On Saturday, international collegiate athletes, Michigan alum and Olympians gathered in Ann Arbor’s new south campus athletic complex to break in the new indoor track.
The Wolverines hosted the Wolverine Invitational, a non-scoring meet featuring top talent from across the country. The meet was a chance for Michigan’s track and field programs to test the waters on their pristine new track. The Wolverines learned what it’s like to compete on their new home turf.
Despite being a preseason event, there were still numerous highlights. Both the men’s and women’s teams fared impeccably well against stiff competition.
For the men’s team, events such as the 60-meter, 400-meter and 4 x 400m relay unfolded favorably as Michigan took the top spot in all of these events. The Wolverines also managed second-place finishes in the 60-meter hurdles, 800-meter, one mile, weight throw and high jump.
These performances were driven behind senior Khoury Crenshaw in the 60-meter with a time of 6.80 seconds and freshman Jandon Briscoe in the 400-meter with a time of 47.82 seconds.
The women’s team faired equally well, notching top finishes in the 400-meter, 4 x 400 relay and high jump. Scoring top finishes were sophomore Jade Harrison in the 400-meter with a time of 55.48 seconds, senior Claire Kieffer-Wright in the high jump clearing 1.73 meters and the Michigan A team in the 4 x 400 relay, clocking a 3:44.91 finish. Michigan also secured second-place positions in the 60-meter, one mile and weight throw.
Some of the Wolverines’ second-place accolades also garnered praise, such as junior Matt Plowman, who finished the 800-meter behind two-time Olympic medalist and Michigan alum Nick Willis.
“I think I did good for the first meet,” Harris said. “And I think the whole team did super well for the first meet as well. There were a lot of standouts like Jandon (Briscoe), he did really well in the 400, and then (junior) Meghan (Marias) got second place in the 60, then stepped up to be in the 4 x 4.”
What makes these performances even more exemplary is that every individual’s winning mark will now serve as the new facility record. While some records may be broken in subsequent meets, others look to last a while. Unattached triple jumper Donald Scott landed a noteworthy 17.06-meter jump, a mark that would have dethroned the old facility record, and professionals Nicole Sifuentes and Shannon Osika ran the fastest mile times ever recorded in the state of Michigan at 4:27.69 and 4:28.30, respectively.
All in all, one of the largest crowds to ever watch a home Michigan track meet was impressed with not only the quality of the competition, but of the new facility as well.
“At first it was pretty nerve-wracking,” Briscoe said. “But after my first 60, I felt settled in, and honestly — this is one of the best tracks I’ve ran on. I’ve been all over the country running track, and this is probably the best track for sprints I’ve ever had.”
Added Michigan women’s coach James Henry: “You can never have a second chance to make a first impression. And these kids’ first impression, I thought, was very good. There’s a reason we put up a world class facility — because we wanted to bring in world class athletes, and we want to get to the point where these kids can aspire to be such a person.”