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Michigan honors seniors while preparing for Big Ten Championship

BY NATE SELL
Daily Sports Writer
Published February 17, 2013

Honoring its seniors, raising cancer awareness and tuning up for the Big Ten Championship — three things the Michigan men's track team accomplished Saturday while hosting the Silverston Invitational.

Before the running events, all of the seniors lined up and received applause from the home crowd at the Indoor Track Building one last time.

“You always think about when they first came and where they were and where they are now,” said Michigan coach Fred LaPlante. “And it’s all positive.”

“That was the first time I have seen it done, so it was nice for a little recognition,” added senior Brendon Blacklaws.

Blacklaws won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:54.79. Sophomore Ben Reed, freshman Nate Chapman and sophomore Jake Schweinsberg all finished within two seconds of him to claim the top-four spots for the Wolverines.

Senior Jack Greenlee looked good in the pole vault, clearing a season-best 5.15 meters.

“I think this tune-up was good for getting my mind right,” Greenlee said. “I got some confidence back from my jump.”

Greenlee enjoyed being in front of a home crowd one last time and appreciated the support. There was a lot of talk about the seniors at the meet and, with the ceremony, a lot of talk centered on the end of some track careers.

“I’m focused on the Big Tens, and then I have a whole outdoor season to go,” said Greenlee. “So it doesn’t feel like the end of the road to me yet.”

Redshirt sophomore Cody Riffle and redshirt freshman Derek Sievers took first and fourth place in shot put with throws of 17.69 and 17.09 meters, respectively. Redshirt junior Ethan Dennis placed third in the weight throw with a 19.84-meter effort.

With the Big Ten Championship around the corner, many of Michigan’s athletes took the day off to rest. Because of this, many younger runners got the chance to compete in front of a home crowd.

Redshirt freshman Codie Nolan set a personal record in the 60-meter dash, crossing the finish line with a time of 6.94 seconds for second place. He also ran in his first collegiate 200-meter dash and took fourth with a time of 22.65 seconds.

Redshirt freshmen Kwesi Rutledge (1:25.01) and Justin Krauss (4:17.54) each ran personal-best times in the 600-meter run and the mile, respectively.

The Wolverines also used this meet as a chance to promote cancer awareness in honor of women’s track coach James Henry, who suffered from prostate cancer in 2010. The men wore light blue shirts while the women wore pink shirts with ribbons.

As preparation for the Big Ten Championship, the meet was a success. A lot of athletes got some rest and others were able to gain some last-minute confidence.

“People think it’s this magical thing where you have to pull out something to compete,” said Greenlee. “But really it’s just about doing what you’ve been doing.”