March 20, 2012
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will transition to the outdoor season on Friday and Saturday (March 23-24) when it competes in the USC Trojan Invitational. Competition will begin on Friday at 2 p.m. PDT and resume again on Saturday at 10 a.m. PDT at USC's Loker Stadium.
Setting the Scene -- The track's Rekortan surface, the same one that was installed for the Olympic competition at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, has eight, 42-inch lanes. Michigan will be joined by BYU, Texas A&M, Oregon, Washington, Washington State and USC.
Texas A&M is the four-time defending NCAA outdoor champion and was also the runner-up at the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Athletes in Action this Weekend -- Ali Arastu, Brad Bolton, Erik Braun, Justin Clarke, Patrick Cochran, Ethan Dennis, Austin DeWildt, Scott Dvorak, Justin Gaumer, Erick Gavin, Jack Greenlee, Bradley James, Nick Neuman, Eric Oliver, Zach Ornelas, Michael Parker Jr., Robert Peddlar, Kurt Reichenbach, Troy Sneller, Joe Strizich, Aaron Taylor, Herman Washington, Philip Washington and James Yau.
Transitioning to the Outdoors -- The Wolverines wrapped up the indoor track and field season two weeks ago at the NCAA Indoor Championships and will now switch their focus to outdoor season. Michigan finished 10th at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and was represented by five student-athletes are the NCAA Indoor Championships. Events contested outdoors that are not held indoors are the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 1,500-meter run, 3,000-meter steeplechase, hammer throw, discus, javelin and decathlon.
2011 Outdoor Rewind -- Michigan finished ninth at the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and was represented by Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) at the NCAA Championships. Forys qualified for the finals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, where he finished ninth to earn All-America second team honors.
Peddlar Returns for Final Season -- Fifth-year senior Robert Peddlar (Kingston, Jamaica/Wolmer's Boys), who exhausted his indoor track and field eligibility in 2011 and could not compete indoor in 2012, will return to the field for his final outdoor season. He won the Big Ten indoor long jump title in 2010. In the last meet he competed in 2011, Peddlar took seventh in the triple jump and 12th in the long jump at the Big Ten Outdoors Championships.
DeWildt Family Traditions -- Junior pole vaulter Austin DeWildt (Wyoming, Mich./Catholic Central) was named the team's Most Improved Athlete in 2011. He tied for third at the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championships and went on to finish 13th at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Austin's older brother, Charles DeWildt, was the last Michigan pole vaulter to win a Big Ten outdoor pole vault title in 2000. Charles ranks second on U-M all-time outdoor performers list with a vault of 17-4.75, which he cleared in 2000. Their father, Charles Sr., was a pole vaulter at Western Michigan.
Fresh Faces -- Michigan added 22 new student-athletes to the roster this season. Of those 22, seven competed for the Wolverines during the indoor track and field season. Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) was the only freshman on the 4x400-meter relay team at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, which finished fourth, and was an alternate on the relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Last Time on the Track -- Michigan was represented by junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) and its 4x400-meter relay team at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships. Dennis, who was the 16th and final athlete to earn a bid to the meet, placed 14th to earn All-America second team honors. The relay squad, which was comprised of sophomore Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center), senior/junior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) finished 10th to place all four runners on the All-America second team. [ Recap ]
2012 NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING -- For the third consecutive season, the East and West Preliminary Championship competition will be utilized to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Using a descending order list, the top 48 athletes in each event will participate in two rounds (first round and quarterfinals) during the preliminary round. Twelve competitors from each individual event and 12 teams from each relay event will advance from each preliminary championship competition to the NCAA Championships. There are no qualifying marks used during the outdoor season. This year's NCAA East Preliminary Round will be held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.
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., April 6-7 -- at William & Mary Colonial Relays (Williamsburg, Va.), 11 a.m.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423