The final scores were announced over the loud speaker at the Indoor Track Building on Feb. 27. “In second place with 117.5 points… Illinois. In first place with 130 points… Michigan.” Players hugged, screamed, slapped high-fives and raised one finger to the air. Chants of ‘The Victors’ resonated throughout the building. The Wolverines had regained the championship they lost last year, and, for the third time in four years, the Michigan women’s track and field team had won the Big Ten indoor title.
“I was very happy that the strategy our coaches and I came up with worked this weekend,” Michigan coach James Henry said. “We put together a winning team, and I am very proud of our results.”
Senior Lindsay Gallo propelled this return to the top with an impressive weekend. On Saturday, she took the track to compete in the 3,000-meter run. For most of the race, she hung with the pack. Gallo — along with Jaime Turilli and Cassie Hunt of Illinois — separated from the rest of the field, and, with 400 meters left, Gallo switched into high gear and pulled away for the victory.
With one individual title already in hand, Gallo prepared for the mile run on Sunday. The race was no contest. Gallo again set the pace with Hunt and the two pulled comfortably into the lead. Then, with 600 meters left, Gallo took off. With 400 meters remaining, she appeared to be running in her own race as she extended the lead and kicked her way to another individual title.
To cap off a remarkable weekend, Gallo was at it again in the 5,000-meter run just an hour later. Following her usual pattern of staying near the lead and then streaking to a late victory, Gallo again turned on the jets with 400 meters left and beat out Turilli and Hunt en route to her third individual title of the weekend.
“My training is geared towards kicking at the end,” Gallo said. “We work very hard so that I have that extra burst at the end of the race. I prepared hard and it worked out well this weekend”
That may be the understatement of the year. Gallo’s three titles contributed 30 of Michigan’s 130 total team points. Adding to the accomplishment was the fact that it was her first time competing in the 5000-meter run all year.
“I wasn’t even sure that I would run the 5,000-meter,” Gallo said. “We needed the points, so I ran the race. But I wasn’t sure I could win until I got out there.”
Senior Sierra Hauser-Price had a stellar weekend as well. Hauser-Price powered past the rest of the field in the 200-meter dash to edge out Penn State’s Shana Cox for the title.
Even more determination poured out in the 60-meter dash, where HauserPrice sprinted stride for stride with Ohio State’s Jenna Harris. As they crossed the finish line, each runner leaned their bodies forward and fell flat on their stomachs. Although Hauser-Price got the short end of the final results, her sprawling second place effort was an inspiring site to behold.
“It was a great race, and I wanted to win very badly,” Hauser-Price said. “It was very close, and I give lots of respect to Jenna Harris.”
Also turning in strong performances for the Wolverines were freshman Nichole Edwards and seniors Theresa Feldkamp and Stephanie Linz. Edwards ran a solid 600-meter dash, making a late push to win her heat, but ended up coming in second overall. Feldkamp ran second in the 800-meter run from start to finish and was never quite able to overtake Illinois’ Carlene Robinson. In the high jump, Linz’s height of 5-9 1/4 earned the Wolverines another second-place showing.
Then, this Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational, fifth-year senior Andrea Parker failed to qualify for the mile, despite running the second best time of her career. No other Wolverine competed in the meet, which serves as one last chance at qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
Gallo heads a list of six Wolverines headed for the NCAA Indoor Championships. She will be a favorite in the mile run as well as an anchor to a strong distance medley relay team that also features Edwards, Feldkamp and Hauser-Price. Linz will be competing in the high jump while freshman Alyson Kohlmeier will join Gallo in the mile run. The championships will be held on March 11-12 in Fayetteville, Ark.