The Michigan women’s track team started out last
weekend’s Sear Rays Relays in full throttle.

In the first event of the meet, the fearsome foursome of Katie
Erdman, Theresa Feldkamp, Lindsey Gallo and Jackie Gaydos crossed
the finish line in the 1,500-meter relay with 28 seconds to spare
before the next team clocked in.

The women were unimpressed by the competition in that particular
event, but were pleased by their own performance, winning the event
with a time of 18:05.32. In the first two legs of the race,
Feldkamp and Erdman established a lead. Gaydos kept ahead of the
pack and by the time Gallo was running, her task was to keep the
large distance from the other runners.

“It makes it easier to run faster if there are good people
around you,” Gallo said. “It’s hard to push
yourself to run your best time, but we all ran pretty well,
regardless.”

The next day, Gallo found an abundance of competition in the
800-meter relay. Erdman, Feldkamp, Gallo and Anna Jones ran against
Tennessee, who — according to Gallo — has one of the
best relay teams in the country. The Wolverines’ third-place
finish of 8:36.65 might have been eight seconds behind first-place
Tennessee, but it was enough to break Michigan’s school
record.

The girls knew they had come close to the record while still in
Knoxville, Tenn., but it wasn’t until they arrived back in
Ann Arbor that they realized the relay was 18 milliseconds faster
than the previous time of 8:36.83. This is Erdman’s second
time securing a school record, as she already holds the best time
in the 800-meters.

In addition to breaking her first record, Jones also ran her
personal best in the individual 800-meter, with a time of 2:10.46.
If she can shave off .17 seconds, she will qualify for the NCAA
Regionals.

Gallo summed up the team’s goal for the weekend:
“The whole point was to compete hard and win, regardless of
the competition.”

The team was pleased that its final weekend of competition in
the Southern region was accompanied by warm weather. But Gallo was
relieved that her events were scheduled later in the day. The
mid-day heat was described as intense and was an external problem
to the runners.

Judging by her performance in the 400-meter hurdles, senior
quad-captain Vera Simms was not fazed by the heat. Clocking in at
58.76 seconds for the second week in a row, Simms ran a NCAA
Regional qualifying time.

For every event, coaches enter previous meet times of each
runner to determine which heat she will compete in. Simms ran in
the second section and won her heat, but when all the times were
ordered, Simms placed seventh overall in the event.

“I think I could have ran better,” Simms said.
“But I’m satisfied with how I performed and I learned a
lot from my experiences this weekend.”

Simms is focused on constant improvement from one meet to the
next. When the team heads to Walnut, Calif., next weekend for the
Mt. SAC Relays, Simms will keep the same goal in mind that she has
every time she’s stepped on a track.

“Just to run faster,” Simms said.

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