Feb. 28, 2012
Fri-Sat., March 2-3 -- at Alex Wilson Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 6 p.m./11 a.m.
Saturday, March 3 -- at Virginia Tech Final Qualifier (Blacksburg, Va.), 10 a.m.
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will compete in a pair of last-chance meets this weekend in an effort to qualify athletes for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships (March 9-10). Four field athletes will participate in the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier on Saturday (March 3), while two runners and the 4x400-meter relay team will travel to Notre Dame for the Alex Wilson Invitational on Friday and Saturday (March 2-3). Field events at Virginia Tech will begin at 10 a.m., while action at Notre Dame will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. and again at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
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 has not had any athletes compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships since 2009 when Adam Harris (60m, 4th), Justin Switzer (mile, 7th) and Sean Pruitt (weight throw, 14th) represented the Wolverines. Harris and Switzer each earned All-America honors for their performances.
WHO WILL COMPETE FOR MICHIGAN
Virginia Tech Final Qualifier
Ethan Dennis - Weight Throw
Dennis ranks 14th in the nation in the weight throw (21.07 meters, 69-1.50), a mark he recorded at the Silverston Invitational (Feb. 18). He was just 0.43 meters shy of the NCAA automatic-qualifying mark (21.50 meters) with that throw.
Jack Greenlee - Pole Vault
Greenlee cleared a lifetime-best height of 5.22 meters (17-1.50) at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last Friday (Feb. 24) to finish fourth overall. The NCAA automatic-qualifying mark for the pole vault is 5.50 meters (18-0.50).
Austin DeWildt - Pole Vault
DeWildt cleared a lifetime-best height of 16-10.75 at the Silverston Invitational on Feb. 18. The NCAA automatic-qualifying mark for the pole vault is 5.50 meters (18-0.50).
Bradley James - High Jump
James ranks 28th in the country in the high jump. He recorded a personal-best mark of 7-1.50 at "The Dual" with Ohio State on Jan. 14 and recently took seventh at the Big Ten Championships (2.10 meters, 6-10.75).
Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational
Craig Forys - 5,000-meter Run
Forys ranks 21st in the nation in the 5,000-meter run after clocking a time of 13:51.57 at the Big Ten Championships last Saturday (Feb. 25) to finish runner-up.
4x400-meter Relay - Nick Neuman, Michael Parker Jr., Aaron Taylor, Ali Arastu
The 4x400-meter relay set a new school record (3:09.14) at the SPIRE Invitational on Feb. 10 that ranks 22nd in the NCAA (14th-fastest school in NCAA as several teams have multiple relays in the top 20). After trying several combinations and battling through injuries this season, the relay squad at Virginia Tech will consist of Neuman, Parker, Taylor and Arastu. Neuman, Parker and Arastu each ran the relay at the Big Ten Championships last weekend, while Neuman, Taylor and Arastu were each part of the school-record setting team. The NCAA automatic-qualifying time for the 4x4 is 3:07.70.
Philip Washington - 400-meter Dash
Washington was a member of the 4x400-meter relay team that took fourth at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. He will be the only freshman sporting the Maize and Blue this weekend. He ran a personal-best 400-meter time of 48.56 at the Jack Harvey Invitational on Jan .21.
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 fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck), sophomore Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) and the members of the 4x400-meter relay team at the Big Ten Championships.
Forys ran a personal-best time of 13:51.57 in the 5,000-meter run at the Big Ten Championships to take second. He also took fifth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:04.35. In the two events, Forys tallied a total of 12 points for the Wolverines. Washington ran a time of 7.98 in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles to advance to the finals where he took third with lifetime best of 7.97.
The 4x400-meter relay team was comprised of senior/junior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville), freshman Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) and sophomore Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center). The squad recorded a fourth-place finish with a time of 3:09.54 -- just .40 seconds shy of its school-record setting mark at the SPIRE Invitational on Feb. 11 of 3:09.14.
Personal Improvement -- At the Big Ten Indoor Championships, 10 Michigan student-athletes recorded personal-best marks. With just two meets remaining in the 2012 indoor season, 37 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with nine improving in two or more events.
Last Time on the Track -- Michigan finished 10th at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships last weekend as four different athletes, as well as the 4x400-meter relay recorded points. Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) was U-M's only multi-event scorer, finishing second in the 5,000-meter run (13:51.57, PR) and fifth in the 3,000-meter run (8:04.35). Sophomore Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio./ Gahanna Lincoln HS) was Michigan's other top-three finisher, running a personal-best time of 7.97 in the 60-meter hurdle finals to take third. [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two ]
National Notables -- The Wolverines' 4x400-meter relay team from the SPIRE Invitational ran the 22nd-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 14th-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 14th in the weight throw with a distance of 69-1.50 feet, while fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) ranks 21st in the 5,000-meter run after clocking a time of 13:51.57 at the Big Ten Championships. [ NCAA Division I Indoor Rankings ]
Big Ten Championships to Air on BTN -- The Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on BTN at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 10.
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 9-10 -- at NCAA Championships (Boise, Idaho), 10 a.m./10:30 a.m.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423