Wolverines Set to Compete at Jesse Owens Classic
Ben Hill

April 19, 2017

» After a successful weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays, All-Americans Ned Willig and Brennan Munley lead the distance corps back into action at either 800 or 1,500 meters.
» Roland Amarteifio headlines the sprinters after setting career bests in both hurdles events over the past two meets.
» Pole vaulter Kevin Haughn is back in action a week after winning the Don Kleinow Invitational pole vault.

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Fri-Sat., April 21-22 -- at Jesse Owens Classic (Columbus, Ohio), 8:40 p.m./10 a.m.
Meet Information | Live Results

With final exams on the docket for the next week followed by the last big push of the outdoor track and field regular season, only a select group of men from the University of Michigan will compete Friday and Saturday (April 21-22) at the Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic.

All-America distance runners Ned Willig and Brennan Munley headline a group of 15 sprinters, distance runners and jumpers that will take on some of the region's top competitors on the grounds of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Willig is part of the group that kicks off the weekend for the Wolverines on Friday at 8:40 p.m., competing at 1,500 meters in their lone event of the day with Munley, Ben Hill, Anthony Berry, Keenan Rebera and Garrett McPeek.

Willig, Munley, Hill and Berry are all coming off strong performances at the Mt. SAC Relays this past weekend in California at this same distance. Willig was eighth overall in the invitational section in 3:45.65, while Hill was fourth in the open section in a career-best 3:46.97. Berry also cracked the 1:50 barrier in 3:47.83 as he won his heat, while Munley ran 1:48.71 at 800 meters in the fastest heat of the open 800.

Pole vaulters Kevin Haughn and Nick Burkhalter get Saturday's action going with at 10 a.m. The duo is coming off a 1-2 finish at the Siena Heights Don Kleinow Invitational in which Haughn took the event title and Burkhalter tied his outdoor career best at 4.70m (15-5).

They will be followed closely by Alex Klemm and Max Wagner in the high jump at 11 a.m. Wagner is coming off a career-best 2.02m (6-7.5) at Texas this past weekend, while Klemm cleared 2.05m (6-8.75) at the Battle of the Blues earlier this season.

Saturday's competition on the track for U-M begins at 12:40 p.m. with the 110-meter hurdles -- the first of two hurdle events for Roland Amarteifio, along with the 400-meter race at 3:30 p.m. The freshman ran a career-best 14.69 in his most-recent go at the 110 hurdles at the Battle of the Blues and has run progressively faster in all three of his 400 hurdles races so far this year.

Desmond Melson is slated for the flat 400 meters at 1:35 p.m., looking to match or surpass outdoors the 47.89 he ran indoors at the Big Ten Championships this past February.

Desmond Nicholas and Stephen Hagen will contest the 100-meter competition later in the afternoon at 2:15 p.m. Nicholas has broken the 11-second barrier in all three of his meets this year -- topping out so far at 10.77 -- while Hagen has run a wind-aided 10.90 from this past weekend.

At 3 p.m., Matt Plowman will attempt to set a career best in back-to-back races at 800 meters. He ran a lifetime-record 1:51.97 over this distance at the Battle of the Blues at the beginning of the month.

Melson, Nicholas and Hagen are all scheduled to double back at 4 p.m. to race at 200 meters.

News & Notes

• After trips to Texas and California this past weekend, the Wolverines have 10 performances ranked top 50 in the nation so far this year, including three in the top 15. Sprinters, hurdlers, distance runners and throwers are all represented.

Name Event Rank
Joe Ellis Hammer #13
Taylor McLaughlin 400 Hurdles #13
Connor Mora Steeplechase #13
Stephen Burk Javelin #22
Brennan Munley 800m #29
Andrew Liskowitz Shot Put #30
Grant Cartwright Discus #33
Grant Cartwright Shot Put #39
Grant Cartwright Hammer #42
Khoury Crenshaw 100m #44

Grant Cartwright is one of just three throwers in the nation ranked top-50 in the shot put, discus throw and hammer throw. Furthermore, he is one of two men in the nation who have thrown farther than 18 meters in the shot put and 55 meters in the discus.

• The Wolverines are in position to send a big contingent to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds on May 25-27 in Lexington, Kentucky, in hopes of qualifying to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June in Eugene, Oregon. Seventeen performances are currently ranked in the top 48 in the East Region, which is the cut-off to make the meet. The top 12 finishers in each event at the Prelims advance to Eugene.

Name Event Rank
Taylor McLaughlin 400 Hurdles #6
Connor Mora Steeplechase #7
Joe Ellis Hammer #10
Stephen Burk Javelin #12
Andrew Liskowitz Shot Put #14
Micah Beller 5000m #16
Grant Cartwright Discus #16
Brennan Munley 800m #17
Grant Cartwright Shot Put #17
Khoury Crenshaw 100m #20
Steven Bastien Long Jump #21
Austin Benoit 3000 Steeple #24
Grant Cartwright Hammer #24
Ned Willig 1500m #31
Aaron Baumgarten 10,000m #46
Ben Hill 1500m #47
Isaac Harding 5000m #47

• The Wolverines return 60.5 points from the 90.5 scored by last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships runner-up team, headlined by reigning 400-meter hurdles winner McLaughlin and defending 10,000-meter champ Ben Flanagan. The Wolverines also return big points from 3,000-meter steeplechase runner-up Connor Mora and decathlon runner-up decathlete Steven Bastien.

• Leading the Wolverines' newcomers is mid-distance runner Ned Willig, a graduate transfer from Brown set to make an impact in his final semester of collegiate eligibility. Willig was the fastest of the Wolverines' three sub-four-minute milers from this past indoor season, and was a second-team All-American in the mile at the NCAA indoor Championships.

• The Wolverines' roster features 17 true freshmen -- and four more redshirt freshmen -- for the 2017 outdoor season, including eight who represented the block M at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

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