Jan. 18, 2014
Michigan Head Coach Jerry Clayton
On his first meet as U-M's head coach ... "Obviously it was fun. I'm not a real nervous type guy. That's kind of due to my experience. I've been to a lot of high-level meets. There's no question when you're the head coach and you're the one making the decisions that is definitely a little different feeling. I wouldn't say it's more demanding because to me it's fun. I enjoy working with the athletes and the journey involved. I want them to have fun, but I have expectations for them to perform and that's when I think you get the best results and that's the way my career has been."
On how his team competed today ... "The key that I see in this type of meet is how people compete. It's not necessarily the performance and where it ranks in the nation. It's not whether they're having a PR in the first meet, because sometimes that's not so good because then where are you going to go, it's are they competing place-wise and that's what's important. Because when we get to championship phases, the Big Ten or NCAAs, it's about place -- the higher you place, the better you score. The performance is important, but place is what counts. I liked seeing some of those things today. We had five winners. I liked the way Nate Chapman competed. He came off the curb and he's in third -- that's the type of thing I'm looking for because that's what we need when we get to the championship phases -- people that can step it up and compete for a place, not necessarily a performance."
On performances that stood out today ... "Probably today in the field Ethan Dennis's performance was probably the highest performance. Of course when you win an event that's important. So we won three events with the shot the 35 pound weight and the high jump and we won the 1000 and the mile. So those things are big. I liked the way Nate Chapman competed in that even. I liked the way Herman Washington looked for his first race. We need a few adjustments, that block start in that final, but that'll come, it's the first meet so we'll get there."
On competing against Michigan State, knowing his Big Ten ties ... "That'll be interesting. I know a few years ago they did the Ohio State vs. Michigan dual and now we have the Michigan State vs. Michigan dual. So that'll be different -- kind of more like it was back in the days when I was in the conference, where now people have kind of moved away from dual meets. In the next two weeks, we'll make evaluations of this meet and then try and make adjustments as we move into the championship phase."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Ethan Dennis
On opening the season at home under a new coaching staff ... "Definitely a good opener. I think it might be my best first meet of the season in my career here so that's always kind of good to get under the belt. I was also really consistent, which is one of the main coaching points that we've been working on throughout this fall. We've been starting to get into the groove with coaching with coach Clayton. We're definitely starting to hit some strides and it's really not a huge shock from switching different coaches. It's not a hugely different technique that he's coaching, so it's just a lot more balanced attack. It has definitely been fun working with him. I think we'll have some fun times coming up."
On the throwers overall performances today ..." I think in the weight throw Justin Gaumer and Derek Sievers actually had a really good opener. This is a new event for them so you weren't expecting huge throws out of them, but they looked better today than they have in the previous practices so that was really good to see that they actually stepped up to it. In the shot put, Justin Gaumer also had a really good day. He was pretty close to his PR. The rest of the guys were looking pretty good -- it's still early, but looking pretty good."
On competing in front of a home crowd ... "Obviously you're more comfortable when you're at home. So just be able to be in the first meet where you can actually relax and look over into the stands and see all you family and friends, it's definitely just more of a comfortable way to ease into the season."
On looking ahead to the dual against Michigan State ... "I think the Michigan State meet will be the first meet that we actually try to get good performances, peak performances, so it's really exciting to start to feel your body getting ready for some big performances. It's a rivalry week, so anything can happen. It's always fun to have that much energy, especially at a neutral side, in my hometown, Grand Valley, that's also a really cool atmosphere to be in."