U of M Women - Mid-Distance Trio Advances on Day One of East Prelims

U of M Women - Mid-Distance Trio Advances on Day One of East Prelims

Provided by U of M

» The trio of Jamie Morrissey, Jaimie Phelan and Haley Meier all advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal at 1,500 meters, where they will race for berths to the NCAA Championships.

» Jade Harrison (400 meters) and Courtney Jacobsen (hammer throw) concluded their sensational debut seasons, with Harrison back Friday (May 26) for the 200-meter first round.

» Day-two action on Friday includes Big Ten high jump champion Claire Kieffer-Wright, Harrison and the steeplechase duo of Claire Borchers and Sarah Zieve. Kieffer-Wright, Borchers and Zieve will be competing for NCAA Championships bids.

Site: Lexington, Ky. (UK Outdoor Track & Field Complex)

Event: NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Day 1)

U-M Team Result: Non-scoring

Next U-M Event: Friday, May 26 -- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds - Day 2 (Lexington, Ky.), 4:30 p.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Michigan women's track and field team flexed its mid-distance muscles on the opening day of the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds on Thursday (May 25) as the Wolverines advanced a trio to Saturday's (May 27) 1,500-meter quarterfinal at UK Outdoor Track & Field Complex.

Jamie Morrissey ran the fastest time of anyone in the country on Thursday -- in the east or west regions -- in a career-best 4:17.57, while Jaimie Phelan was just narrowly edged out in a battle with the indoor NCAA mile champion in her heat, and Haley Meier came through in crunch time in hers to secure an automatic berth into Saturday's quarterfinal.

Morrissey and Meier will be vying for their first-ever berths to the NCAA Championships (June 7-10) in Eugene, Oregon, while Phelan is gunning for a chance to follow up on her first team All-America finish a year ago.

Only the top 12 on Saturday -- the gun goes off at 6:45 p.m. -- will advance to Eugene for a chance to compete at historic Hayward Field, and the Wolverines have a great shot to do just that. Morrissey will enter as the top seed, while Phelan and Meier ran the ninth- and 12th-fastest times of the day.

Phelan, the Big Ten champion, set the tone early in the first heat on Thursday with a narrow runner-up finish in 4:22.16 to NCAA indoor mile champion Karisa Nelson of Samford by .08 of a second. Just as she did in her Big Ten final two weekends ago, Phelan hung back in the pack for the first half of the race before making a strong surge with 500 meters to go.

She covered the penultimate 400 meters of the race faster than anyone else in the field before taking off for a 62.77-second sprint to the finish over the final 400 that was topped by only Nelson.

Morrissey's win in the third heat was more of a long, sustained burn as she clicked off three consecutive laps of 69 seconds and the end to win a dash to the finish over Providence's Millie Paladino by .13 in a career-best 4:17.57. Unlike Phelan, Morrissey established herself at the front of the pack early and stayed there throughout. She ran second throughout much of the race behind Megan Moye of NC State but swung around the field of five that had separated itself coming down the final straightaway and hung on through very windy conditions.

Meier's advancement was, relatively speaking, the most dramatic of the three women as she emerged from a near-blanket finish with the fourth-and-final heat's fifth-and-final automatic berth to the quarterfinals in 4:22.70.

Coming through the bell lap in third place, Meier crossed the line within .12 of a second of third place and within .26 of sixth.

Courtney Jacobsen kicked off the day for Michigan with a 33rd-place finish in the hammer throw to cap off an impressive debut season. The freshman ended her flight of 16 throwers -- the second of three on the day -- in 19th place after tossing her best mark of 54.33m (178-3) on her third-and-final attempt.

Jacobsen ended her inaugural campaign at Michigan already the second-farthest hammer thrower in school history.

Jade Harrison crossed the line at 400 meters in 54.58 to finish sixth in her heat and 32nd overall out of 48 women -- an improvement on the 42nd seed she carried entering the weekend.

Harrison will be back Friday with a run at a berth in the 200 meters, an event in which she finished ninth at the Big Ten Championships.

Day two continues Friday with action beginning at 4:30 p.m. as Big Ten high jump champion Claire Kieffer-Wright goes for an NCAA Championships berth. The evening will see Harrison go for a quarterfinals bid at 200 meters, and the duo of Claire Borchers and Sarah Zieve try to punch their ticket to Eugene in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar