The meet was over and the freshmen gathered in a huddle, surrounded by the rest of the team. As the women finished chanting “Hail to the Victors,” the newcomers were doused in water by fellow teammates, in an act of initiation.
“I think it’s a freshmen thing,” pole-vaulter Elizabeth Boyle said, describing the surprise water attack.
On Saturday, the Wolverines completed their first official event of the indoor season. They hosted Eastern Michigan, Siena Heights, Western Michigan, Detroit, Toledo, Macomb and IUPUI in their Jack Harvey Invitational.
The team, which triumphed as Big Ten Champions last year in both indoor and outdoor track, once again showed off its talents in the weekend invitational.
Boyle was the one that shined brightest, as fans applauded her record-breaking pole vault height of 12’6” – six inches higher than the previous record.
“I was very happy with the results,” Boyle said. “But I was more excited to be wearing the Michigan uniform for the first time.”
Michigan associate head coach Mike McGuire was also pleased with his team’s performance in the weekend’s meet.
“It was a really good first meet,” McGuire said. “Some of the girls’ performances looked like second- or third- meet style and we’re only in the first meet of the season.”
One of those great performances came from senior April Phillips, one of the three team captains. She took first in the shot put event with a pitch of 14.31 meters and placed second in the weight throw.
“I’m a senior so this meet was kind of special – it was my last first meet,” Phillips said.
Other highlights included senior Robin Landfair’s win in the 60-meter low hurdles and Hawaii native Vera Simms’ victory in the long jump.
McGuire also said he was impressed with the efforts of the team sprinters and mile runners. Senior Carly Knazze took third in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes while freshman Shavonne Maclin and sophomore Keri Kirk were not far behind with fourth- and fifth- place finishes in the 400, respectively.
In the 600-meter run, sophomore Theresa Feldkamp claimed first place with a time of 1:34.58, followed closely by senior Rachel Sturtz who came in second.
The mile-run was dominated by freshman Katie Erdman, junior Andrea Parker and sophomore Chelsea Loomis, who crossed the finish line in second, third and fourth places, respectively.
Since the invitational was non-scoring, it gave Michigan a good chance to warm up for next week’s meet against Michigan State, Kent State and arch-rival Indiana.
“This meet was really a stepping stone for the team,” McGuire said. “Next week the atmosphere and intensity will be magnified.”
In fact, McGuire and head coach James Henry decided to purposely hold some of the best team members back this week to give them a long rest before competing next Saturday.
Freshman Rebecca Walter was among them. Walter, who was the top finisher during her first women’s cross-country season, has the potential to complete an even better track season.
Now that the Wolverines have had some time to limber up, they will be practicing hard to prepare for Indiana.
“We’re geared up for Indiana.” Phillips said. “We want to win, but won’t kill ourselves over it.”