Prior to this weekend, it had been nearly three weeks since senior Cindy Ofili had run for Michigan. But the break didn’t seem to hinder her at all.
In her first competition since winning the 60-meter hurdle at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Ofili won all three of her events at the Battle of the Blues. The event, held in Durham, N.C., featured Michigan, Duke and North Carolina and was just the Wolverines’ second meet of the outdoor season.
With help from Ofili’s three victories, the Wolverines were triumphant, winning 83-68 and 83-48 over the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, respectively.
“I was very surprised with the performances, because we’re still in our work-training mode,” said Michigan coach James Henry. “I was really pleased to see us perform so well. It excites me to know we have plenty of maize-and-blue gas left in the tank.”
Ofili was the most productive Wolverine on the day, garnering 15 points. In the 100-meter dash, she narrowly pulled out a victory, winning by only 0.08 seconds with a time of 11.66. Her margin of victory in the 200-meter dash was even narrower. With a winning time of 23.46 seconds, Ofili beat a Duke runner by a mere 0.02 seconds.
In the 100-meter hurdles — which replaces the 60-meter hurdles in the outdoor season — Ofili had a slightly more comfortable margin of victory. With a winning time of 13.12 seconds, Ofili won by more than half a second.
“I close the race a lot faster on the 100-meter (hurdle),” Ofili said. “I appreciate this race a lot more since it allows me to present my strength a lot more than the 60 (-meter hurdle) did. I’m really happy that it’s finally the 100-meter hurdle race since that’s my favorite race.”
Ofili was only part of Michigan’s excellent day, though. In the 400-meter hurdles, junior Sami Mitchell beat senior Emily Wee by just 0.21 seconds, with a winning time of 59.44.
Fifth-year senior Shannon Osika also had a big day for the Wolverines, garnering 10 points. Osika narrowly won the 1,500-meter run and handily won the 3,000-meter run, in front of teammates junior Corinne Florie and sophomore Holly Petrusson.
Michigan’s least successful area was the field events. The Wolverines secured only one victory in those, with redshirt sophomore Aaron Howell clinching first in the long jump. Still, Henry doesn’t see the field events as holding the team back.
“We like to say, ‘We win as a team, we lose as a team,’ ” Henry said. “We won as a team, and if we want to improve, everybody must take some steps to improving.”