BLOOMINGTON — Team captains act as leaders, both on and off the track. Michigan women’s track and field team captains — sophomore Rebecca Walter and senior Lindsey Gallo — fulfilled their duties as captains at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship this weekend by winning their respective events and earning two of Michigan’s four qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships. Walter and Gallo helped the Wolverines to a third-place finish as a team.

“As always, they’re our leaders and best, and it showed in their performances today,” Michigan coach James Henry said.

Walter posted a season-best time of 16:15.68 in the 5,000-meter run to win the event by .65 seconds on Saturday morning.

“I think it came down to who was the most pertinacious — who could hold onto their goals,” Walter said. “I really had to dig down.”

She maintained her pace of approximately 80 seconds per lap and stayed near the leaders from the beginning of the race. By the end, the lead pack had eroded to a group of three runners.

On the final lap, Walter pulled away from Samford’s Lauren Blankenship and Southwest Missouri State’s Casey Owens to earn the victory.

Walter last competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman in 2003 when she finished 12th in the 5,000.

In the 1,500-meter run, two Wolverines finished in the top-five to earn spots in the Sacramento field. Gallo qualified for nationals and defended her title from last year’s Mideast Regional in the 1,500-meter run with a season-best time of 4:18.40, while freshman Nicole Edwards finished third with a time of 4:22.72.

Gallo picked up the pace as she moved into the lead at the 800-meter mark of the race. As the field passed the 1100-meter mark, Edwards accelerated into fifth position, while Gallo extended her commanding lead. On the final lap, Gallo maintained her lead, while Edwards moved into third position and held on for dear life.

“The last 200, I was just running scared,” Edwards said. “I didn’t want anyone to pass me.”

Edwards and Gallo are glad that they will be able to train together in Sacramento.

“I’m really excited to have someone to join me in two weeks in Sacramento,” Gallo said.

Edwards agreed: “I’ll have someone around who I know, who’s very encouraging and supportive and has so much experience. That’s just going to be a big comfort, and it’ll just make it a lot less nerve-racking for me.”

Senior Sierra Hauser-Price will be joining the squad at nationals after her fourth-place time of 23.42 in the 200-meter dash.  After a clean start, she turned on the jets around the bend to propel herself into the top-five.

She missed qualifying in the 100-meter dash by .2 seconds with a sixth-place time of 11.76.

Michigan nearly had a fifth athlete in Sacramento until senior high jumper Jennifer Williams lost in a jump-off and finished sixth.

After Notre Dame’s Stacey Cowan cleared 1.76-meters in fourth round of the jump-off, Williams could not get over the bar.

The season will come to an end at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento.

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