A few seconds into the 400-meter dash, sophomore Seth Waits saw himself in a tough situation.
He lagged behind three opponents by nearly 40 meters, and it didn’t seem possible for him to win. But quickly, he soared from behind to win first place at 49.3 seconds, his fastest time yet.
Just like Waits, after a relaxing two-week vacation, the rest of the Michigan’s track team came back at full blast at the Jack Harvey Invitational Saturday.
The Wolverines had just a week to prepare for the meet, but despite the short layoff, they were ready to run when the time came.
“I felt pretty confident today and had a few good weeks of practice, and knew I could come out and have a good race,” Waits said.
Although the meet was non-scoring, the competition was still fierce, and Michigan was hopeful that a high energy level would help prepare for the rest of the season.
“(Saturday’s) meet (was) really an opportunity to whip the team back in shape after vacation,” coach Ron Warhurst said.
Senior Alex L’Hereux was impressive, pulling out a first-place finish in the mile, with an astonishing time of 4:14.
“Today I came out and did what my coaches and I expected,” L’Hereux said.
Both coaches and teammates hoped for an outstanding showing from L’Hereux, and that confidence led him to victory.
The Wolverines’ camaraderie was a main theme at the exhibition. Even though two of Michigan’s top runners, sophomore Nate Brannen and freshmen Nick Willis, did not participate, they went to support their teammates who did compete in the meet.
The close team atmosphere is something the Wolverines hope will be beneficial in their meets down the road.
“We hang out as much as we can as a team, and we also try to support each other as much as possible at practice,” sophomore Nathan Taylor said.
“I have definitely noticed that our team unity is better than last year. We are all striving for the team goal of making the Big Ten Championships, and teamwork will help get us there.”
Warhurst agreed with Taylor’s assessment.
“Track is an individual sport, and individually athletes have to perform. If the individuals perform, it makes the team stronger,” Warhurst said.
“You have to have enough self respect and respect for your teammates to say that you want to be a good team member, and do as best you can. You can’t isolate yourself because track takes on a holistic theory of life.”