The women’s track and field team left the Mideast Regional in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday with five runners advancing to the National Outdoor Championships in Sacramento in two weeks.

Angela Cesere
Sophomore Nicole Edwards was the only Wolverines to finish in first place over the weekend in Knoxville, Tenn. (CAITLIN KLEIBOER/Daily)

After junior Erin Webster and sophomore Alyson Kohlmeier received automatic bids on Friday for their performance in the 5,000-meters, they were joined on Saturday by senior Arianne Field (3,000-meter steeplechase), sophomore Nicole Edwards (1,500-meters) and freshman Geena Gall (800-meters).

Edwards was the standout as the sole Wolverine to claim a first-place finish on the weekend. After qualifying for Saturday’s final with a time of 4:25.24, she cut almost eight seconds off her time in the final, finishing in 4:17.73. She stayed in the middle of the pack throughout the entire race, and did not make her push until she rounded the final turn. With just 100 meters remaining, Edwards made an enormous kick and broke away from her competitors, winning the race by .37 seconds over Marquette’s Michaela Courtney.

Gall tried to run a similar race in the 800-meters, and very nearly succeeded. After spending the majority of the race in third or fourth place, the Grand Blanc native tried to turn it on. But she was unable to pass Missouri’s Ashley Patten, and finished in second place by .25 seconds.

But most impressive might have been the race run by Field. The Kalamazoo native has shown steady improvement throughout her career at Michigan, and is peaking at the exact right time. After recording a personal-best time at the Big Ten Championships, she bettered that time by .07 seconds in the steeplechase on Saturday, claiming an automatic bid to Sacramento in the process. But given the hot and humid weather conditions, Field’s performance was even more outstanding.

“This is someone that developed and persevered throughout the Michigan program,” associate head coach Mike McGuire said through the athletic department. “She ran a time very close to her time at the Big Tens, but she fought extremely hard, racing with these kinds of conditions. She actually did better than what she did at the Big Tens.”

On Friday, the big race for the Wolverines was the 5,000-meter run. Michigan saw Kohlmeier and Webster both qualify for the national championships. Webster crossed the finish line in second place, less than a second behind winner, Notre Dame’s Molly Huddle. Webster’s finish (16:25.48) came just before Kohlmeier crossed the finished line less than two seconds later (16:27.12).

The Wolverines’ domination of the 5,000-meters contributed to what McGuire called “an outstanding weekend.” But Michigan does not plan to do anything special to prepare for Sacramento.

“It’s not much preparation at this point,” McGuire said through the athletic department. “There’s no magical workouts between now and then; we just have to sharpen a few things. We also have some recovery to do after dealing with the heat and traveling, but …everybody still has plenty of gas left in their tanks.”

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