For the Michigan women’s track and field team, what happened this past weekend is almost as important as what didn’t happen.
The 25th-ranked Wolverines competed Friday and Saturday at the Jesse Owens Track Classic in Columbus, Ohio. But due to the meet being in the middle of final exams, many student-athletes chose to stay back in Ann Arbor in order to rest and study rather than run.
“It’s a timing issue,” said Michigan coach James Henry. “They’ve been performing well, improving week in and out week out and at some point they’re going to get fatigued. Some kids decide to take the time off on their own, and others have coaches decide to give them time off.”
Only about one-third of the team competed at the meet — mostly sprinters and a few field-event athletes — but those who competed were not without success.
Junior Sami Michell was arguably the most successful Wolverine on the day, coming in the top-three in two events. In the 400-meter hurdles, Michell took the top spot with a time of 59.20, and teammate redshirt junior Emily Wee finished third with a time of 59.48. Michell also finished third in the 100-meter hurdles, though the top two spots were claimed by professional runners.
“Honestly, I wanted to run a little bit faster,” Michell said. “But I’m moving in the right direction, so that’s all that matters.”
Sophomore Meghan Marias also had a standout day, finishing 16th in both the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.03 seconds and the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.72 seconds. Both Marias and Michell took part in the 4 x 100 meter relay team, alongside seniors Maya Long and Cindy Ofili. The relay team came in sixth with a time of 46.60 seconds.
Ofili, who is coming off the world’s second-fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles last weekend, did not compete in any other events.
Though the meet mostly consisted of other student-athletes, there were a handful of professional runners taking part in it, such as the two who finished ahead of Michell in the 100-meter hurdles.
“It lets the kids know they can compete with those types of athletes,” Henry said. “They want to compete with those types of athletes and it gives them aspirations of possibly being in their footsteps one day.”
It was a relatively quiet day for Michigan, but Henry is hoping that with the majority of the team taking this past weekend off, the Wolverines will be well-rested and ready to go over the next three weeks as they prepare for the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.