Sprinters Lead Michigan to Team Title at Harvey Invitational

Sprinters Lead Michigan to Team Title at Harvey Invitational

Provided by U of M

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Indoor Track Building)

Event: Jack Harvey Invitational

Michigan Result: 1st of 4 Teams (176 points)

Next U-M Event: Saturday, Jan. 28 -- at Navy's Wesley A. Brown Invitational (Annapolis, Md.), 11 a.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team took first place at the Jack Harvey Invitational on Saturday (Jan. 21) in front of a home crowd of 1,168 fans at the U-M Indoor Track Building. The Wolverines won eight of the 15 events, including sweeping the sprinting events to secure the victory.

Michigan tallied 176 points in the win to defeat Central Michigan (160), Eastern Michigan (119) and Detroit-Mercy (78).

Sophomore Justin Clarke (Flint, Mich./Southwestern) topped his personal best from last weekend against Ohio State, finishing first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.12. Clarke also spearheaded U-M's one-two finish in the 60-meter dash, winning the event in a time of 6.90. Junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) crossed the line on Clarke's heels to finish second.

Freshman Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) had a strong showing, winning the 400-meter dash in a personal-best time of 49.16 and running the first leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay (3:17.61). Joining Washington in the relay were junior/sophomore Troy Sneller (Hamilton, Mich./Hamilton), sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) and senior Matthew Campbell (Rochester, Mich./Rochester), respectively. The Wolverines registered nine points with the win in the relay, which was the last event of the meet, to guarantee first place.

Junior Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College), who had not competed in the 800-meter run since the 2010 season, won the event with a personal-best time of 1:54.48, edging Central Michigan's Grzegorz Kalinowski by .03.

Junior/sophomore Bradley James (East Lansing, Mich./Haslett) won the high jump for the Maize and Blue for the second straight week with a leap of 2.08 meters (6-9.75). Also recording a win in the field was senior/junior Erik Braun (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney Community) in the triple jump (13.76 meters, 45-1.75).

The Wolverines will hit the road next weekend for the first time this season, competing at Navy's Wesley A. Brown Invitational on Saturday (Jan. 28).


Name Event Mark

Aaron Taylor 60m 6.90

Herman Washington 60m Hurdles 8.05

Philip Washington 400m 49.1

Brendon Blacklaws 800m 1:54.48

James Yau Mile 4:19.52

Taylor Voice Pole Vault 4.90m (16-0.75)

Austin Stevens Pole Vault 4.45m (14-7.25)


Michigan Head Coach Fred LaPlante

On his thoughts of the team's performance in the Jack Harvey Invitational ... "I thought we did pretty good. I often compare meets like this to a baseball game, when you don't always put out your best starting pitcher, but you are still trying to win the game. We had several guys today who weren't able to compete for one reason or another, but our mission was still to win the meet. Some guys were put in a position where they had to come through for us today and really step up their performance. It's a great situation because it builds team bonding and gives them some confidence in themselves, so that is what I'm happy about."

On impressive wins in the sprinting events ... "They did a nice job. In many track events it's hard to compete two weeks in a row. No matter how hard you train, competing in a race will take a lot out of you because you push yourself harder and your legs will get sore. As much as this is a scored meet and we are trying to win, it's challenging to come back the week after competing against our rivals -- the next week just doesn't feel the same no matter what and you really have to work hard to get yourself focused. So that was the challenge for the sprinters and they did a good job. Justin Clarke had a really good meet, so that was nice to see for him."

On whether Philip Washington performance in this meet exceeded expectations ... "I guess I wouldn't have necessarily expected that he would have won by the margin that he won by -- that was really good. He has really worked hard all fall and he has really been a perfect freshman. He is wide-eyed and ready to learn and he doesn't put himself on a pedestal. He is like a quiet assassin because he wasn't talking big before this race, but I think deep down he realized that this was his opportunity to do well. He learned a lot from last week's meet against Ohio State because he went out really hard and had nothing left at the end. In this meet, he was able to control his emotions a bit more, run his race and so that was a pretty big breakthrough for him. We are pretty strong in his events, and he makes us stronger because now the guys know that there is no room for slacking. Philip led the relay and did a great job in that, so we have six or seven guys that could be in that relay, which is good for everybody."

On the fact that Washington improved his time from last week ... "Some guys get worn out, physically and emotionally, after competing in the first meet, which makes it harder for them to compete again right away. Philip, on the other hand, was able to take that experience and he kicked himself into gear and prepared himself to do better in the next week. It is difficult to go two weeks in a row, early in the season, and to get improvements. We had a lot of guys who performed well today but didn't score as well as they did a week ago. There were others that improved, and his was definitely one of those performances that was a big improvement."

U-M Freshman Sprinter Philip Washington

On his feelings about having improved his performance within one week ... "I am very excited. Last week, I really focused on staying excited, and I tried to be less nervous. I ran really hard and I learned from my experience in the meet last week. My dad videotaped me during the meet against Ohio State and I learned that I had went out way too hard. Even though it was a good race, I ran out way too hard. Today, I just wanted to come out nice, easy and relaxed and it worked. I started the race in a good position, and I just went with it. It was a very nice run. During the week, I worked on getting the race pace that I really wanted to get, not tensing up so much in my shoulders and trying to get a good stride. My captains told me that I just needed to relax, and that was what I really shot for today."

On how today's success helps his confidence as a young runner ... "It is a big confidence booster. During the last season of my high school career, I was competing to defend my state title and unfortunately I lost. That really took a hit on my confidence, but over the season I just tried to get back what I had lost. My coach sat down with me and told me not to worry about losing. He said that I should just keep working hard to get better and focus on doing my job as a freshman. Today after seeing the team giving me high fives and support, I felt part of the process, and it felt amazing."

On older teammates that he has learned from ... "I definitely look up to our captain, Matt Campbell. I always go to him for advice. Herman Washington and Erick Gavin are really cool about helping me keep a clear head and they are just good to talk to as upperclassmen."