The Michigan men’s and women’s track teams traveled to Notre Dame for the two-day Meyo Invitational, where the team’s depth was showcased. Still early in the season with only three indoor meets completed and only one having been scored, the Wolverines looked to continue developing in South Bend against a deep field of teams.
Michigan just saw three athletes compete on Friday with runners in the men’s 5,000 meter race and the women’s 600 meter race. On Saturday, the depth of the distance program was on display, along with the potential for short distance success.
“This year we have a really special group and … winning (the Big Ten Championship) is a huge goal and something that’s really attainable for our girls,” fifth-year Aurora Rynda said. “And qualifying as many people as possible to the (NCAA Championships) is something that is also really attainable.”
In the men’s one-mile race, junior Anthony Hancock finished second in 4:05.23. The invitational also included the Meyo Mile, another one-mile race in which senior Nick Foster finished first in 3:56.89, followed by graduate Arjun Jha in fourth and junior Oli Raimond in seventh.
The success of the Wolverines’ men’s in the mile carried over into mid-distance events. Sophomore Lawrence Gilliam finished fourth in the 400 meters with a time of 48.32 and fifth-year Derrick Simmons finished eighth in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.62 — both times emblematic of the potential Michigan holds.
“We have a really deep team right now and guys are running well,” Foster said. “In every meet everybody just keeps improving, and we feel that as a group, we have a lot to prove in the next couple of weeks.”
The Wolverines’ women’s team also saw success in mid-distance events. Rynda finished first in the 800 meter final with a time of 2:02.99, almost three seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Three Michigan runners placed second, fifth and seventh in the non-finals heat of the 800, adding onto the depth of the women’s team.
As long as Michigan remains healthy, its goals for the season can become even more feasible. Consistency in training and health will remain key to the Wolverines’ journey.
“The name of the game is to just stay healthy and maintain consistency,” Rynda said. “So being able to hit good workouts and stay healthy … will probably be some of the most important things going into the postseason.”
Not only will this consistency help, but the ever-apparent depth of Michigan will continue to be influential, as it continued to step up at the Meyo Invitational.
Graduate Nikki Stevens finished fifth in the women’s 400 meters with a time of 54.27, showing potential to be built upon as the season continues. The Wolverines also had three runners in the women’s one mile race, a number that could increase as the season progresses due to the depth of the underclassmen distance runners.
On the men’s team, the underclassmen distance runners showed their talents in the 3,000 meter race, with freshman Caleb Jarema finishing fourth with a time of 8:15.51, right behind his teammate, junior Zach Stewart. Jarema’s proximity to an upperclassman teammate could allow him to continue to develop as a member of the team.
The success of both underclassmen and upperclassmen on the Michigan men’s and women’s track teams shows its depth that could continue to be built upon as the season progresses. With only one scored meet so far, the Wolverines will have to continue competing in the upcoming scored meets.
“You never know until you actually get into those big races to know where you stand,” Foster said. “But I think everybody’s progressing to a point where we’ll be ready to compete in the scored meets in the next couple of weeks.”