With its seventh-place finish at the Big Ten championship this weekend, the Michigan women’s track and field team produced a disappointing performance, well below expectations. Having won the tournament last year, coach James Henry was not pleased with his team’s result.
“It was nowhere near what we were looking for,” Henry said.
The Wolverines scored just 54 points, finishing far behind Penn State, which won the competition with 96.5 points.
Senior Erin Finn and redshirt junior Gina Sereno, two of the program’s most prolific runners, spearheaded the team’s outing of few positives.
Finn won a pair of third-place finishes in the 5,000-meter run and the 3,000-meter run, after winning both races last season.
Sereno, on the other hand, was able to give Michigan a victory in the individual category with her win in the 3,000-meter run, an improvement over her fourth-place finish in the event last season. It was her third Big Ten title and her first indoors.
The redshirt junior further added to the Wolverines point total by setting a career-best time in the 5,000-meter run, placing sixth.
However, by far Michigan’s most encouraging and exciting performance at the tournament was freshman Jade Harrison’s fourth-place result in the 400-meter run.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., native broke two school records over the course of the weekend, finishing her second run with a time of 52.84 seconds.
“I knew I was going to be on the traveling team, but I definitely didn’t know that I would be doing as well as I am doing right now (at the start of the season),” Harrison said.
Despite the few standout individual performances, the Wolverines were clearly disappointed with their seventh-place finish.
“It wasn’t Michigan track individual, it was Michigan women’s track team,” Henry said.
Michigan will need to quickly evaluate and reflect on its performance at the Big Ten Championships and focus on the upcoming NCAA Championships.
Sereno and Finn will be competing in the meet as individuals, and while Harrison failed to qualify in the individual category, she is expected to compete as part of the Wolverines’ distance medley relay team, which qualified for nationals for the 15th consecutive year. Senior Jamie Morrissey, junior Jaimie Phelan and Sereno will also compete as part of the DMR team.
Henry said the team needs to do the unexpected when it competes. The coach praised Harrison for being one of Michigan’s few runners who was able to do that during the Big Ten Championship.
“You have to be willing to work hard when things do not go your way,” Henry added. “You have to be willing to take bad and make great from it.”