U of M Women - One Down: Sereno Punches 10K Ticket to Eugene

U of M Women - One Down: Sereno Punches 10K Ticket to Eugene

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What You Need to Know

» Gina Sereno placed fourth in the 10K race after entering as the No. 22 seed, punching the Wolverines' first NCAA Outdoor Championships ticket of the weekend.

» U-M advanced athletes in the 100-meter dash (one), 400-meter dash (one) and 1,500-meter run (three) in preliminary races.

» Athletes require a top-12 individual finish to advance to the NCAA Championships next month in Eugene, Oregon.

» CoSIDA Academic All-District teams were also announced this afternoon, with Cindy Ofili and Erin Finn both being named to the District 5 team.

• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery | NCAA East Preliminary Round Home

Site: Jacksonville, Fla. (Hodges Stadium)

Event: NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds (Day 1)

U-M Team Result: Non-scoring

Next U-M Event: Friday, May 27 -- at NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds - Day 2 (Jacksonville, Florida), 5 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Michigan women's track and field team began qualifying competition at the NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds on Thursday (May 26) with a strong first-day effort at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium, highlighted by junior Gina Sereno qualifying for the NCAA Championships at 10,000 meters.


Sereno took fourth place in the event despite entering as the 22nd seed, running a smooth and controlled race reminiscent of her Big Ten Outdoor Championship-winning performance two weekends ago. It was not all familiar though, as she and the rest of the field had to dodge the multiple athletes who fell in tonight's race, but Sereno kept her composure.

"It seemed like every three laps someone went down, either in front of me or behind me," she said. "I was just thinking 'stay on your feet, and you'll make it to Eugene.'"

With 15 laps remaining, the group of leaders came through around the 14:10 mark, and with 10 laps remaining the front group crossed around 21 minutes even. Sereno kept a steady pace among the leaders, working from the top eight to the top five and looking controlled throughout. Three weeks ago, her name was not as well known on the national scene, but a pair of Big Ten titles (5K, 10K) and this evening's fourth-place finish have her on the rest of the nation's radar.

"It's exciting," said Sereno, "It's a whole new world of racing that I'm just opening up to right now."

Associate head coach Mike McGuire was not surprised by her success this spring, or tonight.

"She's shown tremendous growth over the last year," he said, "so this wasn't totally a surprise. It's a byproduct of consistent work, and I think that having this be her second 10K rather than her third, she had a little more gas in her thank than some others.

"She positioned herself ideally tonight. There was a lot of jostling around and a couple of falls in the race, so she was out running in lane two, which isn't the greatest thing in the world, but it was the prudent thing to do given the pace of the race tonight."

The idea of representing the Maize and Blue at the national meet is an exciting one for Sereno.

"I'm really just ecstatic right now," she said. "I can't wait to represent Michigan at the most exciting meet of the season."

In the 1,500-meter run, the Wolverines qualified all three athletes for Saturday's (May 28) 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal.

Running in heat one, Osika and Hoppe worked together as best they could, with Osika staying out front for most of the race. She eased up a bit down the stretch and finished fifth in 4:24.65 knowing that a top-five finish would advance her, while Hoppe picked up the pace and crossed the line second in 4:23.13. Two heats later, junior/sophomore Jaimie Phelan used a strong closing lap to move herself into fourth place and seal the Wolverine trio's advancement in 4:20.68, not far off her PR of 4:19.48.


In the 100-meter dash, senior Cindy Ofili clocked 11.53 to finish third in the fifth of six heats, cementing her place in tomorrow's 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal. Ofili will open up Friday's events with the first round of the 100-meter hurdles at 5 p.m., where she owns the No. 1 seed in the NCAA (12.66).

In the 400-meter dash, senior Maya Long set a new PR of 53.01 to finish fourth in her heat and claim a spot in tomorrow's (Friday, May 27) 6 p.m. quarterfinal. She was the third at-large time to qualify, ranking 18th overall.

Events continue at Hodges Stadium on Friday, beginning with the high jump featuring sophomore Claire Kieffer-Wright, and the first round of the 100-meter hurdles, where Ofili is the top seed. Both events begin at 5 p.m. Events conclude with the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 8:50 p.m., with one final day of events scheduled for Saturday (May 28).


Track Events

400 meters

Maya Long -- 53.01

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard