For the athletes of the Michigan men’s track team, this weekend’s Toledo Invitational represented different things. To many, it represented a week of rest before the Big Ten Outdoor Championships next weekend. But for others, it was the last opportunity to earn a spot on that rotation.
Though the Toledo Invitational didn’t have team scoring, many Wolverines still improved on their past performances and set themselves up to be able to compete in the postseason.
Senior sprinter Codie Nolan was one of those who turned in a good performance.
The co-captain returned from a hamstring injury on May 1 and set a personal record in the 100-meter dash at the Payton Jordan Invitational. This weekend, he beat that mark with a time of 10.65 seconds, winning the event for Michigan.
“It took me pulling my hamstring quite a few times to realize not to rush coming back,” Nolan said. “Once it was healed, and it felt better, me, the trainers and my coach focused on form and also getting my hamstrings as strong as we could, as fast as we could.”
Added Michigan coach Jerry Clayton: “He’s been a very good asset to the team, and he’s done a lot of hard work to get himself back. And now, he’s in a position where he can contribute and hopefully make the finals (of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships).”
Nolan wasn’t the only Wolverine to return from injury. Junior distance runner Austin Benoit made his outdoor debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a victory of his own. He ran the event in 9:04.99, a time that was just seven seconds shy of setting his own personal record.
Michigan also had success in some of the field events. Fifth-year senior thrower Brad Bolton set a personal record of his own by throwing 62.23 meters. The meet marked the first time Bolton threw over 60 meters in all three of his attempts.
With the final regular-season meet wrapped up on a high note, the Wolverines turn their focus to the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
“We will go back in our team meeting and review the team’s goals this year,” Clayton said. “We will look at what they set as goals for the outdoor, see if we can’t accomplish those and move on. Both as the individuals who had goals and the groups who had goals, and ultimately (if) we put those all together, it will give us the best result as a team.”
For Nolan, those goals are already on their way toward being reached.
“Our goals, for me and the team, were to (set personal records) and have everyone run their best races at the championship-level meets,” he said. “We just want to run the best race we can, and see what happens when the smoke clears.”
Next Saturday, when the Big Ten Outdoor Championships finish, it may be the last time that seniors like Nolan and Bolton compete for the Wolverines. But if their recent improvements are any indication, they will be going out with their goals met.