There are few things more satisfying in an athlete’s
career than to come back and be successful after suffering an
injury.

Sophomore Elizabeth Boyle may have fallen five inches short of
first place in the pole-vault at the Yellow Jacket Invitational at
Georgia Tech, but at roughly 13 feet in the air, she was soaring
above any other female athlete in Michigan history. Last year,
Boyle set the school record at 12-foot-10. At this year’s
Atlanta Invitational, Boyle cleared a height of 13-foot-3.5.

After attending a camp in Jonesborough, Ark., this past summer,
Boyle was invited to stay an extra week to receive individual
attention. It turned into a month, and eventually Boyle decided to
take the fall semester off to train.

But just as she was returning to Michigan in the winter, Boyle
tore her quadriceps muscle. She is currently recovering from the
injury with intensive physical therapy.

“At first, they didn’t know the muscle was
torn,” she said. “I started doing pool workouts, but
nothing was working, so I took a month off and the pain slowly
subsided.”

The Yellow Jacket Invitational was just Boyle’s second
meet of the year. By integrating her meets with her therapy, she
had few expectations except to recover and “get back into the
swing of things.”

Boyle explained that, before the jump, a normal approach to the
bar would be considered 14 steps. In her first meet back, she could
manage just eight steps. Even with just a 12-step approach, she was
able to break the record.

“I learned a lot down in Jonesborough,” Boyle
modestly said.

As the season continues, Boyle said she is not setting
expectations for herself but is surprised with her performance.

“It’s so soon back that I wasn’t expecting to
break my record,” she said. “It just felt great having
the support of the whole team and the coaches.”

Boyle wasn’t the only member of the women’s track
and field team to have a noteworthy comeback performance this
weekend. The team took the divide-and-conquer approach, sending the
throwers and distance runners to Tampa at the South Florida
Invitational and the jumpers and sprinters to the Yellow Jacket
Invitational.

Senior quad-captain Melissa Bickett has been nursing her
sprained ankle for weeks on end. Her first-place finish in discuss
this weekend is a sign of her progress, showing she is just one
step closer towards full rehabilitation.

“Melissa is finally coming back,” throwing coach
Anne Tackas said.

While the throwers had an average performance, the long distance
runners had a slew of personal-best performances and first-place
finishes.

Runner Lindsey Gallo ran the 800-meters in 2:11.07 for a
first-place finish, only to run the 1,500-meter Invitational Run a
few hours later and win the event clocking in at 4:23.47
seconds.

Other highlights included the 1,500-meter event, where Teresa
Feldkamp, Erin Webster and Chelsea Homan had first, second and
third place finishes, respectively.

Both Feldkamp and Webster qualified for the NCAA Regional
Championships with their times. Michigan runners Katie Erdman,
Jessie Allen-Young and Jackie Gaydos went one, two and three,
respectively, in the 3,000-meter event. Junior Ana Gjesdal had an
outstanding performance, finishing first in the 3,000-meter
steeplechase with a time of just over 11 minutes.

“The weather was pretty windy and not quite what we were
expecting,” distance coach Mike McGuire said. “We
performed well despite it and are off to a great start.”

Back in Atlanta, senior quad-captain sprinter Vera Simms posted
an NCAA Regional qualifying time of 59.12 seconds in the 400-meter
hurdles.

Runners, jumpers, throwers and sprinters will all reunite in
Knoxville, Tenn. this Friday for the Sea Ray Relays.

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