Jan. 10, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's track and field head coach Jerry Clayton announced Friday (Jan. 10) that senior Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) and senior/juniors Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) and Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) will serve as team captains for the 2014 season.
"The feedback that we got from the team strongly supported these three as leaders of our team," said Clayton. "The three captains that were selected have been involved with the Michigan Leadership Academy, which is a really good program and they've gained a lot of valuable knowledge from those sessions."
Each captain was chosen by the team and coaches to represent the different event areas -- Beams (distance), Washington (sprints, hurdles, jumps) and Riffle (field). It marks the first year representing the U-M track and field team for all three captains. However, Beams captained the U-M cross country team in each of the last two seasons.
"Cody is an NCAA-level athlete," added Clayton. "Herman has been at the preliminary rounds and we feel that he has the potential to get to the NCAA meet for us this year. Mark has done a great job in cross country and then he'll bring that to the track this year as well."
Beams scored for the Wolverines at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships, placing eighth in the 10,000-meter run. He advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in the 10K, where he finished 27th. Beams has also been a key member of U-M's cross country team, helping the Wolverines to a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships and U-M's first NCAA Great Lakes Region title since 2007, this past fall.
Riffle owns the school record in the indoor (19.25 meters, 63-2) and outdoor (18.80 meters, 61-3 1/2) shot put. Last season, he qualified for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, earning All-America second team honors at both events. Riffle is one of four returning All-Americans on this year's squad.
Washington is a three-time NCAA East Preliminary Round qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles. He has scored for the Wolverines in the 60-meter hurdles at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in each of the last two years, most recently finishing eighth in 2013.
"I'm really looking for the leadership of our captains to convey what the team goals are and they also help communicate the direction the student-athletes want to go because it's their team," said Clayton.
"Leadership is critical, especially when you're trying to change a culture. Not just the culture of what we're doing on the track, but it's the things they're doing off the track that are critical to our success -- getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and those sorts of things. We're with them 2-3 hours a day and away from them 21-22 hours a day so that's where the captain's leadership is critical with what goes on in the social setting. They can have a lot of influence off the track, which is crucial to our success."
The Wolverines will begin their first season under Clayton's guidance next Saturday, Jan. 18, hosting the annual Jack Harvey Invitational at 10:30 a.m. at the U-M Indoor Track Building.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org)