A week after dominating collegiate track and field’s
little pups at the Michigan Invitational, the Michigan
women’s track and field team set its sights on the big dogs
at last weekend’s Meyo Invitational. The event — held
in South Bend, Ind. — allowed the Wolverines to compete
against more than 15 big-name schools from across the United States
and Canada in a non scoring setting.

Kate Green
RYAN WEINER/Daily
Junior Lindsey Gallo — seen here at the Jack Harvey Invitational — was part of the distance medley team that qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships yesterday.

“This was definitely the highest level of competition we
have seen this season, thus far,” senior Robin Landfair said.
“The number of schools at (the Meyo Invitational) was much
higher than our previous meets and even in prior years at this
meet.”

Led by sophomore phenom Katie Erdman, Michigan’s athletes
sent a clear message to the nation: They belong.

“This was a weekend that was by far the team’s best
result,” head coach James Henry said.

Erdman’s first-place time of 2:05.38 in the 800-meter run
set a Michigan school record. Not only did Erdman beat Rachel
Sturtz’s indoor record of 2:06.02, she also erased Amy
Bannister’s 12-year-old overall mark of 2:05.62.

“I felt really good on Saturday,” Erdman said.
“The 800 had a lot of good athletes, I haven’t been in
a race this season that was quite that stacked.”

With a higher level of competition to push her, Erdman soared to
the front of the pack, and came up with the nation’s second
best time of the indoor season. Her mark was good enough to
automatically qualify for her second straight trip to the NCAA
Indoor Championships.

“Definitely looking forward to going back,” Erdman
said. “That experience last year was definitely a unique one
for me.”

Erdman’s success was not limited to just individual
events. She teamed with senior Carly Knazze, junior Theresa
Feldkamp and redshirt junior Lindsey Gallo in the distance-medley
relay. A time of 11:11.58 guaranteed the relay team a trip to
Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the NCAA Indoor
Championships.

“Qualifying for nationals in the (distance-medley relay)
was our main objective for the weekend,” Gallo said.
“So having done that is a good feeling.”

After anchoring the NCAA-qualifying distance-medley relay team,
Gallo was victorious in the one-mile run, against a field that
included defending national champion Johanna Nilsson of Northern
Arizona. Gallo’s personal-best time of 4:40.9 allowed her to
be considered for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“I felt very strong,” Gallo said. “I am really
looking forward to seeing what I can do in the coming
weeks.”

Redshirt junior Anna Jones rounded out Michigan’s
victories with a first-place finish in the one-mile run
(2:52.87).

With strong performances virtually across the board, the
Wolverines stepped up to their most significant challenge of the
year.

“This was really everyone’s first chance to go up
against national-level competition,” Gallo said. “A lot
of girls were able to rise to the occasion.”

With the Big Ten Championships rapidly approaching, improvement
is the name of the game. For Michigan, the new month has so far
brought desirable results.

“February started off with a bang,” Henry said.

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