Week 6: U-M Set for Big Ten Championships at SPIRE Institute
MGOBLUE Aaron Taylor
MGOBLUE
Aaron Taylor
MGOBLUE

Feb. 19, 2013

THIS WEEKEND
Fri-Sat., Feb. 22-23 -- at Big Ten Championships (Geneva, Ohio), 10 a.m.
Meet Information/Live Results/Tickets

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Follow along with the action on Twitter by using #B1GTF and @BigTenChamps.

The University of Michigan men's track and field team will begin the championship season with the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-23) at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The meet will begin at 10 a.m. each day. This weekend's event will mark the first conference championship hosted at a neutral site instead of on a Big Ten campus.

The SPIRE Institute was built in Geneva, Ohio, in 2008 to provide a centralized location to host various athletic events on all levels, including this year's Big Ten and Big East Indoor Championships. The GaREAT Sports Complex is the nation's largest track and field center and features an eight-lane 300-meter Beynon track with two full 150-meter straightaways.

WOLVERINE BITES

• Five Big Ten schools are currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I top 25 -- No. 5 Nebraska, No. 7 Penn State, No. 9 Indiana, No. 10 Wisconsin, and No. 15 Minnesota.

Wolverines in the Big Ten Quick Hits
• Michigan has won 26 Big Ten indoor team titles, with its last coming in 1994.
• One hundred and fourteen Michigan athletes have won 199 individual Big Ten Indoor titles.
• Carl Johnson (1918-20) leads all Wolverines with eight Big Ten titles.
• The last time Michigan won a Big Ten indoor team title was in 1994. Since then, U-M's highest finish came in 2009, when it finished second.
• Michigan's last individual Big Ten champion was Robert Peddlar in the long jump in 2010.
• U-M finished 10th at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships with 30 points.

• The Big Ten Network will be on site at the conference championships to catch the action and get exclusive interviews with student-athletes and coaches. The event will air on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, March 5, at noon.

• Two Wolverines appeared on the podium at last year's conference championships, including recent graduate Craig Forys in the 5,000-meter run (2nd) and junior Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) in the 60-meter hurdles (3rd).

• Senior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) was the 2012 Big Ten outdoor champion in the pole vault. He is the only current Wolverine with a Big Ten title.

• The 5,000-meter run will feature one of the most talented fields, as four of the nation's top 15 runners hail from the Big Ten. Wisconsin's Maverick Darling (6th) and Mohammed Ahmed (9th) and Michigan's fifth-year seniors Dan Lowry (Philadelphia, Pa./La Salle College) (12th) and Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) (14th) recorded the top four times in the Big Ten at the Husky Classic on Feb. 8 and will headline the event.

• Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the Great Lakes Region poll with 10 student-athletes, as well as the 4x400-meter relay and distance medley relay, contributing to the ranking. Athletes who reach minimum predetermined standards in their respective events help improve the team's overall ranking.

• Heading into the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Wolverines have seven student-athletes and two relays ranked in the top eight in the conference in their respective events (the top eight finishers score at championship meets). Two of the athletes are in the top three, including Dan Lowry in the 5,000-meter run and Cody Riffle in the shot put.

Dan Lowry -- 3,000m, 5th, 8:03.56
Dan Lowry -- 5,000m, 3rd, 13:42.48
Bobby Aprill -- 5,000m, 4th, 13:44.34
Bradley James -- high jump, 6th, 7-0.25 ft.
Jack Greenlee -- pole vault, t-8th, 16-10.75 ft.
Patrick Cochran -- triple jump, 8th, 49-1.75
Cody Riffle -- shot put, 2nd, 63-2 ft.
Ethan Dennis -- weight throw, 4th, 69-6.75 ft.
4x400m Relay -- 8th, 3:11.59
Distance Medley Relay -- 6th, 9:57.05

• Michigan concluded the regular season last weekend by hosting the Silverston Invitational, where the Wolverines took home three first-place finishes. Senior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) recorded the Big Ten's eighth-best mark in the pole vault with a season-best mark of 5.15 meters (16-10.75). Junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) won the shot put with a winning throw of 17.69 meters (58-0.50). In his first event of the season and his final home meet at U-M, senior Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) won the event with a time of 1:54.79.

• 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

A. Taylor Aaron Taylor
Senior
Sprints
Rochester Hills, Mich.

On the success and positive mindset of the 4x400-meter relay ... "Believing is a big part of it. Every day in practice we have to push each other to get better, and we're always kind of ragging on each other, so I think that's what has made us better is the competitiveness. As far as being a national contender, I think last year we sort of surprised ourselves and showed ourselves that we can be with the best in the nation -- the Texas A&Ms, the LSUs. I think that's really important going into this meet, just believing that, having that experience and knowing we can get it done."

On having interchangeable parts on the relay ... "I think having a lot of interchangeable parts has been big for us. We have a lot of guys that can run the 400. Unfortunately, we've had a lot of injuries this year, so having guys like Nate Chapman and Troy Sneller be able to go in there and run a good time has been important for us to maintain a high level of competitiveness."

On bringing the whole team together at Big Tens ... "It feels good to finally be able to put it all together. At the Notre Dame meet, not all the throwers went, and then this past week the sprinters didn't really run, so it will be interesting to see what it's like when we put all the pieces together. The Michigan State dual was the only time that we had everyone together, and that was a great experience, there was a lot of camaraderie, and I'm expecting the same thing when we go to SPIRE this weekend."

On the potential for success across all event areas ... "I definitely think we can do some damage in the sprints -- we've got Herman (Washington) and Erick Gavin in the hurdles, Phil (Washington) and Ali (Arastu) in the 400 -- it's a pretty tough field, but I have a feeling they can get the job done. And then we have Codie (Nolan) and Justin Clarke in the 60, and then myself in the 200. All the times are really compact in the 200, so hopefully I can sneak in there. As far as the field events, I know Cody (Riffle) and all the other throwers are ready to go, and hopefully Jack (Greenlee) can repeat at pole vault champion. Something that has really motivated us is Dan Lowry and Bobby Aprill doing their thing in their distance races and breaking the school record. I'm really excited to see what we can put together this weekend."

On helping some of the younger guys stay calm for Big Tens ... "We just have to remind them that it's just another meet. A lot of people will get psyched out because it's Big Tens, I know I felt that way my freshman year. But having been in bigger meets like Big Tens, hopefully some of the younger guys listen to the upperclassmen that it's just another meet, and you prepare the same as you do for any meet. You have to do the little things -- staying healthy and going to the training room because that will pay huge dividends in the end."

A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., March 1-2 -- at Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m.
Saturday, March 2 -- at Virginia Tech Final Qualifier (Blacksburg, Va.), 10 a.m.
Fri-Sat., March 8-9 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.), 10 a.m./11 a.m. CST

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423