U of M Men - Weekly #9: Dennis, 4x400m Relay Set for NCAA Indoor Championships
Provided by U of M
Fri-Sat., March 9-10 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships (Boise, Idaho), 10 a.m./10:30 a.m. MST [ Entry List | Schedule of Events | Championship Central | Live Results ]
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will return to the national stage for the first time since 2009 when it competes in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday (March 9-10) in Nampa, Idaho. Competition will begin on Friday at 10 a.m. MST and resume again on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. MST at Boise State's Jacksons Indoor Track at the Idaho Center.
The Wolverines will be represented by junior/sophomore Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville), as well as the 4x400-meter relay team, which will be comprised of senior/junior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), sophomore Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville).
The Big Ten Conference ranks second with 45 total entries in the NCAA Championships. Only the SEC boasts more athletes with 53. [ NCAA Field Breakdown: By Team | By Conference ]
Watch the NCAA Championships Live
ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 9 from 7:30-11:45 p.m. EST and March 10 from 8-11:15 p.m. EST. A tape delay of the championship will also air Sunday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPNU.
NCAA.com and broncosports.com will stream what ESPN3 is not covering on Friday (Noon-7:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-8 pm ET). FloTrack will also be on site to cover the championships with interviews, photos and videos.
Setting the Scene -- The track, which has a Mondo surface, is 200 meters long and includes six banked lanes on the oval and an eight lane straight track located in the middle. The facility was built in 2002 and held its first major event in 2005 with the USA Track and Field National Indoor Masters Championships.
Athletes in Action this Weekend
Ethan Dennis - Weight Throw
Dennis ranks 17th in the nation in the weight throw (21.07 meters, 69-1.50) and earned the 16th and final spot in his first appearance at the NCAA Championships. He recorded his personal-best mark at the Silverston Invitational on Feb. 18. No Michigan athlete has ever won a national championship or garnered All-America honors in the weight throw.
4x400-meter Relay - Nick Neuman, Michael Parker Jr., Aaron Taylor, Ali Arastu
The 4x400-meter relay set a new school record of 3:09.14 earlier this season and topped it with a time of 3:07.75 at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational last weekend (March 3). Michigan's time earned the No. 11 seed in the NCAA Championships out of the 12 teams accepted. After trying several combinations and battling through injuries this season, the relay squad at the national meet will consist of Nick Neuman, Michael Parker Jr., Aaron Taylor and Ali Arastu. Neuman, Parker and Arastu each ran on the fourth-place relay at the Big Ten Championships. The last NCAA relay team to score for Michigan was in 1976 when the squad comprised of Harlan Huckleby, Jeff McLeod, James Grace and Dave Williams finished third.
Schedule of Events for U-M Participants (Times MST)
Name Event Date Time
Ethan Dennis Weight Throw Saturday, March 10 4:00 p.m.
4x400-meter Relay Saturday, March 10 8:25 p.m.
Wolverines of the Week -- Each week throughout the season, the track and field coaching staff will select members of the team as Wolverines of the Week. "The team recognition is based on personal accomplishments that enhance team objectives and examples of competitive focus," said head coach Fred LaPlante.
This week's Wolverines of the Week are fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck), junior Jack Greenlee (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and the members of the 4x400-meter relay team from the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational -- senior/junior Nick Neuman (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), sophomore Michael Parker Jr. (Jackson, Mich./Michigan Center), junior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) and sophomore Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville).
Forys ran a time of 13:52.59 in the 5,000-meter run at Notre Dame to win the event. Greenlee recorded a new personal-best for the third straight week, clearing a height of 5.24m (17-2.25) to finish sixth in the seeded section of the pole vault. The relay ran a season-best time of 3:07.75 and improved on its school-record time set earlier this season to finish sixth overall. Michigan's time was eventually one of the 12 times to make the cut for the NCAA Championships.
[ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two ]
USTFCCCA All-America Policy -- Individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point at the NCAA Track & Field Championships will earn USTFCCCA All-America first team honors. Those individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall (including ties) will earn USTFCCCA All-America second team honors. Those who do not meet the criteria above but participate at least a round of the NCAA Championship will be listed as All-America honorable mention.
Personal Improvement -- Heading into the final weekend of indoor track and field competition, 37 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with nine improving in two or more events.
In the Rankings -- Michigan was tabbed No. 4 in the final Great Lakes Region Top 15 rankings released Monday (March 5) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
NCAA History 101 -- Michigan has not had any athletes compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships since 2009 when Adam Harris (60m, 4th), Justin Switzer (mile, 7th) and Sean Pruitt (weight throw, 14th) represented the Wolverines. Harris and Switzer each earned All-America honors for their performances. Since the NCAA Indoor Championships began in 1965, Michigan has finished in the top 10 as a team on 11 occasions, with the program's highest finish coming in 1995 at fourth.
Big Ten Championships to Air on BTN -- The Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on BTN at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.
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 - OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD SEASON
Fri-Sat., March 23-24 -- at USC Trojan Invitational (Los Angeles, Calif.)