Coming off a victory in its first scored meet of the season, the Michigan track and field team returned to their home track for a third-straight weekend, hosting a field of 16 colleges and dozens of unattached individual athletes for the Michigan Invitational.
Though the event was not scored team-wise, the individual competition was fierce, with everything from meet records to international benchmarks being set at Saturday’s meet. Ultimately it was the women’s track team that had its members shine brightest for the Wolverines, winning five of its nine events.
“Our women’s program in general is pretty darn strong right now,” Michigan coach Kevin Sullivan said. “We can compete with anyone in the conference. Potential can be a dangerous word, but they have lots of it.”
Michigan got off to an explosive start in the meet, as sophomore Aasia Laurencin and freshman BreeAna Bates posted convincing victories in the women’s 60-meter dash and women’s 60-meter hurdles respectively.
It was sophomore Ziyah Holman’s performance in the women’s 600-meters that generated the most buzz among the crowd, however, as Holman and freshman Savannah Sutherland dueled it out entering the final turn. With a final push, Holman both won the event, and posted a facility record in the event with a 1:29.26 time — just one one-hundredth of a second faster than the previous record.
“I’m glad I could do the least and win my race, getting the record is an extra thing,” Holman said. “I always feel more comfortable on this track, and it helps me get in the right mindset for travel meets.”
On the men’s side, the Wolverines’ two victories of the day came in the 600 and 800-meter dashes. In the 800-meter, senior Derrick Simmons finished half a second faster than the next best runner, while in the 600-meter sophomore Dubem Amene posted a meet record time on the route to victory.
Dubem wasn’t the only Amene to win on the day however — his sister, senior Chika Amene, posted a victory in the women’s 400-meter dash.
“My sister brought me into track,” Dubem said. “She doesn’t understand how much she motivates me. She started it for both of us, and I want to get to her level before I’m done.”
With the end of the Michigan Invitational, the team now enters a significant road stretch, with just one of their remaining six regular season meets being hosted in Ann Arbor. Sullivan, however, is focused on a different perspective.
“We have quite a few athletes, particularly on the men’s side, that will be returning after this weekend, so we’re excited to get some depth.”