U of M - Ofili Sets NCAA-Leading Time on Final Day at Mt. SAC
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What You Need to Know
» 2015 NCAA runner-up Cindy Ofili won the Elite Invitational section of the 100-meter hurdles in an NCAA-leading 12.66, the No. 2 time in the world this year and a season best of nearly half a second.
» That performance is just .06 seconds shy of Ofili's school record, which was more than a quarter-second PR when she ran it last year in Eugene, Oregon, to earn her NCAA runner-up finish.
Site: Siena Heights, Mich. (Falcon Stadium)
Event: Mount SAC Relays (Day 3 of 3)
U-M Team Result: No Team Scoring
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., April 22-23) -- at Jesse Owens Invitational (Columbus, Ohio), 2 p.m./10 a.m. ET
NORWALK, Calif. -- The No. 25-ranked University of Michigan women's track and field team wrapped up competition at Cerritos College's Falcon Stadium during Saturday's (April 16) final day of events at Mount SAC Relays. After a number of excellent performances on Friday carried by the mid-distance group, senior co-captain Cindy Ofili's had the program's -- and the nation's -- best performance on Saturday.
Ofili won the 100-meter hurdles elite invitational division, timing a massive PR (12.66) to set the No. 2 time in the world and the fastest in the NCAA so far this year.
Still a month out from the conference meet (May 13-15), her time is an excellent mid-season mark, just .06 seconds shy of the time that earned her an NCAA runner-up finish in 2015. With her PR at this time last year being more than .50 seconds greater than her time in today's race, Ofili felt good about her progress at this juncture of the season.
"I feel like I'm progressing very well," said Ofili. "At this point last year I was running maybe 13.20 or maybe I had a 12.9 race around this time. For me to run this time so early in the season is very motivating. Coach Henry and I have been working a lot on speed and my starts, so I'm excited."
She was also grateful to run against so many high-level athletes, noting that the elite field pushes her to perform at her best.
"Having that competition is what pushed me today," said Ofili. "I was nervous; I was really ready to race. I love when I have high-level competition that pushes me so I was a bit nervous before the race, but after I just felt at ease."
With a legal wind of 2.0, Ofili was one of just three collegians in her heat, facing off once again with Oregon's Sasha Wallace, with whom Ofili finished one-two in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships. She came across the line with a comfortable victory, as the next-closest athlete came across in 12.90. Ofili's time held up against the slower second heat, and she took first place in an 18-competitor field that included just five collegians overall.
She then traveled to Long Beach, California, for the Beach Invitational and helped U-M win the 4x400-meter relay in 3:41.19, not far off of a season-best time. Ofili was eager to take the short drive to help her teammates on Saturday.
"I was excited to come back and run the 4x4 amidst all the hecticness," said Ofili.
In the 400-meter hurdles, junior/sophomore Sami Michell finished fourth in the second heat, second among collegians in 59.77.
In the high jump, sophomore Claire Kieffer-Wright competed in the elite field, one of two collegiate competitors. She was unable to clear a bar beyond her opening height (1.75 meters; 5-8.75 ft.), competing back in her home state of California against some of the nation's best, including Nike pro Vashti Cunningham.
Overall, Ofili was happy about the team's direction coming off this weekend's performances.
"I think it was a nice weekend for us," said Ofili. "We are all pretty pleased with what we've been doing so far in the outdoor season. Granted, it has been a hard training session, but we are going in the right direction for sure."
After a long week of competition with athletes in four locations, U-M will send a lighter squad to next weekend's two-day Jesse Owens Invitational (April 22-23) in Columbus, Ohio. The meet coincides with final exams at Michigan, and that will result in a smaller number of athletes competing.
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Communications Contact: Chad Shepard