It’s the beginning of the season, but forget about getting the kinks out or getting into a groove. There’s just no time for that.
And if you’re one of the runners who lined up for the 60-meter hurdles Saturday against Michigan sophomore Tiffany Ofili, you know there’s only about eight seconds or less to get those kinks out, or you might as well just hang up the track spikes and start cheering her on.
Ofili, an Ypsilanti native, smashed a Michigan school record Saturday in the 60-meter hurdles for the second straight week en route to a first-place finish (8.06). She also earned an NCAA automatic qualifying time in the unscored meet.
But who competes in just one event in a long track meet like the Red Simmons/Jack Harvey Invitational which takes hours and hours to end?
Not Ofili, especially when she finishes so quickly. She found time to set a personal best of 7.55 seconds in the 60-meter dash, (placing third), and took first in the long jump with a leap of 6.07-meters. It was just .02-meters shy of her personal best she set two weeks ago in the Michigan Women’s Open.
Fans cheering her on at the UM Indoor Track Building were excited by her performance, including Michigan coach James Henry.
“Being a double winner in the hurdles and long jump and running such a great time in the 60-meter dash was outstanding for her,” Henry said. “I was also happy to see her compete against a great athlete from USC (Carol Rodriguez), a local girl. (Ofili) stepped up to the plate and had an outstanding performance.”
As well as she did, Ofili wasn’t surprised by her marks.
“I feel excited and motivated right now,” Ofili said. “Every meet I go in hoping to get a personal best and (Saturday) I had two. I can’t complain with that.”
But Ofili wasn’t the only Wolverine who competitors had to worry about. The entire Michigan’s women’s indoor track and field team had a solid showing overall in the eight-team meet.
“We had outstanding performances from an outstanding group of young ladies,” Henry said. “The competition was good for us, and we were very pleased with the outcome of many individuals. Sometimes those kids who are consistently doing great, they don’t get noticed for that. I want to make sure that I notice that we’re pretty balanced from top to bottom.”
Junior Nicole Edwards was neck and neck with Michigan alum Andrea Parker down the stretch of the mile. But she crossed the line just .05 seconds behind Parker, finishing second with a personal best and an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:40.14.
Sophomore Geena Gall finished just behind Edwards in the mile to take third, but did so in stunning fashion. She shaved more than 13 seconds off her previous best, good for an NCAA provisional qualifying time.
Also earning an NCAA provisional qualifying mark was sophomore co-captain Bettie Wade, who on Friday, scored 3,911 points in the pentathlon.
This was the second straight week the women’s team secured four NCAA qualifying marks.
The Wolverines will travel to Central Michigan for the Michigan Intercollegiate meet this Saturday for their first scored meet of the season. The Wolverines will try to retain their title against Michigan’s major schools.