The starting guns fire. Multiple feet take to the track. The crowd sits in anticipated chatter until the Wolverine rankings are called out.
The Michigan men’s and women’s track and field teams dominated the Silverston Invitational last Friday, closing its final indoor meet. In the fierce meet against local competition including Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Detroit Mercy, the Wolverines took individual wins in events ranging from hurdles, the 200-meter dash and pole vaults.
The men’s and women’s teams both won the 60-meter hurdles. Junior Joshua Zeller took first place in the men’s hurdles event with a time of 7.68 seconds. His swift performance landed him among the top 16 for NCAA Indoor Championships, and he now ranks 10th in NCAA Division I. Senior Job Mayhue placed fifth, standing at a solid 8.18 seconds.
Sophomore Aasia Laurencin also placed first at 8.21 seconds, marking the fourth-fastest time in Michigan history for 60 meter hurdles. Her teammates, junior Madison Eaton, senior Theresa Mayanja and graduate student Carlita Taylor, placed fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.
The making of a team is vital to the success of a program. Michigan assistant coach Steven Rajewsky believes that the Wolverines possess the attributes that will help them become successful during the Big Ten Championships.
“I think they really bought into the qualities of a family,” Rajewsky said. “It’s not a gender thing, it’s not an event area thing, it’s a Michigan track and field thing.”
Freshman Breeana Bates, who won the 60-meter dash with an impressive 7.92 seconds, said that Michigan is the “best supportive team” she’s ever been on.
“Regardless of what you do… they uplift you,” Bates said. “The team dynamic here is great.”
The Wolverines also ranked high on the podium in several other sprint and middle-distance events. Senior Chika Amene and freshman Jacob Koerner won the women’s and men’s 200-meter dash, Amene at 24.74 seconds and Koerner a solid 22 seconds. Freshman Lawrence Gilliam won the 400-meter dash with a personal best of 49.07 seconds.
Junior Lauren Fulcher and senior Eva Jansohn scored first for the 600- meter and 800- meter dash, while junior Thomas Shilgalis added onto the first place train in the men’s 800 M dash.
Sophomore Mia Manson took second place in the women’s pole vault standing at 3.91 m, no small feat considering Manson says it will be “one of the most competitive years in the women’s pole vault at Big Ten’s.”
With a strong 4.92m in men’s pole vault, sophomore Henry Sheldon instantly placed himself in the number one spot. For shot put, both junior Aiden Felty and senior Amanda Schaare placed second during the finals, with throws of 16.79 and 15.02 meters..
The Wolverines’ strong performances across the board put them in a stellar position for the Big Ten Championships.
Overall, Michigan takes a determined and humbled approach towards its future. The sense of community and encouragement that the team provides will be an asset in upcoming competitions.
“Know that you’re competing, make sure you’re putting your best foot forward every time,” Gilliam said.