished ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships, has been focusing on the 1,500-meter run this outdoor season. She currently ranks first in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation with her personal-best time of 4:18.26, which she clocked in the season opener at the Raleigh Relays. She also ran the second-fastest 5,000-meter time in the Big Ten last weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays (16:04.99).

 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 4:19.20, which she ran last weekend at the Beach Invitational and ranks second in the Big Ten and 12th in the NCAA 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, made her final outdoor debut at the Beach Invitational (April 19) in the 800-meter run, running 2:17.44. 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.

 Sophomore Cindy Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Huron) last weekend at LSU Alumni Gold ran a career-best 100-meter hurdle time of 13.08, which ranks first in the Big Ten and 13th in the NCAA. Ofili placed third in the Big Ten in the 100-meter hurdles in 2013, in 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 ninth in the long jump in the conference with a mark of 5.96 meters (19-6.75). She also ranked seventh in the conference in the 100-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 13.66, which she ran last weekend at the LSU Alumni Gold meet. 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 second in the Big Ten in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.82, which she ran last Saturday (April 19) at the Beach Invitational. 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 made her collegiate outdoor debut in the invite elite 5,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays, where she set a new school record of 15:41.35. She finished seventh overall and was the third collegian to cross the line. 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

 With three weeks of regular-season competition remaining, Michigan has 13 student-athletes ranked in the top eight in the Big Ten in at least one event (the top eight score at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships). That number increased from nine to 13 after a solid weekend of competition last weekend.

Name Event Time/Mark Rank

Maya Long 400m 54.70 7th

Danielle Pfeifer 800m 2:06.82 2nd

Devon Hoppe 800m 2:07.57 6th

Brook Handler 1,500m 4:18.26 1st

Shannon Osika 1,500m 4:19.20 2nd

Erin Finn 5,000m 15:41.35 1st

Brook Handler 5,000m 16:04.99 2nd

Anna Pasternak 10,000m 35:31.09 5th

Victoria Waidley 10,000m 36:39.85 8th

Cindy Ofili 100m Hurdles 13.08 1st

Erin Busbee 100m Hurdles 13.66 7th

Alex Leptich 3,000m Steeple 10:04.86 2nd

Megan Weschler 3,000m Steeple 10:11.56 4th

Aaron Howell High Jump 1.75m (5-8.75) 3rd

Aaron Howell Heptathlon 5,416 points 4th

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.


Fri-Sat., May 2-3 -- at UC Irvine Steve Scott Invitational (Irvine, Calif.), 10 a.m./Noon PDT

Saturday, May 4 -- at Payton Jordan Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), Noon PDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon