A week after the No. 20 Michigan women’s indoor track and field team participated in a non-scoring meet that allowed the participants to focus on setting new personal records, the Wolverine’s traveled to Lincoln with a new goal: win.
They did just that, earning 161.50 points in the meet and beating Illinois (133 points), Nebraska (123.50), Georgia (48) and Akron (29).
The middle distance team put in the most outstanding performance for Michigan. In the mile run, the Wolverines took first, second and third place, with junior Jillian Smith leading the trio with 4:40.37. Smith was followed closely by junior Rebecca Addison and freshman Shannon Osika.
Having a designated leader for different parts of the race helped the team organize and win.
“We helped each other out, Shannon took the first four laps, then Jillian took over for the next two, and I took the last two,” Addison said. “We all ended up getting personal records.”
The Wolverines also had success in the 800-meter, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races.
In the 3,000, Michigan took first through fourth. Addison continued her successful day by taking first with a new personal record of 9:37.78. She was followed by Osika, who ran 9:38.01 and sophomores Alex Leptich and Megan Weschler.
The pattern continued in the 5,000, as Michigan took first, second, third and fifth place with sophomore Taylor Pogue, junior Lindsey Hilton, senior Mary Grace Pelledgrini and freshman Ellen Junewick, respectively. The latter three all set new personal records.
“The middle distance brought us over the top,” said Michigan coach James Henry, who described the victory as “a team effort”.
In addition to the success of the middle distance team, the field events team also had success.
Following her school-record-setting performance last week in the pole vault, junior Kiley Tobel placed second with a vault of 13-2.50 feet.
Michigan also took first place in the triple jump and long jump as junior Ada Unachukwu jumped 41.1 feet and senior Tofunmui Akeredolu jumped 19.6 feet.
A goal of the entire team is to win the Big Ten championship.
“We’re more than capable,” Tobel said. “It’s definitely more than just a possibility if things go our way.”
Now entering his 27th season as Michigan women’s track and field coach, Henry knows what it takes for a team to win a championship, and what he is seeing so far is evidence for that.
“Big Ten championships are built here,” Henry said.