Week 15: Michigan to Begin Championship Season at Big Tens
MGOBLUE Ali Arastu
MGOBLUE
Ali Arastu
MGOBLUE

May 7, 2013

THIS WEEKEND
Fri-Sun., May 10-12 -- at Big Ten Outdoor Championships (Columbus, Ohio), Noon/9:30 a.m./11 a.m.

Coverage: Big Ten Championships Central | Live Results
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The University of Michigan men's track and field team will begin the championship portion of its season at the Big Ten Championships, which will be hosted by Ohio State University from Friday to Sunday (May 10-12). Action will begin on Friday at noon and resume again on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Championships on BTN -- The Big Ten Outdoor Championships will be aired on the Big Ten Network on May 19 at 1 p.m.

WOLVERINES IN ACTION
Scotty Albaugh, Bobby Aprill, Ali Arastu, Mark Beams, Brendon Blacklaws, Erik Braun, Stephen Burk, Matthew Campbell, Nate Chapman, Justin Clarke, Ethan Dennis, Mason Ferlic, Erick Gavin, Bradley James, Nathan Karr, Zac Miklja, Codie Nolan, Zach Ornelas, August Pappas, Ben Reed, Kurt Reichenbach, Cody Riffle, Garrick Roemer, Jeff Sattler, Derek Sievers, Troy Sneller, Aaron Taylor, James Vincent, Herman Washington, Philip Washington, Antonio Whitfield, James Yau.

WOLVERINE BITES

• Michigan has won 31 Big Ten team titles in program history, with the last coming in 2008. The Maize and Blue won the conference crown with 129 points that year. Since Michigan began competing in the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in 1901, the Wolverines have won 314 individual-event and relay titles.

• With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference in 2011, the championship meet includes 11 teams as Northwestern does not have a track and field program.

• Wisconsin, which hosted the 2012 outdoor conference meet, captured the Big Ten title with 121 points. The Wolverines finished ninth a year ago with 50 points.

• The Big Ten Championships mark the last remaining opportunity for Michigan student-athletes to record regional qualifying times/marks before the fields for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds are announced next week.

• Fifth-year senior Kurt Reichenbach (Brighton, Mich./Pinckney Community) will compete in his second full decathlon of the season with five events taking place on both Friday (100m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m) and Saturday (110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, 1,500m). He finished 11th a year ago with a career-best 7,107 points.

• Junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) finished runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles a year ago with a career-best time of 49.43, which met the 'A' standard for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

• Senior/junior Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) finished second in the hammer throw at the 2012 Big Ten Championships, earning All-Big Ten second team honors. He ranks third in the hammer heading into the conference meet.

• Junior Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) took seventh in the 110-meter hurdles in 2011 but did not finish the preliminary race a year ago after falling over a hurdle. He ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a personal-best time of 13.82.

• Sophomore/freshmen Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy) ran his first collegiate 3,000-meter steeplechase last Friday (May 3) at the Toledo Invitational, winning the race with a time of 8:51.55, which ranks second in the Big Ten. He will make his Big Ten Championships debut in the steeple on Saturday evening. Senior Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge), who finished 14th in the steeple last year, will also join Ferlic in the race.

• Michigan's 4x100-meter relay clocked the third-fastest time in program history at 40.25 last Friday (May 3) at the Toledo Invitational. Their time currently ranks fourth in the Big Ten standings. The four-man group consists of sophomore/freshman Codie Nolan (Morenci, Mich./Adrian), fifth-year senior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester), senior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and junior Justin Clarke (Flint, Mich./Southwestern).

• Heading into the Big Ten Championships, Michigan has seven student-athletes, as well as the 4x100-meter relay, ranked in the top eight in the Big Ten in their respective events (the top eight score at the conference meet).

Bobby Aprill -- 5,000m (6th, 13:49.67)
Mark Beams -- 10,000m (5th, 29:36.49)
Herman Washington -- 110m Hurdles (4th, 13.82)
Ali Arastu -- 400m Hurdles (7th, 51.61)
Mason Ferlic -- 3,000m Steeple (2nd, 8:51.55)
Nolan, Campbell, Taylor, Clarke -- 4x100m Relay (4th, 40.25)
Cody Riffle -- Shot Put (3rd, 61-8.25 ft.)
Ethan Dennis -- Hammer Throw (3rd, 213-2 ft.)

WOLVERINE IN THE RECORD BOOK
There are currently seven student-athletes and one relay that rank in the top five on Michigan's all-time outdoor performance list in at least one event.

Ethan Dennis (hammer throw, 213-2) and Cody Riffle (shot put, 61-3.5) each hold school records in their respective events. Dennis originally set the hammer record in 2012 (205-10.5) but increased it to 213-2 at the Mt. SAC Relays (April 19). 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 (April 6).

NameEventRankTime/Mark
Herman Washington110m Hurdles5th13.82
Ali Arastu400m Hurdles2nd49.43
Cody RiffleShot Put1st61-3.5 ft.
Cody RiffleDiscus5th179-6 ft.
Ethan DennisHammer Throw1st213-2 ft.
Brad BoltonHammer Throw3rd197-8 ft.
Stephen BurkJavelin3rd197-2 ft.
Kurt ReichenbachDecathlon3rd7,107 points
4x400m Relay3rd3:06.15

2013 NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING -- For the fourth consecutive season, the NCAA East and West Preliminary Rounds 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 hosted by North Carolina A&T State University from May 23-25, in Greensboro, N.C.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

A. Arastu Ali Arastu
Junior
Hurdles
Northville, Mich.

On the atmosphere of the Big Ten meet ... "What I did last year was definitely a huge confidence boost. I went to all those other meets last year, like the U.S. Olympic Trials and NACAC U-23 Championships, so I wouldn't say the hype is as big. I'm going to get there and I'm going to be as nervous, but I'm going to be more confident and can use those meets to my advantage."

On trying to break 50 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles ... "Even though all the hype of the Big Ten is still there, going in I'm definitely more confident, but when I hit the line I'll still have those nerves. The competition is going to be there and the different opponents -- I know a lot of those guys and I'm going to know that the guy that got me last year will be there. If it does happen, I think it will be at Big Tens, and hopefully at other postseason meets after that too."

On team and individual goals for the Big Ten Championships ... "Individually, I want to win the 400-meter hurdles -- that's been my goal since my freshman year and I came close last year. Me and all my teammates are so capable of hitting the podium and we've been getting a lot of fourth and fifth place finishes at these meets. If we push a little harder and get those first, second and thirds, everyone will get some hardware, and we'll get more points to help our team score."

On the 4x400-meter relay ... "Our personnel has been the same all year, but because of bumps and bruises, we haven't been able to put the team together at any meet. I feel like at Big Tens, the competition will improve, there will be really good guys there, and if we're going to put up a good time, it's going to be there with our 'A' team."

On being done with classes and his summer plans ... "It's different to have just track because it's the first time it's been like this. Coach LaPlante actually told me to try and relax a little bit this year. Finals just ended and there's a lot more free time and honestly I don't like it because I like to keep busy. It' another thing I'll have to adapt to -- maybe I'll get a job or do something. I don't like having nothing to do all day, but I'll figure it out. My summer will be much more relaxed. My other sister is getting married, but it's going to be in August. Everything is still going to be happening, but I'll have a little more time to commit to all my goals and aspirations."

A LOOK AHEAD
Thu-Sat., May 23-25
-- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Greensboro, N.C.)
Wed-Sat., June 5-8 -- at NCAA Championships (Eugene, Ore.)

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423