U of M Men - Ellis' School Record, Flanagan's 10K Run Seal Two Bids to Eugene
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What You Need to Know
» Seeded 18th, Joe Ellis launched a new Michigan record in the hammer to finish fourth, tossing his final attempt at 68.25 meters (223-11 ft.) to punch the program's first NCAA Outdoor Championships ticket of the weekend.
» Ben Flanagan led three athletes in the 10K and qualified himself for a bid at the NCAA outdoor meet by placing sixth.
» Taylor McLaughlin qualified for the quarterfinal round of the 400-meter hurdles, scheduled for tomorrow (Friday, May 27) at 7:45 p.m.
» Athletes need a top-12 individual finish to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships next month (June 8 and 10) in Eugene, Oregon.
» CoSIDA Academic All-District teams were also announced this afternoon, with Mason Ferlic and Brennan Munley both being named to the District 5 team.
• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery | NCAA East Preliminary Round Home
Site: Jacksonville, Fla. (Hodges Stadium)
Event: NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds (Day 1)
U-M Team Result: Non-scoring
Next U-M Event: Friday, May 27 -- at NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds - Day 2 (Jacksonville, Florida), Noon
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team began qualifying competition at the NCAA East Region Preliminary Round on Thursday (May 26), punching tickets in two events (hammer throw; 10,000-meter run) and breaking one school record at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium. It marked an excellent weekend-opening day for the Maize and Blue, with both qualifying athletes outperforming their seeds by a considerable margin.
In the hammer, sophomore/freshman Joe Ellis shattered the program record and expectations -- he was seeded 18th -- with his final toss, measuring 68.25 meters (223-11 ft.) to take the event lead through two flights, eventually finishing fourth and tops among underclassmen. After a 64-meter throw on his second attempt, Ellis told head coach Jerry Clayton, "I just need to finish it," and finish it he did.
The record-breaking throw is a PR of 2.19 meters (7-2.25 ft.) for Ellis, eclipsing the mark set by Ethan Dennis (66.34 meters; 217-8 ft.) in Clayton's first year. Ellis now has the opportunity to become the Wolverines' first All-America hammer thrower since Roderick Cox won the national title in 1933, and the prospect of competing in the NCAA Outdoor Championships is special to him.
"It's an incredible feeling," he said. "You put in the work, the hours and a lot of throws, and when it all comes together on the right day it's a very special feeling."
He also wanted to thank Coach Clayton for how far he has come since stepping onto campus in the fall of 2014.
"Coach Clayton is amazing," said Ellis. "I don't know how many coaches could take a guy from throwing 53 meters in high school to 68 meters two years later. It's more than I thought was possible."
Among the three athletes that finished ahead of Ellis were NCAA leader Rudy Winkler (Cornell), the top-ranked American in the world, and three-time Big Ten Champion Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (Purdue). Ellis led the way for four freshmen in the top 12 overall.
In the 10K, junior/sophomore Ben Flanagan sealed his bid to the national meet, placing sixth overall after entering the weekend as the No. 11-ranked competitor. He felt that tonight's race was his best of the year, despite the pacing, and his trust in assistant coach Kevin Sullivan's training paid off with tonight's effort.
"Things are coming around at the right time of the year, and that's no coincidence because that's how Sully trains us," said Flanagan. "He wants to make sure we perform best in the top-priority races, so I wasn't surprised that my legs were feeling a little better going into these postseason races the last few weeks. We did a lot of preparation to get ready for the conditions here in Florida, and I think that went a long way, too."
Prior to the race, some last-minute assurance from his coach helped to keep Flanagan poised.
"Sully just told me that he had confidence in me, and I knew had confidence in myself, so that kept me going, especially over those last few laps," said Flanagan.
"Half the battle was staying on my feet tonight. It was really crowded, but luckily I was able to be in the right position when it was time to move, and it paid off.
The race moved slowly through the first half, coming in around 15:32 for the first 5K, and fifth-year senior Nick Posada took a turn out front. The second half of the race was much quicker, and the pack did not really begin to thin out until there were fewer than 10 laps remaining.
Even when it did, a group of about 20 or more athletes was still in striking range with just three laps remaining, indicating a tight finish was coming. At the bell, the lead pack was clearly separated, but still 14 strong Flanagan had worked his way into a top-five placing and showed a lot of poise over the last straightaway to finalize his bid to the national meet.
"Going into the bell lap, I just trusted in my legs," said Flanagan. "I knew I had the ability to beat at least half those guys, and I just found a way to pull it all together in the home stretch."
Running with Posada and fellow fifth-year senior August Pappas in their final races as Wolverines also meant a lot to Flanagan.
"Every year it's tougher to see seniors leave," said Flanagan. "These guys are my best friends so it means everything to share the time on this trip with them and run with them as they close their careers here. I've spent three years with these guys and gotten really, really close. We're teammates and best friends."
In the 400-meter hurdles, freshman Taylor McLaughlin placed second in the sixth heat, running 51.77 to automatically clinch a spot in tomorrow's quarterfinal, scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Seeded third headed into the weekend, McLaughlin is seeking an NCAA bid as a true freshman coming off his first Big Ten title in the event earlier this month.
Senior/junior Steven Bastien competed in the long jump, measuring his best jump at 7.05 meters (23-1.75 ft.) on his final attempt. Though he will not qualify for an individual bid in the long jump, Bastien has already punched his ticket to Eugene via the decathlon, where he is seeded No. 11 in the nation (U-M record 7,636 points).
Events continue at Hodges Stadium on Friday (May 27), beginning with the first round of the javelin at noon, featuring senior/junior Stephen Burk and ending at 9:30 p.m. with 3,000-meter steeplechase, which includes both fifth-year senior Mason Ferlic and junior Connor Mora. Saturday (May 28) represents the final day of events, beginning with the triple jump at 3 p.m.
COLLEGIATE PERSONAL BESTS
Joe Ellis -- 68.25 meters (223-11 ft.)*
* School Record
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard