On a day when the Michigan women’s track and field team had its worst showing of the past decade at the Big Ten Championships — finishing eighth — one yearly tradition continued: a Pendleton placed first in the discus throw.
Junior Emily Pendleton entered the event as the reigning two-time champion, but it was her little sister, freshman Erin Pendleton, who not only took home first place in the event but also set a championship record with a throw of 56.31 meters on the final day of competition.
“I was very excited, I actually didn’t know about it until a couple throws after I broke it,” Erin Pendleton said. “I didn’t even know what the record was. I was just worried about trying to concentrate on what I was trying to do, which was my very best.”
Emily Pendleton finished as the runner-up in the discus with a throw of 54.57 meters and was very excited that the Pendleton tradition of winning this event could live on for another year. Both sisters insist that they carry a friendly rivalry because, after all, they are on the same team.
“It takes a lot to get first place in the Big Ten, let alone first and second,” Emily Pendleton said. “I’m really excited, and it was another eighteen points for our team so it was a good turn out.”
Coach James Henry was impressed with the discus results this week and thinks both sisters can be strong players.
“They’re very close, that still puts it in the category of a Pendleton winning three championships in a row and that’s how I look at it,” Henry said. “Both of them are going to be very good, and both will continue to improve.”
Unfortunately, Erin Pendleton’s victory was the only first-place finish for the Wolverines during the three-day event.
Day one was highlighted by Emily Pendleton’s runner-up finish in the hammer throw giving, and day two saw redshirt sophomore Allison Liske take fourth in the shot put that gave Michigan fifteen points overall heading into the final day in eighth place.
The final day saw freshman Ada Unachukwu record a career-best distance of 12.21 meters in the triple jump to finish sixth. Senior captain Shana Vinson recorded a career-best of 53.70 and a fourth place finish in the 400 meter dash.
In the 100-meter hurdles, redshirt junior Charnee Lumbus (13.44) and sophomore Julian Purvis (13.68) took home fourth and fifth place, respectively.
In the one-lap 4 x 100-meter relay, Vinson and Purvis were joined by senior Teleicia Rose and junior Jennifer Neville as Michigan took sixth in the event with a time of 46.61.
Michigan finished the competition with 56 points while Penn State took home the Big Ten crown with 133.50 points.
“Overall I was very happy on the way the team came together, how they worked hard,” Henry said. “The results were better than what we thought. We’re young and inexperienced, but we worked just as hard as we did in the past.”