Similar to the way that Michigan freshman Katie Erdman and junior Vera Simms blew away the competition in the 600-meter run, the track and field team put forth an impressive victory over Michigan State, Indiana and Kent State Saturday at the Michigan Quad.
The Wolverines finished with a score of 188, followed by Indiana (151.5), Kent State (115) and Michigan State (82.5). To start the day, sophomore Lindsey Gallo ran away with first place in the mile. Pacing herself, Gallo started off in third place and remained there for the first quarter of the race. She then took over second at about a half mile, before turning it on in the final quarter and taking a lead she wouldn’t relinquish.
Michigan coach James Henry said he was not surprised by Gallo’s first-place finish because she was coming off an “outstanding cross-country season.”
The dominance continued in the 400-meter run when junior Carly Knazze edged out Indiana’s Chioma Ndubisi, finishing with a time of 57:89. Erdman and Simms gave Michigan first- and second-place finishes in the next event, the 600.
“The hard work is starting to pay off,” said Erdman, who competed in the 600 for the first time on Saturday.
The 600 was the first race of the day in which Michigan would claim first and second place, but it wouldn’t be the last.
In the 800-meter run, sophomores Theresa Feldkamp (2:13.27) and Stephanie Hirtle (2:14.75) finished first and second, while senior tri-captain Rachel Sturtz (2:15.41) finished third, sending a message to the other three teams that this was the Wolverines’ day.
In the last individual race of the day, the 3,000-meter run, freshman Rebecca Walter led the charge, finishing first, but not far behind her were freshman Chelsea Loomis and sophomore Andrea Parker, who finished second and third, respectively. Although just the top two times from each team counted toward the score, capturing third place in the 3,000-and 800-meter runs gave an emotional boost to the team which seemed to already be running with engines on their backs.
In the 4×400-meter relay, the finale of the track races, it looked as though the Wolverines would stick to their first-place pattern, as freshman Shavonne Maclin and Simms completed the first and second legs of the race with the lead.
But the hand-off from Simms to Erdman was shaky, and the Wolverines seemed to have lost grip on the baton and the race.
The team then showed heart, as Erdman picked up the baton quickly and recaptured the lead for the Wolverines, putting the race into Knazze’s hands.
Knazze, who had already been victorious in her individual 400-meter run, extended the slim lead, solidifying the race and the meet for the Wolverines at a time of 3:55.88.
The Wolverines had a solid afternoon in the field events as well, and no one was better than freshman Elizabeth Boyle. Following her record-setting performance from a week ago, Boyle raised the bar for her competition to a height that no opponent matched. Boyle vaulted over the bar at 12′-6″, tying her own school and building record that she had set one week ago. Boyle stretched to set a new school and building record, as she steamed down the runaway trying to conquer the bar set at 12’9 1/2″. Boyle fell short on her first two attempts, and with one try left the Michigan faithful rose to their feet to try and give Boyle an extra boost. She flew into the air and for a split second, she appeared to have done it. But the slightest contact knocked the bar off as Boyle was on her way down.
The last of the eight first-place finishes for Michigan came at the shot put, where senior April Phillips threw for a distance of 50’1 1/4″, and got her second win of the season. Melissa Bickett finished in second with a distance of 48’9 1/5″.
The team seemed inspired by the win, but the Wolverines know they have to remain focused. Henry said that it was Michigan’s best performance against Indiana he had ever seen.
“I was proud with the overall team balance,” Henry said.