By Melanie Kebler Daily Sports Writer
Michigan women’s track coach James Henry’s work is never done. Starting with the cross country season in the fall, then the indoor season throughout the winter and finally finishing with the spring outdoor season, the coach certainly has a year-round job.
“I’m pretty sure that we’re the only sport that has three full seasons in one year,” Henry said.
There also isn’t much time in between the different seasons that comprise one year of track competition, either. At the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 8-9, senior Katie Jazwinski was the Wolverines’ lone representative. Now, just two weeks later, the entire team heads to Tallahassee, Fla. to open its outdoor season at the Florida State Relays. Although the recent schedule has been grueling, Henry plans to use the trip as a substitute for the spring trip that many other sports programs get to take.
“The meet will give the team a chance to recover from the entire indoor season,” Henry said. “We’re expecting predictably warm weather, and it will be sort of like a vacation meet.”
The Wolverines will compete against several Florida schools at the non-scoring meet, and while they don’t plan on rolling over to the competition, Henry says there will be less of an emphasis on the team’s score.
“Yes, we want to win, but we aren’t going to go crazy over it,” he said. “The kids are going to perform under the parameters of our training.”
While the team is taking a laid-back approach to this meet, the importance of the opening meet of the outdoor season remains intact. Henry expects his top performers in the indoor season to continue their excellence this season as well.
Jazwinski – winner of the Athlete of the Championship award at the recent Big Ten Indoor Championships – is expected to continue her success in the distance events, while junior April Phillips and sophomore Melissa Bickett will lead the Wolverines in the throwing events. Both throwers broke school records during the indoor season.
“I would say those three ladies are going to lead the team,” Henry said.
Michigan enters the outdoor season with an overall goal of achieving balance. The team has already proved itself successful in the previous two sections of the track year, taking second at the Big Ten cross country championships and first at the conference indoor championships.
This weekend, however, the Wolverines are looking to take it easy and unwind before the outdoor season gets in full swing.