Junior co-captain Tiffany Ofili didn’t expect to set any personal records at the Kentucky Invitational.
But her coach never doubted her ability.
“She did exactly what I expected of her,” Michigan women’s track and field coach James Henry said.
Ofili set a personal record with a third-place finish in the 200-meter (24.32) and tied her best time in the 60-meter hurdles (8.05), finishing in second place.
“Both of us were disappointed that she didn’t get a chance to win,” Henry said.
Three Michigan juniors won their events: Betty Wade in the high jump (5-8), Nicole Edwards in the 3,000-meter (9:24:12) and Casey Taylor in the long jump (19-0).
“Noting the hard practices we’ve had, people still came out and performed,” Wade said. “I thought we were really strong.”
This past offseason, the fourth-ranked Wolverines added a new weight training coach, Nicole Forrester, who has the team working harder than in past seasons.
Although the invitational was not scored, it gave many Wolverines, including freshmen competing in their first collegiate meet, an opportunity to assess their improvement from preseason training.
Freshman Emily Pendleton also had an impressive performance, coming in second in the discus (164-00).
“The freshmen came in right away and worked hard,” Ofili said. “They’re very motivated and do their part.”
The younger athletes have adjusted well to their roles, helping make the Wolverines a closer group. Teammate Joi Smith’s death last November, also pushed the Wolverines to turn to their teammates for support.
Michigan hopes to convert the difficulty of Smith’s death into success on the track.
“I’m just trying to do everything possible in my power,” Wade said. “If that means coming in early or staying late, just trying to get all the little things done.”
Although Ofili and her teammates don’t expect to set personal bests every meet, they think they can win every competition.
“The moment we step onto the track, our main goal is to win Big Tens,” Ofili said. “It’s expected that we win.”