Weekly #15: Michigan to Hold 27th Annual Len Paddock Invitational

May 1, 2012

Temporary closures of the northbound lane of South State Street

Thu-Fri., May 3-4 -- Len Paddock Invitational (Ferry Field), 3 p.m./Noon
Meet Information | Live Results | Parking Map | Heat Sheet

The University of Michigan men's track and field team will host its only home meet of the outdoor season -- the Len Paddock Invitational on Thursday and Friday (May 3-4) at Ferry Field. The men's and women's hammer throw will be contested on Thursday starting at 3 p.m., while the remainder of the events will be held on Friday beginning at noon. The men's and women's 5,000-meter run, which was scheduled to begin on Friday at 9 a.m. has been cancelled.

Parking is free of charge and will be available starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday and all day on Friday. All fans are encouraged to park in SC-7 -- the Lower Blue Lot near Crisler Center.


Setting the Scene -- Michigan hosted the inaugural meet in 1986 to honor former U-M athletic trainer Len Paddock. Ferry Field has a permanent place in track and field history. As a collegian at Ohio State University, Jesse Owens set three world records and tied another as a sophomore at the 1935 Big Ten Conference Championships held at the University of Michigan facility. Described as the greatest day in track and field history, a plaque commemorating Owens' accomplishment stands at the southeast corner of Ferry Field.

Michigan will welcome teams from York, Central Michigan, Michigan State, Oakland University, Defiance, Windsor, Toronto and Eastern Michigan.

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 sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) and freshman Brad Bolton (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro). It marks the second consecutive weekly team honor for Arastu and first of the season for Bolton.

At the Penn Relays, Arastu was a member of the 4x400-meter relay team, which finished third in the collegiate division finals in a time of 3:11.17. Bolton won the college division of the hammer throw with a lifetime-best toss of 60.25 meters (197-8).

Mixing up the Relay -- Nine different athletes have competed on the 4x400-meter relay team in the first five meets of the outdoor season. At the Mt. SAC Relays (April 20), the Wolverines ran a season-best time of 3:08.88 to finish second in the event behind Minnesota; the mark currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten. The relay was made up of freshman Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville), senior/junior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester) and junior/sophomore Troy Sneller (Hamilton, Mich./Hamilton).

During the 2012 indoor season, the relay team of senior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), sophomore/freshman Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) 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: Penn Relays -- Freshman Brad Bolton (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) led Michigan at the Penn Relays (April 26-28), winning the college division of the hammer throw with a toss of 60.25 meters (197-8). Junior Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge) was just one second off his personal record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, running 9:00.85 to finish sixth. Michigan's distance medley relay, consisting of sophomore/freshman James Yau (Troy, Mich./Troy), freshman Scott Dvorak (Westmont, Ill./Westmont), junior Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) and junior Dallas North (Hastings, New Zealand/Nelson College), finished runner-up in the college division in a time of 9:56.90. The 4x400-meter relay team, which was comprised of senior/junior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville), sophomore Eric Oliver (Berkeley, Calif./Homewood-Flossmoor [Ill.]) and freshman Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield), placed third in the college division finals in 3:11.17.
[ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two | Day Three ]

Relays Galore -- At the William & Mary Colonial Relays, held 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- and 4x400-meter as well as the 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.

At the Penn Relays (April 26-28), Michigan competed in three different relay events -- the distance medley, the 4x400-meter and 4x800-meter relays. The DMR finished runner-up in the college division, while the 4x400-meter relay took third in the college division finals.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Several Michigan track and field athletes rank among the top 10 in the Big Ten with just one event remaining until the conference meet, which will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin from May 11-13.

Name Event Time/Mark Rank
Justin Clarke (So.) 100m Dash 10.59 8
Craig Forys (R-Sr.) 5,000m Run 13:52.14 6
Morsi Rayyan (So.) 5,000m Run 13:57.34 8
Morsi Rayyan (So.) 10,000m 29:43.44 6
Zach Ornelas (Jr.) 10,000m 29:46.30 7
Mark Beams (R-Fr.) 10,000m 30:04.80 10
Ali Arastu (So.) 400m Hurdles 50.54 2
Craig Forys (R-Sr.) 3,000m Steeple 8:44.59 5
Nick Neuman, Matthew Campbell, Aaron Taylor, Robert Peddlar 4x100m Relay 41.27 9
Philip Washington, Ali Arastu, Matthew Campbell, Eric Oliver 4x400m Relay 3:08.88 5
Jack Greenlee (Jr.) Pole Vault 17-1 ft. 4
Ethan Dennis (R-So.) Hammer Throw 205-10.50 ft. 4
Joe Strizich (Sr.) Javelin 188-0 ft. 8

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) ranks 10th in the NCAA in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with his time of 8:44.59, which he ran at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 19. After running a personal-best time of 50.54 in the 400-meter hurdles at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 20, sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) owns the eighth-best time in the country in the 400-meter hurdles. In the hammer throw, junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis' (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) school-record setting throw of 62.75 meters (205-10.50) ranks 24th in the NCAA.

Rewriting the Record Book -- Junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) set a new school record in the hammer throw at the Georgia Spec Towns Invitational, held April 13. 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); he registered that at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Personal Improvement -- Freshman Brad Bolton (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) threw a personal-best 60.25 meters (197-8) in the hammer throw to win the event at the Penn Relays last weekend. After five meets this outdoor season, 18 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with seven improving in at least two events. During the 2012 indoor season, 36 student-athletes recorded new PRs.

In the Rankings -- Michigan remained No. 4 in the fifth Great Lakes Region poll released Tuesday (May 1) 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 Wisconsin, No. 2 Indiana, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 8 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 on 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 USC Trojan Invitational, held March 23-24 -- 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) also 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.

Fri-Sun., May 11-13 -- at Big Ten Outdoor Championships (Madison, Wis.), 3 p.m./9 a.m./11 a.m. CDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423