April 10, 2013
Saturday, April 13 -- at UNC Joe Hilton Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 10 a.m.
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The University of Michigan men's track and field team will send a group of 15 competitors to participate in the UNC Joe Hilton Invitational on Saturday (April 13). Field events will begin at 10 a.m., while the running events will get underway at noon at UNC's Belk Track.
WOLVERINES IN ACTION
Ali Arastu, Stephen Burk, Matthew Campbell, Nate Chapman, Justin Clarke, Scott Dvorak, Justin Gaumer, Zac Miklja, Codie Nolan, Garrick Roemer, Troy Sneller, Aaron Taylor, Philip Washington, Herman Washington, Antonio Whitfield.
Freshman javelin specialist Stephen Burk (Parsippany, N.J./Parsippany) has competed in each of the first two meets this season, improving his mark by nearly five meters at last weekend's tri-meet against California and Virginia. His current personal-best mark of 60.11 meters (197-2) ranks third all-time at Michigan and seventh in the Big Ten this season. The school javelin record is 232-11, which was set by Stan Johanning in 1992.
Juniors Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) and Erick Gavin (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic) currently rank sixth and seventh in the Big Ten in the 110-meter hurdles with times of 14.08 and 14.13, respectively. Gavin's time is a collegiate best, while Washington's time is just .04 off his lifetime best.
Michigan's 4x100-meter relay at the tri-meet with Cal and Virginia (April 6) clocked the fourth-fastest time in the Big Ten this season at 40.55. The relay team of Matthew Campbell, Justin Clarke, Codie Nolan and Aaron Taylor will be back in action this week at UNC. The relay is just .63 seconds off the current school record of 39.92, which was set in 1978. Current women's track and field volunteer assistant coach Arnett Chisholm is a member of the school-record holding relay.
Junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten in the 400-meter hurdles. He opened the season in the event last weekend with a time of 51.61 at the tri-meet against Cal and Virginia (April 6). His career-best time of 49.43, which he set let year at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, met the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standard.
WOLVERINE IN THE RECORD BOOK
There are currently eight student-athletes and one relay that rank in the top five on Michigan's all-time outdoor performance list.
Ethan Dennis (hammer throw, 205-10) and Cody Riffle (shot put, 61-3.5) each hold school records in their respective events. Dennis set the hammer record in 2012, while Riffle snapped a 41-year-old record of 61-11.75, which was previously set by Steve Adams in 1972, at the tri-meet with California and Virginia last weekend (April 6).
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.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
On returning to competition after sitting out the indoor season due to exhausted eligibility ... "It's been great to be back. It was the first winter period that I wasn't racing indoor and it was a weird feeling, watching everyone compete. I knew I was part of the team, I knew I was training for something bigger, but I felt ready to race and I wasn't racing. It's just something I wasn't used to, but I'm really happy to be back on the track. I got my first meet out of the way at Cal and knocked some rust off, so I'm really excited for UNC this weekend."
On being a key part of the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays ... "In the past we've had a lot of interchangeable parts and that's one thing that we haven't had as much of this year. This year, the four people that we have are what we're working with. Even though it's more of a precarious situation, we know that if we have our four guys healthy, we can run against pretty much anyone. Our 4x1 is better than it's been in years. We're really gunning for the school record and we feel we can attain that. The 4x4 normally comes together toward the end of the season, so it's not something we're worried about. We're just trying to do the best we can at every meet. I've been running on relays for so long that if someone is nervous, it's easy for me to let them know that we've done this in practice, we've prepared for this and it's not something they should worry about. It's about putting trust in your teammates and getting some of that pressure off yourself. We know we all have each other's back and we're working toward the same goal."
On competing in a scored meet at Cal before Big Tens ... "It really is a great experience to have a scored meet like that. Normally we go to invites, nothing is scored and we're running against time. At the Cal-Virginia meet, every place counted and every point counted. When we started a race, we saw the score, and for instance, before the 4x4 relay, I saw that we were only up by one point and I had just run the 200 about 25 minutes before that. I was tired but I knew we needed to win to make our lead more comfortable. That type of situation is different than at an invite where it's not scored and you don't have as much of an incentive. It's also a great simulation for Big Tens, regionals and nationals."
On being done with classes and preparing to graduate and focus on track ... "It's great. The past four years have been interesting -- when you're in class, you're focused on track, but as soon as you step into that indoor track building, you have to turn on track-mode. Since I've been done with classes, I'm focused on post-graduation plans, but right now the main thing for me is doing the best I can on the track. It's great to put all my energy into track and be able to put a lot more focus and determination into it than I've been able to do before. It's a really fun situation."
On how being a student-athlete has helped prepare him for his future plans ... "In terms of time management, it helps a ton. This past year, I haven't had as much on my plate as I normally do and it's been a weird experience. I'm used go going here, going there, having meetings, having class, having practice, and my schedule has been a lot more free. I've realized that this situation and this environment at Michigan have allowed me to thrive in a place where I have a lot thrown at me and I have to take care of a lot of things. After graduation, I'm going to be doing Teach for America for two years in Miami, Florida. That's going to be really tough and I'm ready for the challenge. I'm not going to be running track anymore and I have a lot of passion and a lot of drive. I know that whatever I've been able to pour into my life as a student-athlete, I'll be able to take with me in whatever career path I choose."
A LOOK AHEAD
Wed-Sat., April 17-20 -- at Mt. SAC Relays (Walnut, Calif.), 10 a.m./1:30 p.m./10 a.m./9 a.m. PDT
Fri-Sat., April 19-20 -- at EMU Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 2 p.m./10 a.m.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423