U of M Women - Sereno, Borchers Win Bryan Clay Invite Titles in Dramatic Fashion

U of M Women - Sereno, Borchers Win Bryan Clay Invite Titles in Dramatic Fashion

Provided by U of M

» Gina Sereno broke the meet and facility record at 5,000 meters to claim the event title in a race that came down to the final 100 meters

» Claire Borchers overtook a first-team All-American to claim the 3,000-meter steeplechase title in career-best fashion

» Day two of the Bryan Clay Invitational kicks of Sunday at 8 a.m. PDT, with the throwers starting their weekend of competition at Texas in the afternoon.

Bryan Clay Invitational (Day 1)

AZUSA, Calif. -- Led by career-best, dramatic comeback victories by Gina Sereno and Claire Borchers, the University of Michigan women's track and field swept the overall distance event titles on day one of the Bryan Clay Invitational late Thursday night (April 13) at Cougar Stadium.

Sereno used a surge in the final homestretch to become just the fifth woman in the Mike McGuire era to break 16 minutes over 5,000 meters with a meet-record 15:49.17, while Borchers slowly but surely clawed back to a victory in the steeplechase in a 10:02.77 to move to No. 2 on the all-time Michigan performers list.

After running off the shoulder of All-American Alice Wright of New Mexico -- the woman whose facility and meet records she topped -- for 3,000 meters, Sereno made a strong move to the front at about 3,300 meters.

But that was not the end of it for Sereno, as both Wright and Arkansas' Taylor Werner reeled Sereno back in within the next half mile.

With a little more than 600 meters left to go in the race, Sereno was caught by Wright as she regained the lead through the bell lap. On the backstretch with less than 300 to go, it was Werner who made a decisive move to the front for the third lead change in the race's final 2,000 meters.

But it was not the last, as Sereno -- fresh off a career-best 4:21.38 over 1,500 meters two weekends ago -- harnessed the same kick that won her the Big Ten Indoor Championships title at 3,000 meters and blew past Werner, coming around the final turn onto the homestretch.

Werner ultimately finished two seconds back in 15:51.08, with Wright third in 15:53.28. Sereno joins Erin Finn , Anna Willard, Erin Webster and Katie McGregor as women who have broken the 16-minute barrier under McGuire, well surpassing her previous career best of 16:05.52 from this past indoor season.

Borchers did not leave her kick until quite as late in the race but still had to show patience and strength to run down a first team All-America steeplechaser in Arkansas' Devin Clark. Trailing by three seconds early, Borchers methodically pushed forward to make contact with early breakaway leaders Clark and Ellie Child of Weber State within three laps.

The controlled surge soon paid off as she passed Clark just after the third-to-last water barrier and picked off Child just before they approached the penultimate trip through the water pit. It was off to the races from there, as she quickly opened up a lead that grew to more than five seconds by race's end.

Not only is the performance a 20-second improvement from this time last year and likely to move her toward the top of the national standings for this season, it also boosted her up the all-time Michigan performers list. She moved past Alex Leptich to become the second-fastest woman in Michigan steeplechase history, trailing only former collegiate record-holder Anna Willard.

For about two-thirds of the second-fastest section of the 5,000 meters, it appeared the Wolverines could be in line for another win. The quartet of Rachel Coleman, Erika Fluehr, Sydney Badger and Sophie Linn controlled the race early as each of them took turns at or near the front of the pack.

Ultimately, a move at about 3000 meters by Coleman was matched by the eventual 1-2 duo of Sophie Eckel and Kendall Kelly of New Mexico. Coleman closed strong for third place, moving up three spots on the final lap with a surge down the homestretch.

Coleman crossed the line in 16:39.97 followed by Badger in 16:44.81, with both establishing career bests in their collegiate 5K debuts.

Don Kleinow Invitational (Day 1)

ADRIAN, Mich. -- While most of their teammates traveled to either California or Texas this weekend, women's pole vaulters Sarah Uhlian and Tori Chapin found success much closer to home, just an hour away at the Don Kleinow Invitational at O'Laughlin Stadium.

Uhlian both tied for the event title and tied her season-best clearance by making the bar at a height of 3.70m (12-1.5), while Chapin cleared at 3.05m (10-0).

California Invitational Heptathlon (Day 1)

• Complete Results PDF

AZUSA, Calif. -- Freshman Tiana Luton closed out her first collegiate heptathlon competition Thursday at the California Invitational Heptathlon competition hosted at Azusa Pacific University's Cougar Stadium.

Luton withdrew from the competition after six events of the seven overall. She competed in two events on Thursday.

After two fouls in the long jump, Luton leapt 4.75m (15-7) on her last attempt to stay alive in the overall heptathlon competition. She followed it up with a mark of 24.79m (81-4) in the javelin.

Aaron Howell, who competed in three of the four events on Wednesday, returned for the javelin throw on Thursday with a mark of 38.97m (127-10).

Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar