The Michigan women’s track and field team had a strong showing in the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational in Nashville, Tenn., recording an impressive 38 top-10 finishes and six first-place finishes.
Competing in their second meet of the outdoor season, the Wolverines’ dominance was spread throughout the events, albeit against weaker competition.
“This was a good, low-key meet for us,” said Michigan coach James Henry. “There was good competition, but the competition wasn’t overbearing.”
Michigan started strong on the first day of the meet, Friday, by finishing first and second in the 3000-meter run, including four in the top 10. Senior Rebecca Addison won the race with a personal-best time of 9:29.30, while second-place finisher, redshirt junior Jillian Smith, ran a 9:29.68. Both Addison and Smith were on the distance medley relay team that won an indoor NCAA championship two weeks ago, and their strong performances continued in this event.
The Wolverines chose to compete in an official competition only two weeks after the indoor nationals, in contrast with their usual schedule to take multiple weeks off to train for the outdoor season.
“We just really wanted to come down and get a good effort in,” Addison said. “I think we competed hard, and it was a good meet for us.”
Freshman Cindy Ofili had a strong all-around meet, winning both the 100-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash with times of 13.53 and 11.84, respectively. She also finished third in the 200-meter dash, which was won by her teammate, senior Charlotte Cahill.
In an interesting development, the Pendleton sisters, Emily and Erin, finished first and second in the discus throw. Emily competed unattached from Michigan as a 2012 graduate, while Erin is in her senior year.
“We have been working together for the past four years at Michigan,” Erin said. “It’s just really nice how we’re there because we both push each other, so we’re both working on the same thing.”
In another bright spot for the Wolverines, freshman Taylor Manett won the 1,500-meter run in her collegiate debut, while freshman Maya Long finished runner-up in her first collegiate 400-meter dash.
As the Wolverines move into the meat of the outdoor portion of the season, the team is looking to work out its kinks and prepare itself to qualify for nationals.
“We know that it is still early, and our kids still have some remnants of the indoor season with them,” Henry said. “The team is excited about having successful cross country and indoor track seasons, and now we have goals of being successful in the outdoor season.”
Michigan will look to continue its strong start to the outdoor season at the Raleigh Relays, which start on Friday.