Throughout her senior year, Michigan women’s track and field team tri-captain April Phillips has been a reliable, driving force for the Wolverines. On Friday, Phillips was rewarded for her hard work at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., becoming just the second Michigan thrower ever to earn All-American honors in the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“I was really happy with everyone’s performance here, today, highlighted by April Phillips’ performance in the shot put,” Michigan coach James Henry said. “It is always great to see someone go out with doing their very best.”
Phillips claimed a fourth-place finish after breaking her own school record with a monumental throw of 55-0 feet. This throw earned five points for the Wolverines, landing the team in a tie for 32nd place, the team’s best finish at the NCAA indoor meet since 1999.
“I was a little numb to what was going on,” Phillips said of her record-breaking throw. “I knew it was a good throw, but I had no clue I was ranked that high after prelims.”
Phillips is no stranger to the pressure of performing in the postseason. Last year, she competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships and earned All-American honors when she finished in 12th place in the weight throw.
Phillips knew this would be her last opportunity to compete at the NCAA Indoors, and she wanted to make it memorable.
“I was thinking, ‘This is your last throw as a senior indoors,’ and I wanted to make it a good one and that is what happened,” Phillips said.
Senior tri-captain Rachel Sturtz joined her teammate on the All-America pedestal when she competed in the 800-meter run for the Wolverines. Her time of 2:08.86 placed her in sixth place of her heat and 10th overall. The top eight finishers moved on to the finals, and Sturtz’s effort just happened to fall .27 seconds short on Friday.
Sturtz and Phillips became the first Wolverine tandem to capture All-American honors since 1999.
In the distance medley relay, the Wolverines fought hard against the best of competition and rounded up a 10th-place finish.
Freshman Kate Erdman headed the relay for the Wolverines. Erdman hustled her way into 10th place before handing off the baton to junior Vera Simms for the second leg of the race.
Simms ran the 400-meter portion of the race with explosiveness, and passed the baton into the steady and confident hands of Sturtz for the 800-meter leg of the race.
Sturtz dug deep, pushed for every inch, and placed the race into the hands of sophomore Lindsey Gallo with the Wolverines clinging to ninth place.
Gallo, who had a brilliant sophomore season for the Wolverines, ran the anchor and finished strong at a time of 11:19.61, solidifying a 10th-place finish for the Wolverines.
Rounding out the day for the Wolverines was freshman Stephanie Linz in the high jump. Linz cleared 5-9 3/4 on her second attempt and notched a 13th-place finish, placing a nice finishing touch on an exceptional freshman season.
“This was a really get experience to have,” Linz said. “I didn’t think I would make here, so to get her and finish 13th is great. I hope I can continue this hot streak into the outdoor season and make it here again.”