Two weeks before the 2022 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships, Indiana women’s track and field capitalized on its chance to prepare by participating in three different meets over the weekend.
Indiana welcomed athletes from various schools to Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse for the Hoosier Hills Invitational, where most of Indiana’s team competed this weekend. However, in order for individual's needs to be met, sophomore Sarah Schmitt and junior Bailey Hertenstein traveled north to compete in the Windy City Invite and freshmen Morgan Snow and sophomore Alyssa Robinson traveled south to the Music City Challenge in Nashville.
“Sending those two girls down there to have a chance to run sometimes on a bigger track was the right thing to do,” Helmer said. “The two girls up in Chicago are just trying to get good enough races where they have the chance to do something pretty special.”
At the Hoosier Hills Invitational, the Hoosiers kicked off with the women’s 5000 meter run. Three Hoosiers finished in the top three spots and freshman Mariah Wehrle recorded a personal best time of 16:31.11. Freshman Gracie Sprankle came in second with her time of 17:47.66 and freshman Lauryn Mick closed out the competition at 18:01.75 with a third place finish.
All field events Indiana participated in took place in Bloomington. The three Indiana shot put competitors swept the podium and senior Madison Pollard took home first place with her height of 17.00 meters. Freshman Jayden Ulrich finished in second place with a throw of 16.77 meters and freshman Makayla Hunter finished in third place with a throw of 15.97 meters, setting a new personal record.
Freshman Mahogany Jenkins had two victories at the Hoosier Hills Invitational to record her fifth and sixth wins of the season. In the women’s high jump, she finished in first with a mark of 1.74 meters, but was unable to successfully clear 1.79 which Jenkins was disappointed about.
“High jump could have been a little better,” Jenkins said. “I am not as happy but not everything goes your way.”
Thirty minutes later, she started competing in the triple jump. Almost every single attempt Jenkins had was better than the previous one, thanks to the energy her teammates and fans provided. Jenkins began her first attempt at 11.11 meters and her mark to win came from her fifth attempt of 12.43 meters.
“I feed off of everybody else’s energy,” Jenkins said. “So to have the claps, have the support, have the screams, I need it.”
In the women’s pole vault, senior Anna Watson competed hard to come out of season-long funk. She finished in second place with a mark of 4.17 meters for a season best.
“Anna Watson in the pole vault who's struggled all year got it going,” Coach Helmer said. “(She) set some higher bars, so that was encouraging.”
Indiana had two successful relays, with both the distance medley and 4x400 relay taking first place Friday night. The distance medley finished with a time of 12:08.58 and the 4x400 relay finished with a time of 3:48.94.
At the Music City Challenge, Robinson and Snow each competed in the women’s 400 meter. Snow competed in the unseeded women’s 400 meter dash and took home a first place finish with a personal best of 54.74 seconds. Robinson competed in the seeded women’s 400 meter dash and took home third place with a season best of 54.21 seconds.
At the Windy City Invitational, Hertenstein took home second place in the women’s one mile run with a time of 4:35.22. That time also marked a personal best and set an indoor program record.
Indiana will travel to South Bend, Indiana. to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday at University of Notre Dame.