This weekend, the men and women’s track and field teams took off across the country, competing in both Lexington, Ky. and Boston, Mass. After spending the past two weeks competing at home, the Wolverines were ready for the competition the road challenge brings.
The busy weekend began in Kentucky on Friday at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational. Here, the Michigan throwers showed off their abilities, with senior Manning Plater fighting to take first place with a throw of 21.47 meters. Although Plater started slowly, he was able to improve drastically, making it to the finals and ultimately winning.
“He did a great job.” Michigan coach Jerry Clayton said. “That’s giving him an experience where if he gets in that situation in a championship in the Big Ten, he has that confidence where he can come back in that third round, get a mark that advances him, and then improve on every mark throughout the final.
“Then to go into the sixth round in second place and then put one together that moved him into first, I mean, that was really good and a great experience.”
Similar improvement was seen from sophomore Amanda Schaare in shot-put, who after fouling a few times was able to end with a personal best of 15.66m. Plus, graduate student Briana Nelson and senior Courtney Jacobsen finished the throwing competition in eighth and ninth place.
“That’s as good as you’re going to get,” Clayton said. “That’s what we’re using these meets for so that when we get to the Big Ten Championships we’re ready to line up.”
As the weekend continued, the Wolverines continued to perform well in Lexington. Freshman Josh Zeller finished seventh overall in the 60m hurdles, finishing the race in under eight minutes. Senior hurdler Sierra Hendrix-Williams followed close behind him, finishing in eighth place with a time of 8:08.
“The hurdlers did a really great job,” Clayton said. “Josh is really coming into his own being a freshman in that event.”
Michigan made strides in other events throughout the meet as well. In the mile, junior Julia Vanitvelt claimed fifth place with a time of 4.54. Additionally, sophomore Ian Davis was able to take seventh place in the 400-meter dash at 47.94 seconds. The Wolverine’s 4×400 relay team also took seventh place, finishing out the meet.
Across the country, Michigan also showed improvement at the John Thomas Terrier Classic Invitational in Boston.
“Out of the group that went to Boston, eight of them had personal bests,” Clayton said. “That’s what it’s about this time of year.”
In the mile, redshirt sophomore Anthony Berry and redshirt freshman Cole Johnson both got career bests, with times of 4:01 and 4:05 respectively. The 3,000-meter dash also saw improvement from the Wolverines, with personal bests from sophomore Gabe Mudel, and seniors Jacob Lee and Devin Meyrer. In fact, Meyrer was only one second shy of breaking eight minutes, with a finishing time of 8:01.
Redshirt junior Joost Plaetinck was able to finish the meet in Boston off strong, ending in seventh place in the 5,000m with a time of 14:14.
Michigan hopes to carry this positive momentum home to the Power Five Invitational.
“We’re excited about having some teams from the other conferences,” Clayton said. “On top of that, these teams are very competitive within their conferences, so that really brings a lot of good competition to our student-athletes, giving them an opportunity to improve upon their seasonal marks as we move forward for the Big Ten Championships.”