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Ofili captures second straight 60-meter hurdle NCAA crown

BY AMY SCARANO
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 15, 2009

Four one-hundredths of a second was the difference between an NCAA Championship title and second place.

Chris Dzombak/Daily
Tiffany Ofili at the Simmons/Harvey Invitational on January 24, 2009. (Chris Dzombak/Daily)

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And Michigan senior Tiffany Ofili was on the better end of that fraction of a second.

With a season-best time of eight seconds flat, she captured her second straight NCAA Championship in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday.

Ofili’s fourth NCAA crown of her career – two of which were 100-meter outdoor wins – helped the Wolverines finish 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas.

Seniors Bettie Wade and Geena Gall both earned All-American honors. Wade came in fifth in the pentathlon with a season-best 4,252 points, earning four points for Michigan, and Gall came in sixth in the 800-meter race, contributing three points.

But Ofili was far and away Michigan’s bright spot.

“Things that happened in prior competitions don’t mean anything when you step on the line,” Ofili said. “I don’t pay attention to what happened in the past because every time you race you have the chance to win or lose.”

After an undefeated indoor season in which Ofili ran five 60-meter hurdle races, she was ranked No. 1 in the nation heading into Saturday’s race. Being the favorite guaranteed her nothing going into the race, coach James Henry said.

“Such a short race, over within eight seconds, everything must be perfect,” Henry said. “Everything must be right. The slight mistake could cost you the championship. … It was impressive that she could pull it off knowing that everyone had their eyes on her.”

Aside from Ofili, no Wolverine scored more than four points for the team. Only Wade and Gall scored in the top eight in their event, the cutoff point for collecting points towards a team total.

“Our goal was to try to improve over our best previous performances,” Henry said. “With the competition and as a team, we wanted to be top four or top six. It turns out the competition was stellar and we didn’t have a great day. We fell a little bit short, but I was happy with the kids’ efforts and how they performed.”