Despite not having a competitor place in any event, the three competitors for Michigan women’s track and field team brought home impressive accolades.
Jillian Smith, Kiley Tobel and Emily Pendleton all earned second-team All-American honors for their performances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Smith, who made her first appearance in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, finished 13th in the 1,500-meter race on Thursday. She was edged by Notre Dame’s Rebecca Tracy for the final qualifying spot in the finals by 0.1 seconds, finishing in 4:13.59.
“I just didn’t catch her in the end,” Smith said. “We were all trying to get (out) as fast as we could and I could’ve gone a little bit faster earlier (in the race). (But my time) was definitely one of the fastest non-qualifying times, which is something to be proud of anyways.”
The race got out quickly from the start, forcing Smith to settle in the middle of the pack and play catch-up for most of the race.
“It was a very honest race the whole time,” she said. “It was very, very physical in the very beginning … there were definitely a lot of elbows thrown. I tried my best, but somehow I just caught the back, so I was definitely working the whole time to get back up.”
After struggling with stomach issues at the beginning of the season, Smith said she was “surprised” with how her body recovered and how her year played out.
“It was the first time I made it to outdoor NCAAs,” she said. “It was really exciting for me to even get to this point.
“I definitely think that (I can) just take that race in stride and think about next time I’m racing. I was pretty far in the back for a while, so I definitely think I’m going to work on technically when to move. And races of that caliber, you learn how to approach them.”
Smith was the only Wolverine running in an event, as Michigan had two competitors in the field events.
Tobel and Pendleton wrapped up their seasons on the first day of competition, competing in the pole vault and discus, respectively. Tobel placed 10th in the pole vault, recording a height of 13-7.25 feet, just one foot under the winner from Stanford, who set the NCAA meet record. Tobel failed to clear the bar at 13-9.25 feet in all three attempts.
The redshirt sophomore, who set the Michigan program record earlier in the season, earned second-team All-American accolades for her performance on Wednesday.
And in her final outing as a Wolverine, fifth-year senior thrower Emily Pendleton finished 12th in the discus with a throw of 173-2 feet. She, too, garnered second-team All-American honors for her performance in Des Moines.
Since so few Michigan athletes competed in the meet, Smith said the athletes bonded at the event.
“I’ve never not been with another running teammate so it was cool to see how (Tobel and Pendleton) approach getting ready for the National Championships, and seeing each other and supporting each other,” Smith said. “It was nice to see everybody compete. I think we each helped each other manage the stress a little bit.”