June 4, 2012
• Interviews (Facebook): 4x400 Relay | Coach LaPlante
Wed-Sat., June 6-9 -- at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa), 8:15 p.m./7:25 p.m./5:35 p.m./11:52 a.m. CDT
• Live Results :: Live Video: NCAA.com (Wednesday) | ESPN3.com (Thu-Sat.)
• Championship Central | Ticket Information | Entry List | Event Brackets
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will be represented by two individuals, as well as its 4x400-meter relay, at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships from Wednesday-Saturday (June 6-9). This year's national meet will be held at Drake University's Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
At the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (May 24-26), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) qualified for the national meet in the 400-meter hurdles, while fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) earned his spot in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The 4x400-meter relay also earned the right to compete on the national stage. The relay consists of senior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams), senior/junior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester) and freshman Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield), as well as an alternate, sophomore/freshman Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center).
The entire event will be streamed live. Wednesday's events will be available via NCAA.com, with Thursday through Saturday on ESPN3.com. Saturday's events will also be televised on ESPNU in a window beginning at noon CDT.
Ali Arastu • Sophomore • 400m Hurdles • (Northville, Mich./Northville)
At the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, Arastu finished sixth in the 400-meter hurdles (50.44) to earn the 11th overall seed at the NCAA Championships. He 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 at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. 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 24th in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships, garnering All-American honorable mention.
Craig Forys • Fifth-Year Senior • 3,000m Steeplechase/5,000m Run • (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck)
Forys finished third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds to secure the No. 3 seed at the NCAA Championships. Prior to the regional meet, he won the 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. At last year's national meet, Forys took ninth in the steeplechase, earning All-America second team honors.
The only Wolverine to win a national title in the steeplechase is school-record holder Brian Diemer in 1983. Including Diemer, Michigan has had eight All-Americans in the steeplechase in program history.
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.
The last time a U-M 4x400-meter relay appeared at the NCAA Outdoor Championships was in 2008. Former Wolverines Andre Barnes, Andrew Wechter, Dan Harmsen and Stann Waithe recorded a school-record time of 3:04.43 in the prelims and went on to take fourth place in the finals (3:04.64). The four athletes each earned All-America honors for their efforts. Michigan has never won a national title in the 4x400-meter relay.
In the Record Book -- Arastu, Forys and the 4x400-meter relay each appear on Michigan's all-time outdoor performers list. Arastu ranks second all-time in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 49.43. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Forys is tied for second all-time with Dan Heikkinen (1977-81) with a time of 8:28.90. The 4x400-meter relay ranks third in program history with its time of 3:06.27, which it recorded at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (March 24-26).
Familiar Scene -- This will mark the second consecutive trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for Forys and Arastu. Last year's national meet was also hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. At last year's national meet, Arastu finished 24th in the 400-meter hurdles to earn All-America honorable mention. Forys earned a spot on the All-America second team after finishing ninth in the steeplechase.
Setting the Scene -- Drake Stadium was also the site of the 2008 and 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Jim Duncan Track, which was renovated in 2005, features a Mondo-surface with eight 48-inch lanes. New venues for the javelin, discus and hammer throws were also constructed behind the stadium as part of the 2005 renovations.
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.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423