The Michigan women’s track and field team has been competing hard for almost two months. But up until Saturday at the Michigan Invitational, the results didn’t matter. The team had competed in four meets, including the season-opening intrasquad scrimmage that were all non-scoring
The Wolverines won six events and claimed the title, winning the meet with a total of 145 points. They topped their closest competitor — intrastate rival Eastern Michigan — by 24 points. The rest of the field included Michigan State (96 points), Central Michigan (94), Western Michigan (66) and Detroit (4).
Individual winners included seniors Sierra Hauser-Price (200-meter), Anna Jones (800-meter) and Lindsey Gallo (3,000-meter), junior Stephanie Linz (high jump), and freshman Nicole Edwards (mile).
But the athlete that looked most impressive was junior Theresa Feldkamp.
Feldkamp ran a dominant opening 1,200-meter leg of the distance-medley relay. On just her second lap around the track she was leading the competition by over 60 meters — and she didn’t look back. Feldkamp increased her lead to 100 meters on her fifth lap and handed her teammates a lead that was nearly impossible to lose. Sophomores Kiana Sprinfield and Melissa Dunn and senior Andrea Parker just widened the gap as the race progressed. On Dunn’s 800-meter leg, the Wolverines lapped the Detroit team. And on Parker’s leg — the last of the race — the team lapped both the Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan teams.
“Theresa has been running really well recently,” distance coach Mike McGuire said. “Her first leg of the relay was unbelievably impressive, especially considering she had nobody to race against. She’s running strong and consistently, and we’re excited for the Big Ten meets.”
Feldkamp’s run was especially remarkable considering that she had never run a 1,200-meter race before. A middle distance runner, Feldkamp has run 600m, 800m and mile races this season.
“I just felt really good, really relaxed,” Feldkamp said. “It was really slow at the start of the race, and I just decided to go for it. It felt really easy, and it gave me a lot of encouragement for the mile.”
Junior Stephanie Linz claimed the top spot in the high jump competition, leaping over a height of 5-10. Linz was forced to come through under pressure, as she failed to clear the bar until her third and final try. Her main competition — Central Michigan jumper Tamera Thomas — stayed with Linz until 5-10, but was unable to clear the bar with her three attempts. Michigan senior Jennifer Williams came in third with a finishing height of 5-6.
The Wolverines swept the mile run, with freshman Nicole Edwards beating out freshman teammate Alyson Kohlmeier for the win. Kohlmeier and Edwards led the group the entire race, and Edwards passed Kohlmeier on the final turn to take the win.
“The plan was for Aly to take the lead after the first three laps, and we would try to run a 4:35,” Edwards said. “She took it, but, by the time she did, I was already tired, and I was just trying to stay with her. It didn’t feel as good as my last mile, but I’m still happy with the way it turned out.”
Edwards won the race with a time of 4:45.98, Kohlmeier finished in 4:46.90 and sophomore Jackie Gaydos completed the sweep in 4:52.02, edging out Michigan State runner Lisa Senakiewich by .87 seconds.
The team was pleased with the win but expects the competition to pick up next weekend at Notre Dame. South Bend boasts a very fast track and some very strong competition, the likes of which Michigan has not seen yet this year. After the meet, McGuire addressed the team and stressed the importance of performing well next weekend.
“The competition will really pick up next weekend and in these next couple of meets,” McGuire said. “This is what we’ve been working for. We’ve been competing hard and staying focused, and we have to make sure to carry that with us to these next couple meets.”