U of M Men - Baumgarten's Bronze Leads Day-One Performance at Big Tens

U of M Men - Baumgarten's Bronze Leads Day-One Performance at Big Tens

Provided by U of M

What You Need to Know

» Aaron Baumgarten claimed the bronze medal in the 3000-meter final.

» The distance medley relay scored three points in a sixth-place finish.

» U-M scored nine points on day with potentially many more to come Saturday as eight men advanced to finals.

Site: Geneva, Ohio (SPIRE Institute)

Event: Big Ten Indoor Championships

U-M Day One Standings: 11th Place of 12 Teams (9 Points) after Day 1

Next U-M Events: Saturday, Feb. 25 -- at Big Ten Indoor Championships (Geneva, Ohio), 11 a.m.

GENEVA, Ohio -- Aaron Baumgarten claimed the 3,000-meter bronze medal and the No. 28 University of Michigan men's track and field team had a strong day of qualifying Friday (Feb. 24) to highlight the first of two days at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute.

With Baumgarten's six team points and three more from the sixth-place distance medley relay, the Wolverines enter Saturday's final session of competition with nine points and a slew of highly ranked entries -- many advancing from Friday's prelims -- remaining on the schedule.

Baumgarten's bronze put the Maize and Blue on the board, as he crossed the line in 8:14.51. Teammate Austin Benoit, who ultimately finished 14th, pushed the pace in the early and middle stages of the race, at one point opening up a 10-meter gap on the field.

The peloton -- often with Baumgarten at or near the front -- reeled him back in shortly thereafter, before Baumgarten took the bell for the final lap in second place. Eventual winner Morgan McDonald made a decisive move with 200 meters to go, and Baumgarten responded and held well enough to fend off all but Indiana's Jason Crist.

Kevin Hall was also 11th for the Wolverines.

The U-M distance medley relay closed out the day just about half an hour later. After anchor Ben Hill brought the squad as high as third place in the late stages of the race, the Wolverines finished sixth for three points in 9:43.85, less than two seconds from third. Hill was joined by Chase Barnett on the 1,200-meter leg, Alex Schwedt over 400 meters and Ryan Wilkie at 800 meters.

Baumgarten will be back for more points Saturday at 5,000 meters, and he will look to be bolstered by the eight Maize and Blue entries that advanced from Friday's prelims. They will also be complemented by one of the nation's best 1-2 punches in the weight throw in Joe Ellis and Grant Cartwright.

The sub-four-minute mile trio Ned Willig, Will Sheeran and Connor Mora entered the weekend ranked 1-2-3 among Big Ten runners, and their performances in Friday's prelims earned them all the opportunity to prove it on the track in Saturday's 1:20 p.m. final.

Willig took fourth in the first heat in a blanket finish, crossing the line in 4:04.90, just .35 away from the heat winner. After a lone runner bolted about 10 meters ahead of the field early, Willig led the chase pack that ultimately reeled him in in the latter stages of the race.

Mora and Sheeran wrapped up their berths in the second section, finishing third and fourth in 4:08.22 and 4:08.50, respectively. Mora's run earned him an automatic bid into the final, while Sheeran was the last man in on time.

Taylor McLaughlin made it through to tomorrow's finals at both 400 (1:50 p.m.) and 200 (3:20 p.m.) meters, coming within a quarter of a second of the U-M records in both events. He first ran a 46.63 to finish third in his heat at 400 -- just .21 away from his school record from this meet a year ago -- followed later in the afternoon by a come-from-behind 200-meter prelim heat win in 21.24. The latter was exactly .25 behind Adam Harris' school record from 2009.

Speaking of Adam Harris' records, Khoury Crenshaw moved ever closer to his U-M all-time mark over 60 meters. The junior clocked a career-best 6.71 to finish second in his prelim heat to qualify for Saturday's 2 p.m. final and move up to No. 3 in U-M history behind Harris (6.60) and John Spooney (6.70).

Drake Johnson gave the Wolverines finalists in every sprint event 400 meters and shorter, finishing third in his 60-meter hurdles heat and sixth overall in 7.98. The hometown Ann Arbor dual football/track star will contest the final at 2:40 p.m.

In between Crenshaw's and Johnson's qualifying runs, Brennan Munley also advanced to the final in his signature 800-meter event. His 1:49.65 was just enough for the eighth and final berth into Saturday's 2:50 p.m. final, only .08 ahead of ninth.

While they did not score, pole vaulters Kevin Haughn and Nick Burkhalter turned in superb efforts in their signature event. Haughn cleared 4.99m (16-4.5) to finish 12th with his fourth 16-feet-plus showing of the year, while Burkhalter made it over at 4.84m (15-10.5) for 14th and a career best by nine centimeters.

Cartwright was 10th in the shot put at 17.42m (57-2) after fouling his first two attempts.

Notably, defending Big Ten heptathlon champion Steven Bastien was forced out of his individual title-defense effort with an injury after the opening 60 meters event.

Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar