Dennis Throws His Way to NCAAs on Final Day of East Prelims

Dennis Throws His Way to NCAAs on Final Day of East Prelims

Provided by U of M

Site: Greensboro, N.C. (Irwin Belk Track)

Event: NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Day 3 of 3)

U-M Team Result: No Team Scoring

Next U-M Event: Wed-Sat., June 5-8 -- at NCAA Championships (Eugene, Ore.), Noon/11 a.m./12:30 p.m./12:30 p.m. PDT

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Senior/junior hammer thrower Ethan Dennis (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grandville) became the fourth University of Michigan men's track and field student-athlete to qualify for the NCAA Championships, doing so on the final day of the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds on Saturday (May 25) at North Carolina A&T State Universities Irwin Belk Track.

On his third throw, Dennis produced a mark of 62.64 meters (205-6) to advance to the finals before increasing that mark to 64.29 meters (210-11) on his fifth attempt to finish fifth overall. This will mark Dennis' first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, as he just missed the cut last year with a 13th-place performance.

In the 110-meter hurdles, junior Herman Washington (Blacklick, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) clocked a time of 13.39 to finish 18th overall.

Michigan's 4x100-meter relay finished 22nd overall with a time of 45.71. The relay team consisted of senior Aaron Taylor (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams), junior Justin Clarke (Flint, Mich./Southwestern), freshman Antonio Whitfield (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Canal Winchester) and sophomore Philip Washington (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield).

Dennis, as well as junior Ali Arastu (Northville, Mich./Northville) in the 110-meter hurdles, sophomore/freshman Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and junior/sophomore Cody Riffle (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) in the shot put will represent Michigan at the NaCAA Outdoor Championships from June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. Fifth-year senior decathlete Kurt Reichenbach (Brighton, Mich./Pinckney Community) will also compete in Eugene, as he qualified for the national meet at the Big Ten Championships.

Event Winners/U-M Finishers (Day 3)

110-meter Hurdles (Quarterfinals)

1. Eddie Lovett, Florida 13.39Q

18. Herman Washington, U-M 13.99

4x100-meter Relay

1. LSU 43.81Q

22. MICHIGAN 45.71

Aaron Taylor, Justin Clarke, Antonio Whitfield, Philip Washington)

Hammer Throw

1. Jeremy Postin, Florida 67.81m (222-6)q

5. Ethan Dennis, U-M 64.29m (210-11)q

Q - Automatic Qualifier q - At-Large Qualifier

• Previous Results: Day 2 | Day 1


U-M Head Coach Fred LaPlante

On having five student-athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships ... "This meet is very difficult -- if you get to this meet, obviously you're pretty good, and if you get to the next meet you're really good. To have five representatives is terrific. Those guys did a great job and even some of our guys who didn't make it, I thought performed very well. We're very excited about going to Oregon."

On the adversity the 4x100m relay has faced this season ... "I think we changed the line up four times in the last two weeks because of injuries, but we just kept finding other guys to step up. In the race today, for the first two legs, we were right there. For Aaron (Taylor), it's bitter sweet because he's a senior and it was his last race. For the other guys, they'll all be back, so they got a chance to get some experience here. I thought they did a really good job -- they didn't lay down, they went for it."

On Bobby Aprill not being able to compete at his last regional meet due to injury ... "It was very disappointing because he fought so hard to come back. The fact that he wanted to even try and come back for a fifth year was impressive because he had had so much disappointment due to injury. He came back and ran terrific, so not being able to run effectively in the Big Ten meet and then breaking his foot was disappointing. I feel bad for him because he worked so hard at it. He was here this weekend and he was really supporting his teammates. To see his growth other five years, not only on the track, but off the track was really gratifying for me. I know he did a lot for the team and our program. He really bought into helping guys for the future of the program. We're at a point right now where we're trying to move in the right direction and I think he's a guy who has helped us go there."

On the performances of those who qualified for NCAAs ... "It was exciting for all the guys who made it, but Mason (Ferlic) to me was the highlight. Three weeks ago, I don't think the word steeplechase was even in his vocabulary. He's run three of them and every one has been impressive and this one was really impressive because he looked so good and ran a 10-second PR. He's a redshirt freshman and he's gone through a stress fracture, mono, and iron deficiency so it shows his talent level. Ethan Dennis has been through some major meets and there was no question, this meet he was in control all the way. He really looked like a veteran out there and performed well. Cody (Riffle) made it to the indoor nationals and has now made it to outdoor nationals and this is great for him and his future. The Big Ten is so good in these events and he looked very comfortable in competing at this level. With Ali (Arastu), I think the best is ahead for him. I don't think he's done what he's really capable of doing, but it's still great. He can certainly be a factor at the national championships. All the guys that made it really looked like they belonged and I'm sure they're all excited to go to nationals and butt heads with the best of the best, which they've already done this weekend to an extent. We're excited for them."

U-M Sophomore/Freshman Mason Ferlic

On starting the steeplechase only three weeks ago ... "I think it's all part of the process. At the start of the year, I didn't plan on doing the steeple at all -- the focus was going to be on the 5K and maybe the 1,500m. The way things worked out, after trying to recover from all the adversity I faced with mono and anemia, we decided to give the steeple a shot. I tried it at Toledo and it was really about going out and seeing what I could do. I had no idea how I would run and it kind of clicked incredibly quickly. From Toledo to now it has been about learning on the fly, but also staying relaxed and collected."

On being one of 12 runners to qualify for nationals from the east region ... "It hasn't really sunk in -- it still feels kind of surreal. I would have never thought if you asked me four weeks ago if I was going to go to nationals in the steeple, or even nationals in general. With the way things are going, every day is an opportunity to run better and faster. Now that I'm here, it feels well deserved."

On the support from the rest of the guys on the team ..."It's the best experience ever. Just being there with teammates, hanging out at the hotel, going out to lunch -- those things all help take the pressure of the meet. We have three days to hang out in the hotel and if you're there by yourself, you're just thinking 'the race is coming' and you think too much about it. When you're teammates are there, you can mellow out and relax and take the pressure off the race. It definitely helps you compete better."

Contact: Whitney Dixon