Most track and field spectators look forward to the fast-paced 200-meter dash or the competitive 4×400-meter relay. However, on Saturday, the athletes on the inside of the track were the ones to watch.
For Michigan, several athletes broke personal records in the men’s shot put, weight throw and pole vault, in addition to women’s shot put and high jump. At women’s weight throw, two throwers achieved their career bests and broke the school record.
As the only field event not inside the ring of the track, the weight throw event often feels isolated from the rest of the meet. That didn’t stop fifth-year Briana Nelson and senior Courtney Jacobsen from breaking the school record four separate times. However, when the event ended, Jacobsen emerged as the record-holder with a throw of 20.15 meters.
“It’s been a year and a half since I’ve competed,” Jacobsen said. “I think it was just getting back into the swing of things and mentally being able to come back from injury and contain my excitement, because I was so excited to get back out there.”
The other throwing event, the shot put, featured two first-place finishes and two career bests by both the men’s and women’s teams. Sophomore Amanda Schaare threw 15.22 meters, beating her previous best by over one and a half meters. Sophomore John Meyer threw 18.79 meters, edging out his previous best by just 0.04 meters.
The Wolverines earned another first place finish from sophomore Eric Harris in the pole vault. Harris beat his career indoor best by 0.6 meters with a height of 4.75 meters.
At women’s high jump, two senior jumpers — Jada Wimberly and Katt Miner — beat their career bests. Wimberly jumped a height of 1.75 meters and Miner jumped a height of 1.8 meters, which also beat the meet record by 0.02 meters.
“(Miner) certainly has shown signs of being ready to jump well and this was a great opener for her, for sure,” jumping coach Jenny Ashcroft said. “Jada has had a couple years off of competition so for her to come out in her first competitive meet in a while was really spectacular. We’re really excited for her to be able to do that.”
Added Miner: “Me and Jada wanted to be really relaxed today and not stressed about anything. Our goal was just to make bar and just try to be consistent. And it just went way better than we both expected, but I think that’s just because we weren’t stressed about height or anything at all today.”
Wimberly and Miner finished third and first, respectively. In between jumps they continued to look to each other and their coaching staff for reassurance and encouragement.
“I think a lot of it was that we were doing well so just kind of like ‘keep doing that, keep the bar up, keep your shoulder away from the bar,’ ” Miner said of her coach’s support. “Normally, when we’re doing well she doesn’t try to tweak a lot, but just gave us positive reinforcement and tried to keep our heads level.”
Saturday’s meet was a non-scored event, but the results of the field events are good signs for the future meets of the indoor season. Although what’s going on in the middle of the track is not always the most glamorous to watch, Michigan’s field event athletes on Saturday showed just how exciting they can be.