Jan. 22, 2013
Saturday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Michigan State (Allendale, Mich.), 6 p.m.
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The University of Michigan men's track and field team will go head to head with Michigan State in a dual meet for the first time since 1982 on Saturday (Jan. 26) at Grand Valley State' Kelly Family Sports Center in Allendale, Mich. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. with field events, while running events will commence at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online through Grand Valley's website or by calling GVSU's ticket office at (616) 331-3200. Presale tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students and seniors (general admission), and a $12 VIP track level pass is available. Tickets prices for the day of meet are as follows: $9 for adults, $5 for students and seniors (general admission) and $15 for a VIP track level pass. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early as a sellout is expected.
Schedule of Events
6 p.m. -- M Weight Throw, W Shot Put, M and W Pole Vault, M and W Long Jump, M High Jump,
7:15 p.m. -- W High Jump, W Weight Throw, M Shot Put, M and W Triple Jump
6:30 p.m. -- W then M Mile
6:45 p.m. -- W then M 60m Hurdles
6:55 p.m. -- W then M 400m (2 sections if needed)
7:10 p.m. -- W then M 600m (2 sections if needed)
7:25 p.m. -- W then M 60m
7:35 p.m. -- W then M 800m
7:50 p.m. -- W then M 200m (2 sections if needed)
8 p.m. -- W then M 3,000m
8:30 p.m. -- W then M 4 x 400m
ACCORDING TO COACH LAPLANTE
"This competition will showcase the best of what track and field has to offer. It will feature high-quality athletes on both sides pitted against their rivals in a two-hour time frame that will be action packed from start to finish. The experience will be memorable for all athletes, coaches, and spectators."
The Wolverines will go head to head with Michigan State in a dual meet for the first time since 1982. U-M and MSU have competed against one another three times since 1982 as part of triangular meets in 1994, '95 and '99.
Michigan owns a 27-2-1 all-time record against the Spartans, including a 19-2-1 mark in true dual meets.
U-M opened the 2013 season last Saturday (Jan. 19), hosting the Simmons-Harvey Invitational. The Wolverines won four events, including junior Justin Clarke (Flint, Mich./Southwestern) in the 60-meter dash, senior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) in the 200-meter dash, senior/junior Bradley James (East Lansing, Mich./Haslett) in the high jump and junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) in the shot put.
The Wolverines' throwing group, which had three student-athletes redshirt last season, has more depth than this year with all five throwers competing in uniform. Senior/junior Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) was a All-American second teamer in the weight throw last season and is joined by sophomore/freshman Brad Bolton (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro), who redshirted during indoor season last year. In the shot put, junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) returned to the throwing circle after redshirting the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons due to injury. Riffle ranks fifth on U-M's all-time indoor performance list in the shot put (18 meters, 59-0.75 feet). In his first collegiate shot put competition at the Jack Harvey Invitational, sophomore/freshman Derek Sievers (Byron Center, Mich./Byron Center) finished second with a mark of 17.53 meters (57-6.25), while junior/sophomore Justin Gaumer (Holly, Mich./Holly) placed third (16.68 meters, 54-8.75).
After one week of competition, the Wolverines have six student-athletes ranked in the Big Ten's top eight in their respective events (the top eight finishers score at championship meets):
Justin Clarke -- 60m, 7th, 6.87
Aaron Taylor -- 200m, 7th, 21.49#
Herman Washington -- 60m hurdles, 8th, 7.99
Bradley James -- high jump, 6th, 7-0.25
Cody Riffle -- shot put, 3rd, 58-5.75
Ethan Dennis -- weight throw, 5th, 64-8
# = converted time
Fifth-year senior Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter), senior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) were named tri-captains for the 2013 season. Each captain was chosen by the team and coaches to represent the different event areas -- Aprill (distance), Greenlee (field) and Arastu (sprints).
Qualifying Standards for NCAA Championships -- For the second straight year, provisional standards are no longer part of the qualifying process. Championship fields will first be filled with those who declare for their events with automatic status. Then, the remainder of the field will be filled by the highest-remaining ranked performances. [ Indoor Qualifying Standards ]
In the Spotlight
On being named one of three tri-captains ... "It was a great honor to be voted captain by my teammates. It's an even bigger honor when I think back on who the captains were throughout my five years, the guys who were captains for me on those teams and what they had done in college. Just to have my name up there with them is a big honor. Not a whole lot changes, I'm still doing all the leadership duties that I had been doing for a while. It just places a bigger importance on being a role model and trying to do everything correctly every step of the way."
On not competing for U-M in a long time due to injury and exhausted eligibility in cross country ... "That whole time off I was really antsy. Last year in track, I didn't run indoor track, and outdoor track was kind of pieced together because of injury -- I had about four months away from the sport due to injury from about December to March. So my season last year was basically throwing together a couple weeks of training and seeing what happens. The last eight to nine months of training have been culminating into my last five to six months of my competition for the University of Michigan. I'm getting excited because it's been a long time since I've been able to compete on the track in a healthy-fit situation. I've never felt disconnected because I live with guys on the team, and we were training together all summer. In the fall, having guys like Craig Forys and Christo Landry, who aren't on the team but are still training at the same level, has really helped. Coach (Alex) Gibby has also done a really good job of helping me stay connected with the team."
On how he's feeling mentally and physically after time off from competition ... "I feel good. I had a really good chunk of training between June and December. I had a little break after the fall season and coming off of that I felt really good. There were about seven or eight of us that took a trip to Florida during winter break. We got away from the cold weather and got some really good training in down in some warm weather. I think I'm in a really good spot right now. Having Dan Lowry around has really helped me get to a good spot and benefit from all the training I was able to get in over the fall and summer."
On competing in a dual-meet atmosphere ... "I like it. I like dual meets. I think they are really a good thing for our sport because they shorten a two- or three-day meet into a couple hours. It definitely makes it a much more spectator-friendly sport, so people are a lot more into it. It's hard to maintain that enthusiasm for two or three days on end. When you shorten something down to two or three hours, it definitely increases the noise level in a venue and increases the participation from the crowd into races. I think it's going to be exciting. I think we match up really well against them, so I think it's going to be a close meet. We're bringing some heavy hitters to the table, so I think it's going to be really exciting."
On needing everyone to contribute in the dual meet ... "They strategically create these dual meets so they stay close. You can only score two people in an event per team, so no matter how a team does, they can still get at least three points in each event. Even if there is a dominating performance in an event, you can only gain a couple point advantage. Every point matters and the difference between getting fourth and third is still a couple points swinging your way. We have guys stepping up all around the board to do what they can do to help the team because in a meet like this, every point matters. I think a meet like this, no matter how it goes, is good for team chemistry. You either see that we're something special, and we can come together and do something special, or if it doesn't go well, you can see how your team handles adversity. No matter what happens, it's a good chance to build as a team, because at the end of the day, all that matters is the team score."
A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., Feb. 1-2 -- at Notre Dame Meyo Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 4 p.m./10 a.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 8-9 -- at SPIRE Invitational (Geneva, Ohio), 2 p.m./10 a.m.
Fri-Sat., Feb. 8-9 -- at Husky Classic (Seattle, Wash.), 4 p.m./8 a.m. PST
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423