U of M Women - DMR Highlights PR-Heavy Day in South Bend
Provided by U of M
What You Need to Know
» The Maize and Blue ran the No. 3 time in the nation in the distance medley relay, timing 10:58.25 with the group of Jaimie Phelan (1,200) Maya Long (400), Danielle Pfeifer (800) and Shannon Osika (Mile).
» U-M also won the 3,000-meter race, giving the team two event titles on the weekend, and set PRs in the 800, mile, pole vault, shot put and weight throw in addition to the 3K.
» Michigan now charges into the championship season with the Big Ten Championships next weekend (Feb. 26-27).
• Complete Results PDF
Site: South Bend, Ind. (Loftus Sports Center)
Event: Alex Wilson Invitational
U-M Team Result: Non-scoring
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., Feb. 26-27 -- at Big Ten Championships (Geneva, Ohio), 10 a.m.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The No. 9-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team made its third trip of the season to the campus of Notre Dame this weekend for Saturday's (Feb. 20) Alex Wilson Invitational at the Loftus Sports Center. The Maize and Blue enjoyed a successful day of action, highlighted by wins in the 3K race and Distance Medley Relay (DMR).
Associate head coach Mike McGuire said it was 'mission accomplished' for the small group of U-M athletes that traveled to compete this weekend so close to the conference championships. The plan was to improve national and conference standing in a few events while striving for personal bests in a few others.
"I thought we put ourselves in better positioning going into Big Tens in some events, which is what we are looking for in this last weekend," said McGuire.
"We had PRs in the 800, mile, 3K and other events as well. Our throwers were solid, and we put together a few other quality performances. For the most part, we tried to use today as a good weekend to hopefully springboard us to better things next weekend."
McGuire's middle-distance and distance athletes had the best representation of any event group in South Bend, and today's relay team had plenty of experience to fall back on, as each of them has been a member of at least one Big Ten Title-winning DMR unit in their time at Michigan.
The DMR squad of sophomore Jaimie Phelan, senior Maya Long, senior Danielle Pfeifer and senior Shannon Osika clocked the No. 3 time in the nation so far this year, effectively securing their place at next month's NCAA Championships (March 11-12) by running 10:58.25 to win the event. The Maize and Blue was neck and neck with the Fighting Irish entering the final leg, but Notre Dame's Molly Seidel, named USTFCCCA Cross Country Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year this week, was outpaced by Osika's time of 4:38 the mile leg.
"Jaimie ran a really good leg to start things off for us," explained Pfeifer.
"She was right in the mix and then began to pull away with about half a lap left. Maya ran 53-low (53.3) in the 400 leg, and she stayed in the lead just about the whole leg with Notre Dame and her passing off around the same time. In my leg, Notre Dame just shot out, so I kept it controlled for the first lap, before I closed the gap for the second 400 so we handed off even. On the mile leg, Shannon just sat on (Notre Dame's) Molly Seidel until she had about 400 left, and then the race was strung out from there."
Pfeifer, who split 2:05.50 on the 800 leg, has twice earned All-America finishes as part of U-M's DMR tradition. She has won Big Ten titles with all three ladies she ran with today, and she and her teammates are eager to take their performance to the conference meet next weekend, where regaining Michigan's DMR crown is on their minds.
"We are excited," said Pfeifer, "especially after running such a good time today. We are trying to take it day by day to make sure we are putting the work in little by little to get those titles and times we want, but it has been on our mind."
The only Wolverine who was not part of last year's third place NCAA finishing DMR team was Phelan, who helped U-M to its 11th straight conference title in the event as a freshman in 2014, so the task is nothing new for her.
"Jaimie stays in such great shape, and she's a really big part of what we want to do," said Pfeifer.
"Getting out on that first leg is difficult; it's really, really physical -- probably the most physical leg -- and she did her part today and did it really well."
In the 3K race, two of three competing Wolverines set personal best times, led by winner Corinne Florie. The junior native of Mahopac, New York, earned a victory of nearly five full seconds with her time of 9:30.75, a seven second PR, and junior/sophomore Sophie Linn placed fourth with a season-best time.
Four Wolverines ran in the 800-meter event and three achieved new personal bests, led by senior/junior Jamie Morrissey. The Rochester, Michigan, native finished seventh overall in 2:06.66 and helped U-M go three-four-five in the second heat. She led sophomore Claire Borchers and fifth-year senior Laura Addison, who also set new lifetime bests.
Saucony pro and Wolverine alumna Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes (2006-09) also ran in the first heat, finishing in 2:04.36.
Another former Wolverine ran this weekend: Brook Handler, who competed in the mile run, finishing third. Sophomore/freshman Holly Petrusson set a new PR in sixth place of the same race, timing 4:50.11, and sophomore Rachel Barrett also competed.
Junior Sami Michell neared a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles, timing 8.47 seconds to finish third with a new a season best.
She also won the first heat of the 400-meter event, timing 56.95 to place sixth overall, just ahead of sophomore/freshman Brooke Callaghan in 57.35.
In the shot put, both freshmen Maegan McCarthy and Briana Nelson set season bests in their final opportunity before the Big Ten Championships next weekend. McCarthy broke the 45-foot barrier, throwing 13.76 meters (45-1.75 ft.), while Nelson tossed 11.95 meters (38-8.25 ft.) on her first attempt, ending her afternoon there.
McCarthy also competed in the weight throw, where sophomores Bailey Baker (16.97 meters; 55-8 ft.) and Kayla Deering (16.85 meters; 55-3.25 ft.) added PRs of their own to place third and fourth, respectively. Deering, who also threw shot, hit the mark on her first attempt, and Baker used her fifth throw to approach the 17-meter mark.
Junior/sophomore Sarah Uhlian led three Wolverines in the field, placing fifth after clearing 3.80 meters (12-5.5 ft.) on her second attempt. Sophomore/freshman Tori Chapin placed sixth after setting a new personal-best height of 3.50 meters (11-5.75 ft.), and senior Claire Tewksbury was eighth.
The Wolverines will now begin the postseason run for the indoor season, beginning with the Big Ten Championships (Feb. 26-27) next weekend in Geneva, Ohio, at the SPIRE Institute. Action will begin at 10 a.m. both days next weekend, with multi-event athletes leading things off.
COLLEGIATE PERSONAL BESTS
Jamie Morrissey -- 2:06.66
Claire Borchers -- 2:07.08
Laura Addison -- 2:09.89
Corinne Florie -- 9:30.75
Sophie Linn -- 9:47.82
Holly Petrusson -- 4:50.11
Tori Chapin -- 3.50 meters (11-5.75 ft.)
Maegan McCarthy -- 13.76 meters (45-1.75 ft.)
Briana Nelson -- 11.95 meters (38-8.25 ft.)
Bailey Baker -- 16.97 meters (55-8 ft.)
Kayla Deering -- 16.85 meters (55-3.25 ft.)
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard