Winning races and etching names into the record books will always be the goal for Michigan men’s and women’s track and field.
And, although the Michigan Invitational served as a pre-season non-scoring meet, the two units took the event as an opportunity to grow. The Wolverines focused on individual development before the start of their indoor track and field season.
At a meet that saw the Wolverines’ men and women combine for nine personal bests on the track, and sophomore distance runner Miles Brown set a facility record in the men’s 600 meter race, it lookin like a success on the surface. But even in those feats, Michigan was left yearning for more.
Brown’s facility record-setting performance clocked in at 1:17.06, more than a full second behind his personal best 1:15.87 set at the 2022 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. So despite his win, Brown felt like his performance could have been stronger.
“It’s always nice to win, I’m a huge fan of winning,” Brown said. “My (600 meter race) was okay, I probably should have gone out a little bit faster. But, you know, it’s the first race of the season, so it’s a good start.”
Overall, Michigan’s runners exceeded expectations against the competition, but its focus on development and preparation for the road ahead left it searching for more. That’s not to say that the Wolverines are taking this success for granted — they merely understand they haven’t yet hit their stride, nor do they expect to so early in the season.
“Half-a-second here, a tenth there, a lean at the line — those things matter,” Michigan director of track and field Kevin Sullivan said. “This is all preparation for those late season meets.”
Facing Olympians and other professionals, the Wolverines impressed, winning 10 of the event’s 18 races. Still, they recognized room for improvement.
Junior sprinter Ziyah Holman won the women’s 600 meter race with a time of 1:31.22, a full three seconds behind the personal best she set in 2021. Nevertheless, she remained optimistic about the future of her season and how the race could help her grow.
“That was one of my slowest openers,” Holman said. “It’s nice to get the dust off. But, I really appreciated the win, I really appreciated the progress, the process.”
For a program focused on early-season growth, every race won’t be perfect, and Michigan understands that. At the moment, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams are focused on making the progress they need to take the next leap ahead.
The Wolverines demonstrated their ability to win races, but if they don’t live up to their self-imposed expectations, they’ll struggle to compete with stronger collegiate competition. After finishing sixth and seventh in the Big Ten in men’s and women’s track and field last season, respectively, Michigan expects that its previous personal bests and early-season progress will put it in a good position for the upcoming season.
While the meet wasn’t perfect, the Wolverines know the importance of using it as a jumping-off point.
“I think it was encouraging,” Sullivan said. “It was a step forward from last week. We go into our first scored meet next week, so it’s nice to have a little bit of momentum.”
Early in the season, Sullivan and Michigan appreciate the wins as they come and how each one can help it grow. But, for the goals they have in mind, pre-season development is key.