Feb. 21, 2012
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will participate in the Big Ten Championships on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 24-25). The event will be hosted by the University of Nebraska at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. Action will begin on Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. CST.
Championships Aired on BTN -- The Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on the Big Ten Network at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.
Setting the Scene -- The University of Nebraska, which is in its first year of competition in the Big Ten Conference, will host the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. The facility features one of four hydraulic-banked tracks in the nation and one of eight in the world. Nebraska's 200-meter track has the largest radius (67 feet) of any indoor-banked track in the world.
Five Big Ten teams are ranked in the most recent USTFCCCA top 25 poll, which was released on Monday (Feb. 20) -- No. 8 Minnesota, No. 11 Indiana, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 15 Nebraska and No. 18 Penn State.
"Every person that we take to Big Tens has the opportunity to have an impact on how we do," said head coach Fred LaPlante. "The thing about the sport of track and field is that there's no defense -- there's nobody that can stop you from doing what you're doing other than yourself. If you perform to the best of your ability -- you also can't stop the other guy -- so the idea is to put yourself out there, give it your best and where the chips fall, they fall."
Wolverines in the Big Ten Quick Hits
Michigan has won 26 Big Ten indoor team title 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.
WOLVERINES TO WATCH
Ethan Dennis - Weight Throw
Dennis ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation in the weight throw (69-1.50), a mark he recorded at the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 18).
Jack Greenlee - Pole Vault
Greenlee ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 35th in the NCAA in the pole vault. He cleared a lifetime-best height of 17-0.75 at the SPIRE Invitational on Feb. 10. He tied for seventh at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships (16-8.00).
Austin DeWildt - Pole Vault
DeWildt cleared a lifetime-best height of 16-10.75 at the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 18), which ranks ninth in the Big Ten.
Bradley James - High Jump
James ranks third in the Big Ten and 26th in the country in the high jump. He recorded a personal-best mark of 7-1.50 at "The Dual" against Ohio State on Jan. 14. James placed fifth at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships (7-0.25).
Ali Arastu - 400-meter Dash / 4x400-meter Relay
Arastu ranks sixth in the Big Ten in the 400-meter dash (47.47) and is a member of the 4x400-meter relay team that ranks fourth in the conference and 16th in the NCAA (3:09.14) (11th-fastest school in NCAA as some teams have multiple relays in the top 15).
Herman Washington - 60-meter Hurdles
Washington ranks seventh in the Big Ten in the 60-meter hurdles (8.00). He recorded the personal-best time at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational on Feb. 3.
Craig Forys - 3,000-meter Run / 5,000-meter Run
Forys ranks fifth in the 3,000-meter run (7:59.82) and 10th in the 5,000-meter run (14:11.00) in the Big Ten. He finished fifth in the 3,000-meter run at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships.
4x400-meter Relay - Nick Neuman, Ali Arastu, Aaron Taylor, Matthew Campbell
The 4x400-meter relay set a new school record (3:09.14) at the SPIRE Invitational on Feb. 10, which ranks 16th in the NCAA (11th-fastest school in NCAA as some teams have multiple relays in the top 15).
Big Ten Championship Rewind -- Michigan finished ninth (28.5) at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships at Illinois. Four Wolverines, as well as the 4x400-meter relay team, who scored for Michigan at last year's championships will return to compete this weekend. On the track, Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) finished fifth in the 3,000-meter run, while Erick Gavin (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic) took sixth in the 60-meter hurdles. In the field, Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) tied for seventh in the pole vault, while Bradley James (East Lansing, Mich./Haslett) finished fifth in the high jump. The 4x400-meter squad, which placed fourth, will return three of its members in Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester).
Wolverines of the Week -- Each week throughout the season, the track and field coaching staff will select members of the team as Wolverines of the Week. "The team recognition is based on personal accomplishments that enhance team objectives and examples of competitive focus," said head coach Fred LaPlante.
This week's Wolverines of the Week are junior pole vaulter Austin DeWildt (Wyoming, Mich./Catholic Central HS), junior/sophomore thrower Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville HS) and sophomore hurdler Erick Gavin (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic HS).
DeWIldt took second in the pole vault, while Dennis and Gavin won their respective events at last weekend's Silverston Invitational. In the field, DeWildt won the pole vault, clearing a lifetime-best height of 16-10.75, while Dennis's personal-best throw of 21.07 meters (69-01.50) was good enough to take first in the weight throw. Dennis's throw propelled him into fifth in the Big Ten and 18th in the nation. On the track, Gavin won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.06, just .01 shy of his personal best.
Personal Improvement -- At the Silverston Invitational, six Michigan student-athletes recorded personal-best marks. With the Big Ten Championships next on the slate, 36 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with seven improving in two or more events.
Last Time on the Track -- Junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville HS) (weight throw), Austin DeWildt (Wyoming, Mich./Catholic Central HS) (pole vault) and sophomore Erick Gavin (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic HS) (60-meter hurdles) led the Wolverines with first-place finishes at the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 18).
[ Recaps: MGoBlue | Michigan Daily ]
National Notables -- The Wolverines' 4x400-meter relay team from the SPIRE Invitational ran the 16th-fastest time in the country this season with a school-record setting time of 3:09.14. The relay team consisted of senior/junior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and senior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester). Michigan is the 11th-ranked school overall in the relay, as several teams have multiple relay squads ranked in the top 15. Junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville HS) ranks 13th in the weight throw with a distance of 69-1.50 feet, which he recorded at the Silverston Invitational last weekend. [ NCAA Division I Indoor Rankings ]
Among The Big Ten's Best
With the Big Ten Championships next up for the Wolverines, several Michigan track and field athletes remain among the best in the conference (# - converted mark).
|Justin Clarke (So.)||60m Dash||6.82||10|
|Matthew Campbell (Sr.)||200m Dash||21.57 #||10|
|Ali Arastu (So.)||400m Dash||47.47||6|
|Brendon Blacklaws (Jr.)||Mile Run||4:04.48||9|
|Craig Forys (R-Sr.)||3,000m Run||7:59.82||5|
|Herman Washington (So.)||60m Hurdles||8.00||7|
|Karr, Snyder, Martin, Yau||Distance Medley Relay||9:54.66||5|
|Bradley James (R-So.)||High Jump||7-1 1/2 feet||3|
|Jack Greenlee (Jr.)||Pole Vault||17-0 3/4 feet||5|
|Austin DeWildt (Jr.)||Pole Vault||16-10 3/4 feet||9|
|Patrick Cochran (So.)||Triple Jump||48-10 feet||9|
|Ethan Dennis (R-So.)||35-lb. Weight Throw||69-1 1/2 feet||5|
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 ]
Michigan men's track and field is on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganmenstrack. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@umichtrack) for up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.
A LOOK AHEAD
Fri-Sat., March 2-3 -- at Notre Dame Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m.
Saturday, March 3 -- at Virginia Tech Final Qualifier (Blacksburg, Va.), 10 a.m.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423