Jan. 19, 2013
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Indoor Track Building)
Event: Jack Harvey Invitational
U-M Team Result: No Team Scoring
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Michigan State (Allendale, Mich.), 6 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team opened the 2013 indoor season in front of a home crowd on Saturday (Jan. 19), with the annual Simmons-Harvey Invitational. The Wolverines captured four event titles in the non-scoring event with the University of Detroit Mercy, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
Michigan recorded 11 top-three performances, seven of which came from in the field events. The Wolverines opened the meet with their best event of the day, going 1-2-3 in the shot put. After redshirting last year due to an injury, junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) returned to win the shot put with a mark of 17.82 meters (58-5.75). In his first collegiate meet in a Michigan uniform, sophomore/freshman Derek Sievers (Byron Center, Mich./Byron Center) finished runner-up with a throw of 17.53 meters (57-6.25). Junior/sophomore Justin Gaumer (Holly, Mich./Holly) set a personal record of 16.68 meters (54-8.75) to finish third.
Senior/junior Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) continued Michigan's strong showing in the throwing events, finishing second in the weight throw with a mark of 19.71 meters (64-8).
Senior/junior Bradley James (East Lansing, Mich./Haslett) blew the field away in the high jump, winning the event by 7.5 inches as he cleared 2.14 meters (7-0.25) -- just 1.25 inches shy of his personal best.
Senior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) recorded a runner-up performance in the pole vault, clearing a height of 5.01 meters (16-5.25).
Sophomore James Vincent (Farmington, Mich./Farmington) placed second in the long jump, hitting a mark of 6.77 meters (22-2.50).
On the track, junior Justin Clarke (Flint, Mich./Southwestern) shined in the 60-meter dash, tying for first place with former Wolverine Jeff Porter, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, with a time of 6.87.
In the 200-meter dash, senior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) clocked a time of 21.87 to win the event.
Michigan finished 1-2 in the 400-meter dash, as junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) and sophomore Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) recorded times of 50.14 and 50.46, respectively.
Arastu and Washington were members of the 4x400-meter relay team, along with senior/junior Troy Sneller (Hamilton, Mich./Hamilton) and freshman Nate Chapman (Auburn Hills, Mich./Avondale), finishing runner-up with a time of 3:19.37.
Up next, the Wolverines will face Michigan State in a dual meet on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. at Grand Valley State's Kelly Family Sports Center in Allendale, Mich.
N O T E S
Four Olympians who represented the University of Michigan at the 2012 London Olympics were in attendance to be honored -- Geena Gall (USA, 800m), Uhunoma Osazuwa (Nigeria, Heptathlon), Jeff Porter (USA 110m Hurdles) and Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes (Canada, 1,500m).
Former Wolverine Jeff Porter, who competed for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics, competed unattached in the 60-meter dash, tying for first place with Michigan's Justin Clarke with a time of 6.87.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Fred LaPlante
On his overall thought of today's season opener ... "My overall thought is that we have a lot of work to do. It's good for them to get the experience of an actual meet. It's different than practice, and a lot of our guys realize that, and it gives them a start. We didn't have a lot of great performances, but it doesn't mean that they were bad performances. But they were what they were for the first meet."
On the depth in the throwing events ... "The first event of the day was the shot put and that was certainly our best event. We have those three guys and you could feel their energy feeding off of each other. They all had a good meet and it's good for the team to see that too."
On preparing for next weekend's dual with Michigan State ... "No matter what people did today, next week is a whole new level and everyone has to step up. Everyone has to really be on their game for us to be competitive in that meet, and I'm confident we will be."
U-M Junior/Sophomore Cody Riffle
On competing for the first time in more than a year due to injury ... "I was having a great last few weeks of practice. I was a little nervous today to be honest, I think it was just because I haven't worn the block M in over a year, but it was pretty good. My teammates pushed me today -- Derek (Sievers) had a PR and (Justin) Gaumer threw over 54 feet -- and that made me feel like we got on track today. I enjoyed the experience, and I think it's going to be a great season."
On having a strong group of throwers ... "We've got a great training crew and it makes such a big difference when you have more than one guy competing, or just someone supporting you. I know we all have competed at times with just one of us in the event, and it's hard sometimes because you see these teams with a bunch of guys yelling and screaming and getting each other worked up, and you feel so alone. Today we were feeding off of each other and I don't know if I would have had a good throw without someone else getting fired up about it, and that's what's so important. Coach Mo (Saatara) is so great, and he always focuses on how you feel mentally in a meet, in comparison to physically."
On competing in front of a home crowd to start the season ... "That's the best -- I haven't been in an environment like this in a while and it's nice to have some fans. It's pretty loud in here so that's good. The shot competition was pretty rowdy when we started putting some big throws out there, so I think it's priming us to go out there against Michigan State. They're a really talented team, they have some great throwers and tradition as well, and it's going to be a battle, but I think we're ready."
PERSONAL RECORDS:Justin Gaumer -- Shot Put (16.68m; 54-8.75)
Brad Bolton -- Weight Throw (15.23m; 49-11.75)
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423