U of M Women - Ofili's Sweep Pushes U-M to Victory at Notre Dame
Provided by U of M
What You Need to Know
» The Wolverines were led by senior co-captain Cindy Ofili, who won the 60- and 200-meter dashes as well as the 60-meter hurdles, where she recorded the top time in the nation at 8.04.
» No. 14 U-M scored in 12 events to earn victory, led by 30 of a possible 31 points from the milers and 18 points each from athletes in the 600- and 800-meter runs.
» The Maize and Blue bested Big Ten foe Michigan State, ACC opponents Louisville, Notre Dame and DePaul and in-state opponent Western Michigan in today's action, setting 14 new collegiate-best times or marks across eight events.
• Complete Results
Site: South Bend, Ind. (Loftus Sports Center)
Event: Notre Dame Invitational
U-M Team Result: 1st Place of 6 Teams (144 points)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., Feb. 5-6 -- at Notre Dame Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 4 p.m./9 a.m.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The No. 14-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team collected five event titles to win the Notre Dame Invitational by more than 30 points on Saturday (Jan. 23) at the Loftus Sports Center.
U-M used 73 points from the middle-distance and distance programs as well as 30 points from senior co-captain Cindy Ofili, who won all three of her events and all five of her races, to top its five opponents. Beyond Ofili's victories, U-M won the 600 and mile races, recording 15 top-three finishes in all.
Head Coach James Henry felt that the Maize and Blue exceeded expectations this weekend.
"Our expectations heading into this weekend, aside from maintaining health, were to compete as a team, place and make finals individually, score and record some solid performances," said Henry. "We did all of those things, and the bonus was that many of those performances were more than solid, which is always a pleasure to see."
U-M put together a one-through-five sweep of the mile race to score 26 points on the strength of four PRs, led by junior/sophomore Erin Finn's winning time of 4:40.38, a top-five performance in the country.
Junior Jamie Morrissey placed third, while fifth-year senior Laura Addison and (second) and junior Gina Sereno (fourth) also set PRs, as did sophomore Rachel Barrett (fifth) for the second time in as many weeks.
The Wolverine milers came into the weekend with a distinct plan and executed it to near-perfection.
Junior Courtney Munley took the race out in around a 4:40 pace for the first 400 meters. Finn then aimed to take the lead, maintaining the same pace on her own to set a new PR.
"It's great to have PR'ed, and I am confident that I can go faster," said Finn, "and that is also really exciting."
"During the race, I wasn't sure what was going on behind me, but I knew I'd built a bit of a lead," Finn explained.
"I had confidence that my teammates were working hard and competing. When I finished and saw the results I was really excited, but not surprised, because we had two teammates race unattached yesterday, and they did really well. Coach Mike (McGuire) told us that their races should give us confidence since we are all doing the same training, and it definitely did!"
"The chase pack went through the halfway point of the race in 2:23 or 2:24," said Morrissey, "and at that point it was pretty Michigan heavy. With a lap to go a pretty big group of us kicked hard and managed to finish 1-2-3-4-5-7."
The shared training regimens of Finn, Morrissey and their teammates gave all this weekend's milers even more reason to believe they would succeed.
"It's really a special thing to be on the same training plan and trajectory as your teammates," said Finn. "Seeing them work hard and get results is inspiring and shows that there is more to come for all of us."
Junior/sophomore Jaimie Phelan (PR 1:30.48) and senior Danielle Pfeifer (1:30.72) ran to a 1-2 finish in the 600-meter run, scoring big for the Wolverines.
In the 3K race, senior Shannon Osika placed third, and sophomore/freshman Holly Petrusson scored in sixth place with a new PR, leading five U-M entries in the race.
In the 800-meter run, fifth-year senior Devon Hoppe (2:09.73) and senior/junior Gina McNamara (2:10.50) ran to a one-two finish, while sophomore Brooke Callaghan set a new collegiate best.
Senior co-captain Cindy Ofili had a very successful day for the Maize and Blue, sweeping the 60-meter dash, hurdles and 200-meter dash. Ofili won all five races she competed in, with two final heats and three prelims.
She opened up with an 8.20 to advance to the 60-meter hurdle final, while junior Sami Michell qualified in 8.68. Ofili then set a new PR in the hurdle final, running the nation's top time by .13 seconds to win in 8.04 with more than a half-second margin of victory. That time takes over the new lead for the UK in 2016.
She followed by winning the 60m dash in 7.42 seconds, where sophomore Meghan Marias (25.29) set a new PR, and then proceeded to take the 200-meter title in 24.25 seconds.
Ofili totaled 30 points alone in those three events, and Michell added another six with her third-place finish in the hurdles. Her time of 8.64 seconds is a season best. For Ofili, this meet represented an important opportunity to test herself, and she was excited with the weekend she put together. The fact that she had not PRed in the 60-meter hurdles since her sophomore year made the weekend even more special.
"I was absolutely thrilled when I set a new PR today because we have been doing some really heavy training sessions, and I just wanted to execute a clean, smooth race," said Ofili. "I wasn't really chasing a time but setting a PR this early in the season really lets me know that training is progressing for me."
Competing in three events in one day is never easy, but Ofili tried to adopt a positive outlook entering the afternoon.
"It was definitely hard doing the triple today," said Ofili, "but I looked it as good training for possibly doing it at the Big Ten Championships. Thinking about it like that made running five times today a little more bearable."
Her head coach was impressed with more than her attitude. In his mind, Ofili showed the spark of competitiveness that makes her such a force on the track.
"I was especially impressed with Cindy today because it was her first meet and week of training with the hurdles where she was coming out of the blocks," said Henry. "She had been very patient, but also anxious to get on the track, and she showed why today. She was like a caged Wolverine, and when we let her go, she went for it."
More scoring came from the 400-meter race, where senior Maya Long (55.64) was runner-up in the third heat, and her classmate Emily Wee (57.08) won the first heat. The duo finished second and sixth, respectively, in the scoring.
U-M had three 4x400-meter relay teams compete, with the 'A' squad of Michell, Pfeifer, Phelan and Wee leading the way. The relay team placed second with a time of 3:45.39.
In the high jump, sophomore Claire Kieffer-Wright built on her season-opening height from two weekends ago to finish runner-up by clearing 1.77 meters (5-9.75 ft.) on her final attempt.
Freshman Jeryne Fish placed third in the long jump, breaking the 18-foot mark (5.51 meters; 18-1 ft.) on her first attempt of the final.
The next time U-M takes the track will be in two weekends, when the team returns to South Bend, Indiana, for the Meyo Invitational (Feb. 5-6). Events will begin in the Loftus Sports Center at 4 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 5) and will continue at 10 a.m. the next morning (Feb. 6).
Sophomore Kayla Deering earned a runner-up finish in the shot put, recording a new PR at 14.49 meters (47-6.5 ft.), while freshman Maegan McCarthy set a new U-M best at 13.18 meters, narrowly missing out on scoring with a seventh-place finish.
Four Wolverines competed in the weight throw, with two setting new collegiate bests.
Henry is pleased with his team's trajectory five weeks out from the conference meet.
"I think we are on track to be competitive," he explained. "We are on track to contend for a championship, and that's what we always want. We expected impressive performances this week, but this is a showing that will hopefully leave our kids wanting to get even better.
COLLEGIATE PERSONAL BESTS
Cindy Ofili -- 8.04
Lauren Rodriguez -- 9.16
Jaimie Phelan -- 1:30.48
Brooke Callaghan -- 2:14.19
Erin Finn -- 4:40.38
Laura Addison -- 4:45.77
Gina Sereno -- 4:47.08
Rachel Barrett -- 4:47.19
Holly Petrusson -- 9:43.49
Sophie Linn -- 9:48.12
Jeryne Fish -- 5.61 meters (18-4.75 ft.)
Kayla Deering -- 14.49 meters (47-6.5 ft.)
Maegan McCarthy -- 13.18 meters (43-2.75 ft.)
Maegan McCarthy -- 15.03 meters (49-3.75 ft.)
Briana Nelson -- 13.75 meters (45-1.25 ft.)
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Communications Contact: Chad Shepard