As sophomore Chloe Foster approached the final stretch of the track and leaped over her final hurdle at Cardinal Park in Louisville, Ky., there was nothing but daylight behind her.
By the moment the second-place competitor crossed the finish line, nearly three seconds had passed. Foster cruised to a runaway victory in the 400-meter hurdles with a career-best outing of 58.60 seconds to cap off a successful day for the No. 21 Michigan women’s track and field team at the Louisville Invitational. It wasn’t just Foster who succeeded for the Wolverines. As a team, they won three events and placed in the top five in 11 total events on the day.
“(Foster) is a very hard worker,” said Michigan coach James Henry. “We have high expectation of her. We have a lot of confidence in her and it’s a matter of getting her confidence up.”
Foster’s performance not only shattered her previous personal record by nearly three-quarters of a second, but also moved her up to fifth all-time in school history for the 400-meter hurdles.
“It’s just the beginning of how good we think she can be as an athlete,” Henry said. “She’s a great student and I think she could be just as good as an athlete.”
Elsewhere on the track, the Wolverines posted strong showings from the middle-distance group. Junior Micaela DeGenero impressed in the 800-meter run with a 2:07.69 performance, more than a second faster than anyone else in the field.
Fresh off their own wins, Foster and DeGenero joined a team of sophomores, Alice Hill and Jenna Reid, to clinch the 4×400-meter relay (3:43.22), Michigan’s third and final victory of the meet. Junior Julia Hall and senior Meg Darmofal also impressed, by placing third in the 400 meters and 3,000 meters respectively.
“I think we had a number of performances to be proud of as a team,” Henry said. “Our athletes stepped up and had better competitions and better performances we were happy with.”
Senior Jeryne Fish set the tone for the Wolverines on the field with a personal record of 5.08 meters in the long jump. Her showing was particularly encouraging, as it came after her return from surgery that sidelined her for all of last season.
Junior Katt Miner continued Michigan’s stellar play on the field by posting a fifth-place finish in the high jump after a season-best 1.70 meter performance.
Health remains the key question for the Wolverines, as they head into the Big Ten Championships and the rest of postseason play.
“We have to stay healthy and we’re always as good as we are healthy,” Henry said. “We’re just starting to get the health under our athletic ability and that’s where we need to improve.”