March 19, 2013
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will kick off the 2013 outdoor season at the Florida State Relays on Friday and Saturday (March 22-23). Competition will begin on Friday at 9 a.m. and resume again on Saturday at 8 a.m. at Mike Long Track.
The Wolverines will be joined by 19 other teams for the two-day event -- Florida State, Albany State, DePaul, Florida A&M, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville, Jacksonville State, Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, UNF, Nova Southeastern, Robert Morris, South Alabama, USF, Tampa, Valdosta State, Webber and UWF.
Two student-athletes who sat out the indoor season due to exhausted eligibility will return to Michigan's lineup for their final outdoor season. Fifth-year senior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester) will compete in his final season as a sprinter. He primarily runs the 200- and 400-meter dash and was also a mainstay on the 4x400-meter relay in 2012. He was a member of the relay that initially broke the indoor school record in 2012 and helped the relay advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago by running the third-fastest time in program history (3:06.15).
Fifth-year senior Kurt Reichenbach (Brighton, Mich./Pinckney Community) currently ranks third on U-M's all-time decathlon performance list with 7,107 points. He is just 40 points behind second place (Sean Clancy, 7,147 - 1993) and 272 points away from Frank Shotwell's school record of 7,379 points. Reichenbach will not compete in the full decathlon this weekend but is entered in five open events.
Freshman Stephen Burk (Parsippany, N.J./Parsippany) will make his collegiate debut at Florida State in the javelin (the javelin is not contested indoors). He won the New Jersey Meet of Championships title in the javelin in 2012.
Junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) will be more in his element during the outdoor season as he returns to the 400-meter hurdles, which is not contested indoors. Arastu earned All-America second team honors last season after finishing ninth in the race at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, he finished runner-up and met the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standard with a career-best time of 49.43. He went on to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials, where he finished 23rd overall.
The 2012 Big Ten outdoor pole vault champion, senior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier), will be in action this weekend at Florida State. His career-best height of 5.26 meters (17-3), which won the meet, currently ranks third on U-M's all-time performance list.
Junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit), who set a new school record in the indoor shot put (19.25m, 63-2) this season, will return to the outdoor throwing circle for the first time since 2011. Riffle redshirted the 2012 outdoor season due to injury after a stellar freshman campaign. He recorded the third-best shot put mark (60-4.5 ft.) and fifth-best discus throw (179-6 ft.) in school history as a freshman. He will be back in action in both events this weekend at Florida State.
WOLVERINE IN THE RECORD BOOK
Michigan currently has six student-athletes and one relay that rank in the top five on its all-time outdoor performance list.
|Ali Arastu||400m Hurdles||2nd||49.43|
|Jack Greenlee||Pole Vault||3rd||17-3 ft.|
|Cody Riffle||Shot Put||3rd||60-4.5 ft.|
|Cody Riffle||Discus||5th||179-6 ft.|
|Ethan Dennis||Hammer Throw||1st||205-10 ft.|
|Brad Bolton||Hammer Throw||3rd||197-8 ft.|
|Kurt Reichenbach||Decathlon||3rd||7,107 points|
Fifth-year senior Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter), senior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) are representing the Wolverines as 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).
2012 in Review: Michigan finished ninth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships a year ago and sent two student-athletes, as well as the 4x400-meter relay, to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Recent graduate Craig Forys finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Ali Arastu placed ninth in the 400-meter hurdles, and the relay finished 19th. Three members of that relay team will return this season, including Aaron Taylor, Matthew Campbell and Philip Washington.
Michigan recently signed 10 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to compete for the Wolverines beginning in the 2013-14 season. [ Story ]
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
| Fred LaPlante
On positives from indoor season he's looking to carry into outdoor season ... "Bobby Aprill was a bright spot for us -- he had done well in cross country, but he really hadn't done well in track mostly due to injuries. So that was good to see, mostly for our team to see his perseverance and being able to perform at a high level. I think our throwers in general had a good season and with a couple events added to the outdoor event list, I think that will bode well for us moving forward. I think across the board, the attitude of our team has been good. They feel engaged and although they're not satisfied, I don't think they're discouraged by their performance. They're actually pretty excited because they know they're close to being there."
On the different events contested during outdoor season ... "On the track, the hurdles get longer -- the 60 hurdles become the 110 high hurdles, so I think that's an advantage for us. The 400-meter hurdles is contested outdoors, and we have one of the best guys in the country in Ali Arastu. We add the steeplechase, and I think we have potential scorers there. We also add the 10,000-meter run and 4x100-meter relay, so those are all events where we feel we can get on the board. In the field, we have the decathlon instead of the heptathlon, and Kurt Reichenbach is in his fifth year and has outdoor eligibility remaining, so that's good for us. We add the javelin, which is not an indoor event, and add Stephen Burk in that event, who should be a top performer. Three of our throwers, Cody Riffle, Derek Sievers and Justin Gaumer, are all accomplished discus throws. Those are all events that play to our advantage during outdoor season."
On some highlights on the outdoor schedule ... "From a team perspective, you're pretty much judged by the conference meet, so that will be a focus for us in general. For our top guys, their goal is to advance and get to the NCAA Championships, so the NCAA regional meet will be a focus because you have to get through that to get to the national meet. The Cal and Virginia dual meet is a new meet for us, and we hope to do this for several years, bringing together some of the top public academic institutions in the country for a meet. They both have very good track programs as well, and that's a meet we look forward to because it's a scored meet, so we hope to do well there. Those who are going to Mt. SAC will see that as an opportunity to record great marks, as well the Penn Relays. All the meets serve a purpose, but our main focus will be the Big Ten Championships."
On key returners and losses for outdoor season ... "Dan Lowry's eligibility was up, but we're appreciative of what he did for us in his time here. In a sense you can't call it a loss because we knew he wasn't going to be competing in the outdoor season, so for us we saw it as an addition. Matt Campbell and Kurt Reichenbach are two guys that are in their fifth year and both have outdoor eligibility. Kurt is a very versatile performer doing the decathlon, and Matt is a very important part of our sprint group -- he can run the 100, 200 or 400 and will be on both relays. Matt was a captain last year, so that will be great to have him. Stephen Burk is a javelin thrower, and of course we didn't have the javelin indoors. He's a freshman, but we think he's pretty talented."
On what sets this team apart ... "We have a good blend of upperclassmen and underclassmen -- the leadership of our seniors has been very good this year. But the bulk of our team is freshmen and redshirt freshmen. Those guys have seen some positives, and I think they're seeing the progress they've made in their training. They're excited to be a part of the Big Ten -- the quantity of quality in the Big Ten Conference has really grown over the last few years. Guys that come to Big Ten schools do it because they want competition. They're not intimidated by good performances in the Big Ten, it excites them to know that's part of the league they're in, and they want to get in there and rub shoulders with those guys. I think they've had a great attitude, and they're looking forward to being part of it."
A LOOK AHEAD
Outdoor Track and Field
Saturday, April 6 - vs. California and Virginia Tri-Meet (Berkley, Calif.)
Saturday, April 13 -- at UNC Joe Hilton Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423