Jan. 9, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's track and field head coach James Henry announced Thursday (Jan. 9) that senior/junior distance runner Taylor Pogue (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), senior hurdler Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and fifth-year senior pole vaulter Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) will serve as team captains for the 2014 season.
"All three captains exemplify exactly what we look for in leaders on this team, which is young ladies that are outgoing, mature, have their priorities set for herself and the team, and someone that is going to come to practice and give their very best every day," said Henry. "We also want captains who will lead the program in terms of results at the conference and national level."
Each captain was chosen by the team and coaches to represent the different event areas -- Pogue (distance), Smith (sprints/hurdles) and Tobel (field).
"It's hard to select just three captains when we have such a large, balanced, squad with so many great leaders, but it was pretty clear who the leaders were that stood out," Henry added.
Smith and Tobel each represented the women's track and field team as captains last year as well, while Pogue served as a co-captain for U-M's cross country team this past fall and will carry her leadership role into track season.
Pogue redshirted during the 2013 indoor season, but brought her talents to the outdoor track to help the Wolverines last year. She finished sixth at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the 10,000-meter run and qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Pogue has also been a key member of U-M's cross country squad, helping lead the Wolverines to a Big Ten title in 2012, three straight NCAA Great Lakes Regional crowns, and two consecutive top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships. She also excels off the track, earning Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors in each of the year two years.
"I have seen Taylor show a great deal of leadership on the track and Mike McGuire has also given positive feedback about her leadership within the distance group," said Henry.
"She is an outstanding student as well as an athlete. She does a great job bringing the different event areas within the team together. It's very difficult to have everyone involved on a daily basis because of their different training schedules, but she's done a nice job of making the effort to reach out to everyone and keep the team connected."
In 2013, Smith scored for the Wolverines at the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships for the second consecutive year. She placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles indoor and seventh in the 100-meter hurdles outdoor. She was also a member of U-M's third-place 4x100-meter relay at the conference meet. She participated in the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in both the 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay. Smith is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2012, '13).
"Amber is an individual who leads more by doing," said Henry. "She is an overachiever and someone who has earned every stripe of her athletic performance and the team takes notice of that. She is a hard worker, almost to a fault at times. She might be banged up, but you'll never know it and she'll never use it as an excuse. The team looks to her as a leader because of that drive and relentless work ethic."
Tobel, the indoor out and outdoor school-record holder in the pole vault, is a three-time All-American and is the only returning outdoor All-American from last season. She earned All-Big Ten second team honors at the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships after finishing runner up at both events. She capped the 2013 outdoor season with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning All-America second team recognition. Tobel is also a two-time Capital One Academic All-District V second team selection (2012, '13) and three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2011, '12, '13).
"Kiley came in as a high-character individual with a lot of personality and she's blossoming even more," Henry commented about Tobel. "I think that if we selected underclassmen as captains, she would have been selected each year based on her national leadership ability and her work ethic."
The Wolverines will kick off the 2014 indoor season tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 10) at the Grand Valley State Bob Eubanks Open.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org)