Weekly #13: U-M to Make Second Trip to West Coast for Mt. SAC Relays
Jack Greenlee

April 18, 2012

Talking Track with Ethan Dennis (Facebook)

Thu-Fri., April 19-20
-- at Mt. SAC Relays (Walnut, Calif.), 2 p.m./10 a.m. PDT
Live Results | Event Schedule

For the second time this season, the University of Michigan men's track and field team will travel to California, this time to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday and Friday (April 19-20). Action will begin on Thursday at 2 p.m. PDT and resume again on Friday at 10 a.m. PDT at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College.


Athletes in Action this Weekend -- Ali Arastu, Mark Beams, Brendon Blacklaws, Matthew Campbell, Ethan Dennis, Austin DeWildt, Scott Dvorak, Jack Greenlee, Nick Neuman, Eric Oliver, Zach Ornelas, Morsi Rayyan, Troy Sneller, Herman Washington and Philip Washington.

Setting the Scene -- The meet will be held at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. The stadium features a polyurethan tartan track with nine 44-inch lanes [ Facility Information ]. Michigan last competed at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2004. The Wolverines also appeared in the meet in 2002 and 2001.

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/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville), junior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and senior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East).

At the Georgia Spec Towns Invitational, Dennis set a new school record in the hammer throw of 62.75 meters (205-10.50) to finish third overall. His mark moved him into fourth place in the Big Ten. Greenlee placed third in the pole vault, clearing a lifetime-best height of 5.21 meters (17-1), which ranks third in the Big Ten. Neuman ran the first leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay that ran a season best and the fifth-best Big Ten time of 3:09.28. He also led off the 4x100-meter relay, which placed fourth in 41.27.

Rewriting the Record Book -- Junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) set a new school record in the hammer throw on Friday (April 13) at the Georgia Spec Towns Invitational. His lifetime-best throw of 62.75 meters (205-10.75) broke the previous record of 62.50 meters (204-5) set by Sean Pruitt in 2009. Dennis has already surpassed his season-best throw from 2011 by nearly 10 feet (59.75 meters, 196-0), which he registered at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Mixing up the Relay -- Nine different athletes have competed on the 4x400-meter relay team in the first three meets of the outdoor season. At the Georgia Spec Towns Invitational last weekend, the Wolverines ran a season-best time of 3:09.28 to win the event; the mark ranks fifth in the Big Ten. The relay was made up of senior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and sophomore Eric Oliver (Berkeley, Calif./Homewood-Flossmoor [Ill.]).

During the 2012 indoor season, the relay team of Neuman, sophomore/freshman Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center), Taylor and Arastu ran a season-best time of 3:07.75 to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Indoor Championships. All four members of the squad earned All-America second team honors.

Last Time on the Track: Michigan recorded three winning performances and eight new individual personal-best marks at the Georgia Spec Towns Invitational (April 12-14). On the track, junior Dallas North (Hastings, New Zealand/Nelson College) won the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:55.35, while sophomore Erick Gavin (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic) finished first in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.31. The 4x400-meter relay also took first in a season-best time of 3:09.28. Junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) highlighted the field events, setting a new school record in the weight throw with a lifetime-best toss of 62.75 meters (205-10.50). [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two | Day Three ]

Relays Galore -- At the William & Mary Colonial Relays (April 6-7), Michigan competed in six different relay events. The Wolverines took first in the sprint medley relay and finished runner up in the other five relays, including the 4x100-, 4x200-, 4x1500-, 4x400-meter and distance medley relays. The 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays are the only two events contested at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Eleven different athletes got the opportunity to compete on at least one relay team at the meet. Michigan registered 52 of its 167 total team points during the relay events.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Several Michigan track and field athletes rank among the top 10 in the Big Ten with three meets remaining until the conference meet.

Name Event Time/Mark Rank
Justin Clarke (So.) 100m Dash 10.59 7
Brendon Blacklaws (Jr.) 1,500m Run 3:46.81 9
Craig Forys (R-Sr.) 5,000m Run 13:52.14 3
Morsi Rayyan (So.) 5,000m Run 13:57.34 6
Erick Gavin (So.) 110m Hurdles 14.31 7
Herman Washington (So.) 110m Hurdles 14.42 10
Ali Arastu (So.) 400m Hurdles 51.41 2
Zach Ornelas (Jr.) 3,000m Steeple 8:59.57 4
Nick Neuman, Ali Arastu,
Aaron Taylor, Michael Parker Jr.
4x400m Relay 3:09.28 5
Jack Greenlee (Jr.) Pole Vault 17-1 ft. 3
Ethan Dennis (R-So.) Hammer Throw 205-10.50 ft. 3
Joe Strizich (Sr.) Javelin 188-0 ft. 7
Kurt Reichenbach (R-Jr.) Decathlon 6,166 4

Best of the Best -- Three Michigan athletes rank among the top 25 in the nation in their respective events. Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) holds the 19th-best time in the country in the 5,000-meter run with his lifetime-best of 13:52.14. In the hammer throw, junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) school-record setting throw of 62.75 meters (205-10.50) ranks 20th in the NCAA. Sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) owns the 23rd-best time in the country in the 400-meter hurdles. His season-best time of 51.41 is just 0.51 seconds off his career-best time of 50.90, which he set last year at the NCAA East Preliminary Round.

Personal Improvement -- Sixteen Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with five improving in at least two events. During the 2012 indoor season, 36 student-athletes recorded new PRs.

In the Rankings -- Michigan is ranked No. 5 in the third Great Lakes Region poll released Tuesday (April 17) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). U-M is one of six Big Ten schools in the Great Lakes Region, including No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan State, and No. 13 Purdue.

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.

At the Colonial Relays (April 6), sophomore/freshman Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) ran the 5,000-meter run in his outdoor collegiate debut. Three Wolverine freshmen made their collegiate outdoor debuts at the Trojan Invitational -- Brad Bolton (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro), Scott Dvorak (Westmont, Ill./Westmont) and Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield). Redshirt freshmen Justin Gaumer (Holly, Mich./Holly) and James Yau (Troy, Mich./Troy) all competed for U-M in their first collegiate outdoor meet at USC.

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, returned to the field for his final outdoor season at the USC Trojan Invitational on March 31. He finished second in the long jump in his outdoor season debut. Peddlar is the only current Wolverine to have won an individual Big Ten title as he won the Big Ten indoor long jump in 2010.

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's 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.

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.

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.

Thu-Sat., April 26-28 -- at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.), 5 p.m./10 a.m.

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423