ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's track and field head coach Jerry Clayton announced today (Monday, Dec. 15) the signing of Ben Hill and Brandon Piwinski to National Letters of Intent for the early signing period. The duo will compete for U-M track and field and/or cross country starting in the 2015-16 season.
"We are very excited to welcome Brandon and Ben into our program," said Clayton, "Both of these athletes are going to help us immediately, and of course we want to put a priority on Michigan athletes, which we were able to do by securing these commitments. We feel they have certainly met all the criteria that we look for, primarily in the classroom. They understand what Michigan offers academically as well as the opportunities that will be presented to them athletically.
"We always want to remain strong in the distance events, so we are really excited about adding Ben to the program," continued Clayton, "He's more in the middle-mile range, yet he can still contribute greatly to cross country and that is the direction we want to move in. The high jump is an event area that has not been as strong in recent years, both at the Big Ten and national levels, so to add someone with Brandon's abilities in that area will be a great help to us. I feel that before the end of (his senior) year, Brandon is going to have one of the top three jumps in the nation."
Brandon Piwinski -- Harrison Township, Mich. -- De La Salle Collegiate -- High Jump -- Long Jump
A three-year varsity track competitor, Piwinski has been recognized as one of the premier high jumpers in the country, and opted to keep his talents in-state after pursuit from several national powers. Last year as a junior, Piwinski swept the high jump competition in all major meets, securing first place in the league, county and regional meets on his way to a state championship in the event.
Piwinski cleared 6 feet, 10 inches in the state meet to claim the outdoor title in 2014, and also qualified for the meet as a sophomore in 2013. His state-championship jump came just weeks after setting a school record by clearing 7 feet and one-quarter inch at the Macomb County meet, which also broke a 35-year-old county record held by his father, Paul. He was awarded with Field Events Team MVP recognition for his accomplishments.
His 2014 outdoor Class A State Championship came on the heels of a fourth-place performance during the indoor season, which earned him All-State recognition. Piwinski would go on to finish ninth at the National High School Outdoor Championship last summer.
Off the track, Brandon is very active. He kicks and punts for the Purple Pilot Football team, which won the 2014 Michigan State Class 2 Championship. He has three varsity letters in soccer, and captained the team as a senior this past fall while also competing on the De La Salle Varsity Diving Team, where he qualified as a state finalist this year. In his free time, he is a competitive wake boarder and also snowboards and skis in the winter.
Piwinski excels in the classroom too, as evidenced by his inclusion on De La Salle's Principal's List for each of his final three years at the school, an honor awarded to students with a 3.5 GPA or higher. He is also a member of the Michigan High School Sportsmanship Association. Brandon's father Paul was a former standout high-jumper at Cousino High School in Warren, Mich., and earned All-American honors twice at Michigan State in the early 1980's.
High Jump: 7-0.25 (outdoor)
Long Jump: 20-0 (outdoor)
Ben Hill -- Royal Oak, Mich. -- Royal Oak High School -- Distance -- Middle Distance
As a mid-distance and distance specialist, Hill was a force in his home state throughout his high school career. He holds school records in the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter in track and at the 5K distance in cross country.
Hill is a two-time captain in cross and a three-time All-State competitor, finishing 28th, 10th and third in his first three years at the state meet before an injury kept him from competing this year. Dating to his junior season, he earned victories in 11 of his final 13 high school races and he set a meet record at the 2013 Oakland County Championships with his time of 15:35. Hill is also a two-time Regional Champion, from his sophomore and junior seasons, and earned Team MVP honors all four years as a Royal Oak Raven.
On the track, Hill is a three-time All-State honoree in the 3,200, where he has been back-to-back runner-up at the state meet. He also garnered All-State recognition in the 4x800-meter relay last spring. His 1:54.19 3,200-meter relay split in the 800 helped his Royal Oak Ravens to sixth in the state in the event last year. An Oakland County Champion in the 1,600-meter as a junior, Hill has earned Team MVP honors in each of his three completed seasons so far.
Off the track, Hill has many interests, including music. He plays guitar and piano, and has been involved with the A Capella Choir at Royal Oak since his freshman year. As a senior, Hill earned the opportunity to be student director of the concert choir. He has played on the soccer and basketball teams at Royal Oak as well.
Academically, Hill has been an Honor Roll student in each semester of high school. He has been Academic All-State twice in cross country, and three times in track. A two-year National Honor Society member, he was this year's recipient of the Royal Oak Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Award. In addition, he was named an OAA Scholar Athlete (4x in XC; 3x in track) and earning Academic All-Conference recognition each year in both sports.
800 meters: 1:57.92
1,500 meters: 3:54.40
1,600 meters: 4:15.10
3,000 meters: 8:27.59
3,200 meters: 9:06.89
Two mile: 9:08.66
5,000 meters: 15:06.00
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard (734) 764-4423