Behind distance corps, women’s track concludes regular season

By Greg Garno, Daily Sports Writer
Published May 5, 2013

Redshirt junior Jillian Smith came down the homestretch of the 800-meter run at the Toledo Invitational, holding off a group of runners right on her heels.

And for Smith, it had to be an unfamiliar scenario. Not because she was leading — the New Jersey native was national champion as a member of the distance medley relay earlier this year and is a five-time USTFCCCA All-American.

No, Smith was followed by not one but five of her teammates en route to taking the first six spots as part of the Wolverines last meet before the Big Ten championships.

Though the meet was non-scoring, Michigan came away with five first-place finishes and five more second-place finishes.

Smith edged out redshirt freshman Shannon Osika and senior Amanda Eccleston by less than one second as part of the Wolverines’ dominant performance. The trio, along with sophomore Brooke Handler and junior Meg Bellino, all finished with a personal best time.

And Smith wouldn’t be the only Michigan athlete with a teammate on her heels. Sophomore Taylor Pogue and junior Lindsey Hiltonwent went 1-2 in the 3,000-meter run, with times of 9:56.60 and 9:59.93, respectively.

Freshman Taylor Manett continued the winning ways, capturing first place in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:28.45.

The distance corps rounded out a strong day when junior Megan Weschler won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:38.64.

The Wolverines took second place in two field events as junior Kiley Tobel finished second in the pole vault with a height of 3.95 meters. Senior Erin Pendleton took second in the discus with a toss of 50.66 meters. Erin finished behind sister Emily, who competed unattached.

Junior Amber Smith ended Michigan’s strong day with a first-place finish in the 100-hurdles, crossing the line in 13.66.

None of the Wolverines’ four relays managed to finish in the top two, despite the bounty of depth.

Michigan’s performance concluded its regular season. It will now head to Columbus, Ohio for the Big Ten championship where it will look to improve upon its seventh place finish from last year.