Arastu Collects Runner-Up in 400m Hurdles at Big Tens
Ali Arastu

May 12, 2013

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Site: Columbus, Ohio (Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium)
Event: Big Ten Outdoor Championships (Day 3 of 3)
U-M Team Result: 10th Place of 11 Teams (36 points)
Next U-M Event:
Thu-Sat., May 23-25 -- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Greensboro, N.C.)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team was led by junior Ali Arastu's (Northville, Mich./Northville) runner-up performance in the 400-meter hurdles on the final day of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on Sunday (May 12) at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Wolverines finished 10th overall as a team with 36 points, while Nebraska claimed the Big Ten title with 131.5 points.

Arastu was in the middle of the pack heading down the back stretch but used a strong push down the final straightaway to cross the line in 50.90, just shy of Iowa's Ethan Holmes, who ran a winning time of 50.78. Senior/junior Troy Sneller (Hamilton, Mich./Hamilton) joined Arastu in the 400-meter hurdle finals, finishing eighth in a time of 53.60.

Michigan's 4x100-meter relay, which was running without fifth-year senior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester),who suffered a season-ending injury to his Achillies tendon yesterday, finished fifth with a time of 41.09. Freshman Antonio Whitfield (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Canal Winchester) replaced Campbell and ran the anchor leg, while sophomore/freshman Codie Nolan (Morenci, Mich./Adrian), senior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and junior Justin Clarke (Flint, Mich./Southwestern) ran the first three legs.

In the shot put, junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) used a throw of 18.48 meters (60-7.75) to place fourth in the finals.

Michigan will have one week off before select members of the squad compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds from May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C. The regional fields will be announced on Thursday (May 16).

Final Team Standings

 1. Nebraska         131.5
 2. Minnesota         93
 3. Wisconsin         86.5
 4. Illinois          86
 5. Iowa              85
 6. Ohio State        84
 7. Indiana           67.5
 8. Penn State        59
 9. Purdue            56
10. MICHIGAN          36
11. Michigan State    33.5

Event Winners/U-M Finishers (Day 3)

1,500-meter Run (finals)
 1. Andrew Bayer, Indiana             3:44.24
10. Brendon Blacklaws, U-M            3:54.54
5,000-meter Run
 1. Andrew Bayer, Indiana            13:54.71
11. Mark Beams, U-M                  14:29.80
12. August Pappas, U-M               14:31.72
 -- Bobby Aprill, U-M                     DNF
100-meter Hurdles (finals)
 1. Vanier Joseph, Illinois             13.70
 -- Herman Washington, U-M                DNF
400-meter Hurdles (finals)
 1. Ethan Holmes, Iowa                  50.78
 2. Ali Arastu, U-M                     50.90
 8. Troy Sneller, U-M                   53.60
4x100-meter Relay (finals)
 1. Iowa                                40.20
 5. MICHIGAN                            41.09
   (Codie Nolan, Justin Clarke, Aaron Taylor, Antonio Whitfield)
4x400-meter Relay
 1. Nebraska                          3:07.87
 9. MICHIGAN                          3:17.69
   (Philip Washington, Garrick Roemer, Justin Clarke, Troy Sneller)
Triple Jump
 1. Mike Hartfield, Ohio State          15.62m (51-3)
15. Patrick Cochran, U-M                14.05m (46-1.25)
18. Erik Braun, U-M                     13.09m (42-11.5)
Shot Put
 1. Chad Wright, Nebraska               19.39m (63-7.5)
 4. Cody Riffle, U-M                    18.48m (60-7.75)
15. Derek Sievers, U-M                  16.04m (52-7.5)
 1. Bill Stanley, Ohio State            75.23m (246-10)
12. Stephen Burk, U-M                   58.48m (191-10)
16. Kurt Reichenbach, U-M               51.12m (167-8)

• Previous Results: Day 2 | Day 1

Personal Records
August Pappas -- 5,000 (14:31.72)


Matthew Campbell did not compete on the final day after suffering an injury to his Achilles tendon yesterday (Saturday, May 11) in the 200-meter dash prelims.

Ali Arastu recorded a runner-up finish in the 400-meter hurdles for the second consecutive year at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.


Michigan Head Coach Fred LaPlante

On the standout individual performances … "Kurt's (Reienchbach) performance, as far as a combination of quality performance and also clutch performance, was our most inspiring performance of the week. The decathlon is an interesting event and it takes a lot of patients and as you go from event to event a lot of things can happen. He really negotiated all the elements -- the competition, the events, the weather. He certainly had a positive outcome that came at a time in the meet where it looked like we had potential to get some things going. It was an outstanding performance. Ali's (Astasu) second-place performance is a good one. I'm a little disappointed and I think he is as well. I think he's capable of winning the competition and you don't want to be complacent about it. It was positive that he scored eight points, but we felt there was a little bit more there. I thought our 4x1 relay, under the circumstances, did a great job. Matt Campbell went down with an achillies tear, so we had to switch our lineup and that's not easy to do the day before a meet. With Mason (Ferlic) in the steeple, that was a really good performance for him. He hasn't had much experience, so to be in the hunt was kind of bitter sweet because it looked like he had a chance to win it, but his performance was still outstanding. It was a whole different ball game with a lot of traffic and good competition and I thought he did great. Ethan's (Dennis) performance in the hammer was good. He had been a little inconsistent and he barely made the finals, but on his last throw he moved up quite a bit to get third, which was a clutch performance. Cody (Riffle) did a good job. The competition was very good and he was very consistent. We had some other great performances -- Mark Beams scoring in the 10K, Troy Sneller was quite a bit down the performance list going into the meet, so for him to get a score was terrific. Those were some points that we didn't expect that we got, so we definitely had some bright spots."

On the team's morale despite some injuries and challenges … "Matt Campbell was laying on the track with a torn achillies and his concern was watching the 200 meters to see how Aaron Taylor did. He did a good job of trying to talk to the other guys about moving forward in the finals. There are a lot of things going on during the course of a track meet, especially with the way the set up was at Ohio State with the throws in a different location and the warm up area being separate, so as coaches we're all over the place. You don't see every guy at all times and I'm sure there were positive things going on that we didn’t see. I got the sense that our guys were engaged the entire meet. There were circumstances that were difficult for everyone to deal with, but the coaches and athletes refocused from event to event and tried to keep fighting. At the end of the day, the overall team performance was disappointing. You can't have excuses before, during or after a meet -- you have to move forward and get better."

On members of the team continuing on to regionals and nationals … "The guys who are at the level to be going onto the next meet have lost before -- if you've been in sports you're whole life, you've lost sometime. You always have to reset. You compete, you do the best you can and you try to learn from what happened in your last few experiences and you refocus on the next competition. At this level the focus is to get the most out of yourself. As we say in track, there is no defense. You can't stop the other people, but you can get the most out of yourself. It's important that guys are healthy, and the guys who are not as healthy are focused on getting healthy, which is a combination of our athletic trainers and us as coaches getting them prepared. We have to remind our guys that most athletes at this point in the season are banged up one way or another. There are some injuries that you can't jump or run through, but there are some injuries that you can. With the top guys you don't have to worry about that -- they just know. The pinnacle is to get to the national championships and we have a number of guys in those positions who have worked really hard. We'll do our best to help them get there. We certainly have people capable of making in the finals and winning a national championship so that's what we'll focus on in these next few weeks."

Michigan Assistant Coach Mohamad Saatara
On Kurt Reichenbach's decathlon performance ... "First of all I'm really proud of him. He's been building since we started working with him and it's been one of our goals to do this. Kurt is a very even keeled person, so our goal wasn't to go crazy in any one event; our goal was to be steady in all 10 events. He had a personal best or decathlon best in almost every event. The weather was challenging, but it wasn't that big of a challenge; we've competed in worse conditions. There was really good competition, but he was really focused -- it could have snowed and he was still going to do his thing."

On Ethan Dennis and Cody Riffle's scoring performance ... "Both of them did a really good job in the competition. They were both in tough situations, especially Ethan with the weather conditions in the hammer. He fought back and put himself in a high scoring position, which was our goal all along. Because of the conditions, it was more challenging than normal, but I'm very proud of him. With Cody, it was a very tense competition. He basically repeated his performance from indoors and it was sort of the same make up. I think we need to prepare a little better if we want to break into the higher level and we're going to get there."

On the team's continued determination throughout the weekend ... "I think the important part when you have team scoring is to stay positive. Things are going to happen, that's the nature of the sport. We had some key injuries throughout the weekend, but the guys adapted and did the very best they could. For the guys that are continuing on to regional qualification, they are very motivated right now. Our desire as coaches and student-athletes is that we want to be the very best. We're ready to show people that we are some of the best in the country."

U-M Fifth-Year Senior Kurt Reichenbach
On the physical and mental challenges of the decathlon ... "The decathlon is a long event. It takes two days to complete and it doesn't help when you have rain and lightning delays. Some people like the delays because it gives them a little more rest, but I'd rather get it done so we can get a little more rest and recovery in between the two days. It's tough, but you have to be ready for it."

On his mentality heading into the second day in eighth place ... "Day one, a lot of the new guys, especially freshmen will do really well, but day two is a lot more skilled so usually the older guys will do a lot better. I knew that a lot of people would drop off and I knew it was a pretty strong day for me, especially the last two or three events, so I knew it was going to be close and that I could pass some people."

On finishing third and setting a new school record ... "It was crazy. I didn't really expect any of that to happen. Going into the javelin, I didn't think I had the chance to break the school record of make it on the podium. I didn't realize how many points my javelin throw was going to give me and I didn't see those results until after the 1,500 so I didn't know how close I was. I was shocked when I found out what my score was. I was going for the school record, so that's what I'm probably most excited about. Getting third in the Big Ten and making it to nationals is icing on the cake and you can't beat that."

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423