A banner with the words “Beat Michigan” hung in the French Field House in Columbus this past Saturday for the women’s track dual. The intensity for the Michigan and Ohio State rivalry didn’t dwindle for even this relatively small sport. Fuel was only added to the fire when The Dual was ruled a draw at 81 points.

The 19th-ranked Wolverines showed their strengths in the middle distance events against the 11th-ranked Buckeyes by sweeping the 600-meter races and above.

Junior Rebecca Addison took first in both the mile and the 800-meter run, while a different teammate each time cleaned up with second place.

Freshman Brook Handler finished second in the 800 meter run, and freshman Shannon Osika claimed second place in the mile.

“I am really pleased with their performance,” said Michigan coach James Henry. “Ohio is ranked very high nationally, and is very deep. Our girls really stepped it up today.”

Michigan’s dominance continued with sophomore Kiley Tobel and freshman Victoria Wesley going 1-2 in the pole vault event. The Wolverines’ jumpers also secured wins in their events — senior Tofunmi Akeredolu won the long jump and junior Ada Unachukwu claimed first in the triple jump.

“Our standouts today were definitely the middle distance runners and long jumpers,” said Henry. “We have a lot of freshman really stepping up.”

The Wolverines had added incentive to step up with the visual motivation of the “Beat Michigan” banner in plain sight before each race.

“I did my best to motivate the girls before the meet … but it was the banner today that really did it for us,” said Henry. “ I told the girls to look at it every time they stepped up to race today.”

Henry explained that while he was impressed with his team’s performance, his primary goal is to have it continue to improve throughout the season and to not lose the momentum they have going for them right now.

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