Weekly #17: Nine Wolverines, Relay to Participate at NCAA East Prelims
MGOBLUE Ali Arastu
MGOBLUE
Ali Arastu
MGOBLUE

May 22, 2012

THIS WEEKEND
Thu-Sat., May 24-26
-- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Jacksonville, Fla.), 11 a.m.
Live Results/Live Video | Ticket Information | Entry List

The University of Michigan men's track and field team will continue its postseason run at the 2012 NCAA East Preliminary Rounds from Thursday-Saturday (May 24-26) at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. Nine individuals and the 4x400-meter relay with represent the Maize and Blue. Competition will begin each day at 11 a.m. at UNF's Hodges Stadium.

The top 48 athletes in both the East and West regions in each event (in descending order) qualified for the meet. The athletes 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. The west regional will be held at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. This year's national meet will be held June 6-9 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

WOLVERINE BITES

Michigan's qualifiers, with event, seed and time/mark:
Philip Washington - 400m (40th, 47.17)
Craig Forys - 3,000m Steeplechase (1st, 8:28.90); 5,000m (15th, 13:52.14)
Zach Ornelas - 3,000m Steeplechase (32nd, 8:59.57)
Morsi Rayyan - 10,000m (37th, 29:43.44)
Herman Washington - 110m Hurdles (37th, 14.12)
Ali Arastu - 400m Hurdles (1st, 49.43)
Jack Greenlee - Pole Vault (18th, 5.26m)
Ethan Dennis - Hammer Throw (16th, 62.75m)
Brad Bolton - Hammer Throw (28th, 60.25m)
4x400m Relay (7th, 3:06.27)

Setting the Scene -- UNF's Hodges Stadium features a nine-lane Olympic quality track with Mondotrack SX surface. All field event areas are within the stadium, including four horizontal jump pits, eight pole vault locations and multiple areas for each throwing event. To round out the package, the facility includes a full 400-meter, three-lane warm-up track. The facility has a maximum capacity of 9,400. [ Facility Records ]

Five other teams from the Big Ten Conference will join Michigan at the East Preliminary Rounds, including three who are ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I top 25 -- No. 3 Indiana, No. 19 Penn State and No. 25 Ohio State. Michigan State and Purdue round out the Big Ten schools in the region.

U-M In the Rankings -- Michigan's performance at the Big Ten Outdoor Championship boosted it 39 spots to No. 31 in the USTFCCCA Division l national team rankings, which were released after the conference meet on Tuesday, May 15. In the most-recent poll released on Monday (May 21), the Wolverines are ranked No. 32 heading into the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds.

ATHLETE BREAKDOWN

Philip Washington • Freshman • 400m Dash • (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield)
In his Big Ten Outdoor Championship debut, Washington qualified for the finals in the 400-meter run, where he finished seventh with a personal-best time of 47.17. He also ran the second leg of the 4x400-meter relay, which placed fifth with a season-best time of 3:06.27.

Craig Forys • Fifth-Year Senior • 3,000m Steeplechase/5,000m Run • (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck)
Forys won the 2012 Big Ten 3,000-meter steeplechase title with a personal-best time of 8:28.90, earning All-Big Ten first team honors. His time met the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standard and is tied for second on the all-time performance list at Michigan. The mark also set a new Big Ten meet and facility record at Wisconsin's McClimon Complex. Forys followed with a third-place finish in the 5,000-meter run to appear on the podium for the second time in as many days. His time of 13:52.49 was just 0.35 seconds shy of his personal record, which he set at the William & Mary Colonial Relays on April 6. At last year's regional meet, Forys took 10th in the steeplechase and went on to place ninth at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America second team honors.

Zach Ornelas • Junior • 3,000m Steeplechase • (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge)
Ornelas recorded his personal-best steeplechase time of 8:59.57 en route to a winning effort at the USC Trojan Invitational on March 24. In his third steeplechase performance of the season, he finished 14th at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships (9:02.03).

Morsi Rayyan • Sophomore • 10,000m Run • (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns)
Rayyan only competed in the 10,000-meter run once during the 2012 outdoor season. He recorded a personal-best time of 29:43.44 to finish third at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 19. At the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Rayyan competed in the 5,000-meter run, placing 10th with a time of 14:16.01 -- a nine-spot improvement from the 2011 outdoor conference meet.

Herman Washington • Sophomore • 110m Hurdles • (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln)
Washington recorded a lifetime-best of 14.12 in the 110-meter hurdles to win the event at the Len Paddock Invitational on May 4. At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, he had an unfortunate fall in the prelims and could not finish the race. As a freshman in 2011, Washington qualified for the regional meet and placed 33rd with a time of 14.50.

Ali Arastu • Sophomore • 400m Hurdles • (Northville, Mich./Northville)
At the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Arastu registered a runner-up performance in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 49.43, earning All-Big Ten second team honors. His time met the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standard and ranks second on the all-time performance list at Michigan. At the conference meet, he also anchored the 4x400-meter relay, which placed fifth with a season-best time of 3:06.27. As a freshman, Arastu finished sixth in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2011 regional meet and went on to place 24th at the NCAA Championships, garnering All-America honorable mention.

Jack Greenlee • Junior • Pole Vault • (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier)
Greenlee won the 2012 Big Ten outdoor pole vault title, clearing a personal-best height of 5.26 meters (17-3) to earn All-Big Ten first team honors. He improved six spots from the 2011 conference meet, where he tied for seventh place (4.95m, 16-2.75). At the 2011 NCAA East Prelims, he tied for 16th place (5.05m, 16-6.75).

Ethan Dennis • Junior/Sophomore • Hammer Throw • (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville)
Dennis recorded a runner-up performance in the hammer throw at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a toss of 62.71 meters (205-9) -- a five-spot improvement from the 2011 conference meet. Earlier in the season, he set a new school record of 62.75 meters (205-10.50) at the Spec Towns Invitational on April 13. Dennis qualified for the NCAA East Prelims in 2011 but was unable to record a mark and did not place.

Brad Bolton • Freshman • Weight Throw • (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro)
In his Big Ten Outdoor Championship debut, Bolton qualified for the finals in the hammer throw, where he finished ninth with a toss of 59.65 meters (195-8). His personal-best mark of 60.25 meters (197-8) came at Penn Relays, where he won the college division.

4x400-meter Relay
Nine different individuals have competed on the 4x400-meter relay team this season for Michigan. At the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, the lineup consisted of senior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), Philip Washington, senior/junior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester) and Arastu. The relay clocked a season-best time of 3:06.27 to place fifth at the conference meet.

During the 2012 indoor season, the relay team of Neuman, 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.

Familiar Scene -- This will mark the second consecutive trip to the regional meet for Forys, Arastu, Herman Washington, Greenlee and Dennis. Arastu, senior/junior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester) and senior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) will also represent U-M in the 4x400-meter relay for the second year in a row.

Live Webcast -- The University of North Florida will provide a live webcast of the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. [ Watch ]

Last Time on the Track: Big Ten Outdoor Championships -- Michigan came away from the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with two individual champions and a ninth-place finish. Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) ran the fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time in the nation this season to win the event in a personal-best time of 8:28.90. His time set a new meet and facility record and met the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standard. Junior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) captured the pole vault title, clearing a personal-best height of 5.26 meters (17-3). Both athletes garnered All-Big Ten first team honors.

Junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) and sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) each earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team for their runner-up performances. Dennis finished second in the hammer throw with a toss of 62.71 meters (205-9), while Arastu took second in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 49.43. His time was the third best recorded in the nation this season and met the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standard. [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One l Day Two l Day Three :: Michigan Daily ]

Best of the Best -- Two Michigan athletes are leading the east region in their respective events heading into the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Forys' steeplechase time of 8:28.90 not only leads the region but tops the nation as well. Arastu's 400-meter hurdle time of 49.43 ranks first in the east region and third in the nation. Both athletes recorded lifetime-best times at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, also meeting the U.S. Olympic Trials automatic 'A' standards.

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 on 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), registered at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Dennis has won the hammer throw at three meets this outdoor season, including the Colonial Relays, Mt. SAC Relays and the Len Paddock Invitational.

Personal Improvement -- Eight Wolverines recorded new personal-best marks at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. After seven meets this outdoor season, 23 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with 10 improving in at least two events. Each of the regional-qualifying athletes has set a new personal record in their respective event this outdoor season.

Early Success -- Michigan will send two freshmen to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Philip Washington will compete in the 400-meter dash, while Brad Bolton will participate in the hammer throw. In 2011, three of the 13 regional qualifiers were freshmen, including Arastu and Herman Washington, who will make return appearances this season. Sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) qualified in the shot put and discus last season as a rookie but redshirted during the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons due to an injury.

GET SOCIAL
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.

A LOOK AHEAD
Wed-Sat., June 6-9 -- at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa), Noon/11:30 a.m./3 p.m./11:30 a.m. CDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423

   

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