The Michigan women’s track and field team continued its recent trend of triumphs and personal records at the Indiana Relays this past weekend. The Wolverines secured a total of six victories in Bloomington at a meet that featured more then 20 teams and over 1,200 athletes.
When freshman distance runner Alex Leptich crossed the finish line at the meet on Friday evening, she secured the Wolverines’ win in the mile run for the fourth time this season and the second time in as many weeks.
Fifth year senior captain Alisha Cole set a personal record in the 200-meter dash, and won the 400 meter, having beaten Ohio State’s Big Ten champion Shaniqua McGinnis in the same event two weeks ago.
“I was very happy with the results,” Cole said. “It was a good weekend to get out there and start competing with some other competition and just to try to get in the mode of beating bodies.
“We had a lot of girls who (set personal record) this weekend and that just seems to be the growing trend every week.”
The Indiana Relays marked the first meet of the season in which Michigan competed on a banked track. The bank allows for runners to get more momentum when coming around a corner.
“Banked tracks are really fun if you work them right,” Cole said. “It can definitely give you a boost. The girl was ahead of me going into the final curve, so I really had to work the curve just to get ahead of her at the finish line.”
Michigan coach James Henry commented on the overall strength of the team, which is shown by successes in a variety of events both on the field and on the track.
“It’s difficult to just spot one (athlete),” Henry said. “I thought again overall we had an improved team performance. I really felt that across the board each area improved.
“We just want to as a team continue to get better but what I’m looking for is for us to continue to bond and show improvement.”
Redshirt sophomore Tofunmi Akeredolu, who returned last week at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational after missing the majority of the 2010 season due to injury, took runner-up in the long jump covering a distance of 5.77 meters. Junior Julian Purvis narrowly missed out on a victory in the 60-meter hurdles by one hundredth of a second.
Sophomore Jillian Smith finished the mile invitational in 4:43.88, running Michigan’s fastest time for the season and the 4×800 relay team won their race, beating the runner up by almost nine seconds.
The Wolverines will return to Indiana next weekend to compete in the Meyo Invitational, yet their focus is already on the upcoming Big Ten Indoor Championship at the end of February.
“(The personal records) give us really good momentum going into the rest of the season,” Cole said. “So hopefully we can keep seeing that in the Big Ten and we can see some exciting stuff happen.”