There was an unusual quietness that took over the general hustle and bustle of the Indoor Track Building on Saturday afternoon.
Instead of the fire with which the Michigan women’s track and field team has been competing with all season, the Wolverines approached the Silverston Invitational as a chance to breathe before the Big Ten Indoor Championship at Purdue next week.
Many of the schools used the weekend to rest the majority of their athletes in preparation for their various conference championships, and Michigan was no exception.
“We got a chance to rest,” Michigan coach James Henry said. “We have had a long season and it went pretty fast. The girls have worked hard and it was time to rest our bodies and take our minds off competition for a week.”
The non-scoring invitational was an opportunity to give different Michigan athletes a chance to compete in the spotlight for a day. Senior Lauren Young overcame a year-long struggle with injuries to seize first place in the high jump, where she cleared a height of 1.7 meters and took home her first win of the season.
In contrast to the runners, many of the field athletes still competed this weekend to give themselves an opportunity to work on perfecting their techniques for the last time before next weekend’s championships. Sophomore Erin Pendleton took first place in the weight throw, and her sister, senior Emily, set a personal record of 15.3 meters in the shot put.
Senior captain Danielle Tauro said the team is not phased by the prospect of being on the road until its next home meet in May. Though there are some variances in the style of track, there will be no real disadvantages for the team during its travels for the rest of the season.
“The big thing at home meets is being able to have as many people come out and cheer,” Tauro said. “But it’s not as big a deal. Every track is the same, so it’s going to be pretty standard wherever you’re running.”
After a disappointing eighth-place finish in last year’s Big Ten Championships, the Wolverines are looking to improve on their performances.
“I think it will help some people if they (competed) well today,” Tauro said. “It might help boost their confidence a little bit. We’re seeing this event as something that is going to jumpstart us into Big Tens.”
Michigan is hoping that its mid-distance runners will continue their season long trend of victories at the conference meet. The distance medley relay, currently ranked nationally at No. 4, is seeking to claim its eighth consecutive Big Ten title in that event. Sophomore Rebecca Addison, the two time Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week, and teammate sophomore Jillian Smith are the No. 1 and No. 2 nationally ranked runners in the 800-meter race. Smith is the only member of the Michigan team who won a title in an individual event at last year’s Big Ten Championship.
“We just want to see the team come together,” Henry said. “We want to be in the first division in each event, and hopefully end in the top four or five of the conference.”