When Rebecca Addison crossed the finish line on Saturday morning, she didn’t realize she had just secured the Michigan women’s track team’s fifth consecutive win in the mile run.
But the sophomore did know that she had shaved 21 seconds off her personal record.
And she was soon to find out that her lightning fast time of 4:40:62 was the NCAA’s second fastest time of the season in that event.
Addison’s victory was one of the Wolverines’ four triumphs at the Meyo Invitational, continuing a very strong 2011 season for the distance and mid-distance runners.
Michigan easily won the distance medley relay, a race comprised of a 1,200-meter leg, 400-meter leg, 800-meter leg and a mile run. After beating the runners-up by a comfortable seven seconds, the relay team garnered Michigan’s first NCAA automatic time of the season, ensuring the runners a chance to run the same race at nationals.
The Wolverines have won seven straight Big Ten titles in the distance medley relay, and the women hope to carry on the tradition of dominance in the longer races.
“It’s exciting because we’ve been known for being a middle distance team over the years,” Addison said. “It’s pretty cool that we’re back to that. The atmosphere was very exciting. We just kept building on each other.”
The success of the mid-distance carried over to the 5,000-meter run, where freshman Taylor Pogue snatched her third win of the season. Two of her teammates also finished in the top- 10, an impressive feat considering the fact that this was the first time that Michigan has competed in this event this season.
“Their improvement has come along,” said Michigan coach James Harvey of the distance runners.
“(Coach Mike McGuire) is doing a great job of keeping them composed. They’re just starting to show what they’re capable of.”
Despite having 19 new athletes on the roster this year, the team has consistently improved and performed well with four athletes beating their personal records during the weekend.
“I think for a young team, the defining movement is now that they’re running with more confidence and things are starting to come together,” said Henry. “(That’s) always my goal as coach.”
The Meyo Invitational marked one of the last meets where the whole team would compete together. Next week the throwers will head to Ohio while the rest of the team stays in Michigan to compete in the Grand Valley Invitational.
The Wolverines expect a transition into a period of a more intense style of training to prepare for the Big Ten Indoor Championship at the end of the month.
“We have a lot of people that are really healthy and are training at a higher level,” Addison said. “We all know each other works hard, so we try to do it for each other.”
For now, Michigan is trying to enjoy its wins and improvements from the weekend, while still remaining optimistic for the rest of the season.
“We’re going to have some ups and downs,” Henry said. “We’ve had more ups then downs, and I just hope that continues.”