The Michigan women’s track team couldn’t have picked a better place to compete in its first outdoor meet of the season Friday.

The squad had a chance to splash around in the salty Atlantic Saturday after competing in the Bulls Invitational in Tampa Bay Fla., and the results on Friday were sweet for the Wolverines.

Michigan finished with three first-place finishes, a promising start to the outdoor season for such a young team.

Two All-Americans, Tiffany Ofili and Bettie Wade, in addition to other top contributors including Geena Gall, graduated last year, leaving behind a team that is two-thirds underclassmen and in need of leadership on and off the track.

The 2009 outdoor season culminated with a second-place finish in the Big Ten Championships and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, but such a fate could be hard to repeat without those top competitors.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us to maintain (last year’s) level,” Michigan coach James Henry said. “We are hoping that the indoor season was time to develop and improve and that’s what we are going to be looking for. Placing is the furthest thing from my mind right now.”

Still, Henry was very pleased with his throwers’ performance as a unit in Tampa Bay. Junior Emily Pendleton placed first in the discus while freshman Erin Pendleton and redshirt sophomore Allison Liske took second and third place in the event. The Wolverines took second, sixth, 10th and 11th place in the hammer throw, again led by Pendleton and took second, fourth, seventh and ninth in the shot put.

On the track, sophomore Julian Purvis took first in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4×100-meter relay team took first. Sophomore Alexandria Williams and junior Kaitlyn Peale were the runners-up in the 400-meter hurdles and 1,500 meter run, respectively.

The Wolverines are looking forward to more nice weather and outdoor competition as the outdoor season gets into full swing. Next week, they will travel across three time zones to Palo Alto, Calif. to compete in the Stanford Invitational.

Until then, and throughout the season, Henry is looking for athletes to step up and take leadership roles on and off the track.

“From the way things went in the first meet I’d say things are going pretty well even though we are a young team,” Pendleton said. “We have a lot of good people who just need to step it up for the next meet. I hope we have people who have the potential to do that.”

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