June 6, 2011
Freshman Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) and redshirt junior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) will represent the University of Michigan men's track and field team this week at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships, held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Both men will run in the preliminaries on Wednesday (June 8). Forys is up first, running in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 7:45 p.m. CDT. Arastu will run in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at 8:30 p.m. CDT. Both men need to finish inside the top eight in the semifinals to qualify for the finals, which will be held on Friday (June 10) -- 400-meter intermediate hurdles at 6:45 p.m and 3,000-meter steeplechase at 7:30 p.m.
How They Got There
Ali Arastu -- Arastu finished sixth in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the NCAA East Region Preliminaries on May 27, making him the first U-M freshman since Mike Woods (2005) to qualify for the national meet. Arastu ran the quarterfinals race in 50.90 -- a career-best time -- and more than one-and-a-half seconds faster than his time in the preliminaries (52.43) from the previous day.
Of the 24 competitors in the event, Arastu and Nebraska's Miles Ukaoma are the only freshmen. Arastu is also the second straight Wolverine to run the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the NCAA Championships, following Carl Buchanon from last season. Arastu is seeded 21st in the race.
[ Video: Arastu Ready for NCAA Meet (June 2) ]
Craig Forys -- Forys finished 10th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA East Region Preliminaries on May 27, running a career-best time of 8:44.92. He is seeded 13th in the race.
[ Video: Forys Speaks on NCAAs (June 6) ]
He, along with Arastu, is making his first career appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Michigan at the NCAA Championships
As one of the most storied track and field programs in history, Michigan athletes have excelled on the national level with 45 total NCAA titles, 34 of which have come outdoors. Former Wolverine Andrew Ellerton (2004-07) was the last to wear the Maize and Blue and capture an individual crown at the NCAA Championships, winning the 800-meter run in 2007.
Prior to last season, Michigan had a streak of getting at least one outdoor All-American since 2002:
2002 -- Nate Brannen (800m Run), Alan Webb (1,500m Run), Mike Wisniewski (10,000m Run)
2003 -- Nate Brannen (800m Run)
2004 -- Andrew Ellerton (800m Run)
2005 -- Andrew Ellerton (800m Run), Nick Willis (5,000m Run)
2006 -- Michael Whitehead (Triple Jump)
2007 -- Andrew Ellerton (800m Run), Jeff Porter (110m Hurdles),
2008 -- Andre Barnes (4x400m Relay), Andrew Wechter (4x400m Relay), Dan Harmsen (4x400m Relay), Stann Waithe (4x400m Relay)
2009 -- Adam Harris (100m Dash)
The Wolverines finished in a tie for 48th place at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships, getting two points from Adam Harris(2006-09) in the 100-meter dash (seventh place).
400-meter Intermediate Hurdles
Champions (2): Robert Osgood (1936), Neil Gardner (1996)
All-Americans (6): Don Cooper (1928), Robert Osgood (1936), Dick Cephas (1960, 1961), Neil Gardner (1996, 1997)
Champions (1): Brian Diemer (1983)
All-Americans (8): Bill Hickman (1952), Geert Keilstrup (1956), Dave Martin (1961), Greg Meyer (1976), Dan Heikkinen (1980), Brian Diemer (1983), John Mortimer (1997, 1998)
Beginning with the 2011 indoor season, USTFCCCA All-America honors will be assigned into first and second teams for all events, both individual and relays. Those individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point at the NCAA Championships will earn USTFCCCA first team All-America honors. The individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall will earn USTFCCCA second team All-America honors. Those who participate in at least a round of the finals site for an NCAA Championship will be listed as All-America honorable mention.
Last Year at NCAA Outdoor Championships
The Wolverines were represented by three at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., last season. Carl Buchanon finished 12th in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, Frank Shotwell was 14th in the decathlon, and Lex Williams was 22nd in the 10,000-meter run.
Michigan did not score any team points.
Head coach Fred LaPlante is in his third season at the helm of the Wolverines and is joined by two new assistant coaches and three new volunteer assistants. Alex Gibby, the head coach of the men's cross country team, will oversee the distance runners. Gibby was hired last summer from William & Mary to replace former men's track and field head coach Ron Warhurst, who retired after an illustrious 36-year coaching career at Michigan. The other assistant is Mohamad Saatara, oversees the field events in his first year after coming over from Northern Arizona.
Volunteer assistants Christo Landry and Colin Leak, former distance runners under Gibby at William & Mary, work under Gibby in the distance group. Shean Conlon (pole vault) is also new, while former volunteer assistant Tiberia Patterson re-joins the staff and will assist laplante with the sprints/hurdles group.
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Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423