The sport she fell in love with — and has always loved — is back.

Sami Michell is back in her happy place on the track.

The Reed City High School (2013) and University of Michigan (2017) graduate is back doing what she loves — running and jumping.

Now, she's also throwing shot puts and javelins.

Michell, who also competed at Cal State-Northridge in 2018 with her final year of NCAA eligibility, has taken up the heptathlon.

The bounce is back in her step, she's back to watching track and field on TV and she's looking forward to heading out to the USA Track and Field Championships at the end of next week in Iowa with her father, former Reed City coach Brent Michell.

That wasn't so much the case when she finished her season last spring in California.

"I just love track so much that last year, after the season was over, I couldn't even watch it," Sami Michell said. "I was just so sad that I was done, I didn't even want to think about it."

The spark to compete and get better was still there, though.

Michell got to work with Lawrence Johnson at Northridge, the same coach who recruited her to go to Clemson University out of high school before she settled on Michigan.

Johnson has extensive experience in the hurdles and has trained Olympic champions. He helped Michell train in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, something that's hard to find in coaching.

Michell felt better and better about herself and she was lowering her times.

"I had a much better fit with the coaches at Cal and I didn't want to be done when I finally started getting good again," she said. "I felt like I hit a plateau at Michigan and the training really wasn't doing that much for me."

Fast-forward to May 2018 and Michell was told by her coaches that she would be competing in the heptathlon at the Big West Conference Outdoor Championships — with no practice.

"That was pretty crazy," she laughed. "The week before the meet, they told me I was going to be doing the heptathlon.

"I had literally never practiced it and I ended up taking sixth."

Michell took some time off before taking up the heptathlon seriously in February of this year.

While living in southern California, she trains with multi-event coach Chris Johnson and Long Beach State graduate Riley Cooks. Cooks currently holds the fourth-best heptathlon score in the country this year.

The heptathlon's first day consists of the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 dash. The second day is the long jump, javelin throw and 800.

"I really enjoy it," Michell said. "It's a good change of pace from what I've done all along and it's a good change of pace with the different events."

Michell has the hurdles, long jump and 200 covered. The 800 is taking some getting used to with the pacing of a middle-distance race but the shot put, high jump and javelin throw are providing a steeper learning curve.

"The throws and the high jump were really the only events I haven't done so it's taking some time to get used to those," she said. "I'm picking up the shot put decently and with the high jump…I get it some days and then some days not. I'm just struggling with my consistency. I'm hoping by next season that I will have learned the other events and be competitive."

The irony is most of the college coaches that recruited Michell out of Reed City were thinking of her as a heptathlete. She ended up at the one school — Michigan — that wasn't thinking along those lines.

Now that she's found the heptathlon, all is good again.

"It took me a little bit longer to find my fit but I'm still young in the scope of things," Michell said. "The people I nanny for in California worked on Broadway and now have kids later in life.

"That's more the direction I would prefer. That's giving me the inspiration to keep going with track."

Michell's plan is to start competing at open meets in January and she's got a pretty lofty goal.

"My goal would be to make the U.S. Track and Field Championships," she said. "For now, I am just going with the flow. It would take 5,600 or 5,700 points to make the USAs.

"That's kind of my short-term goal for next year."

Cadillac News