BY EMILY O'DONNELL
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 27, 2011
The Michigan's men's track and field team divided and conquered this weekend on the two opposite sides of the country at the Florida State University Relays and the Stanford Invitational.
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Out West, three distance runners went to Palo Alto, Calif. to compete at the invitational. Freshman Morsi Rayyan finished ninth in the second section of the 5,000-meter run, while junior Craig Forys finished 14th in the fast heat of the same event.
Five other members of the team traveled to the FSU Relays where they succeeded in bringing home several first-place finishes.
Among those was junior Nick Neuman, who won the 400-meter dash. In the event, Michigan managed to achieve first through fourth in the finals. Freshmen Eric Oliver and Ali Arastu set career highs for themselves, placing second and fourth, respectively.
“It’s more fun competing against teammates,” Neuman said Saturday. “We’re not going to get a chance like that to compete against each other at Big Tens. It was a bragging right for the team.”
Neuman was also a part of the winning 4x400-meter relay with senior David St. Amant, freshman Eric Oliver and redshirt sophomore Matthew Campbell.
“I was happy with how we performed in the relay,” Neuman said. “I believe that we could have done better, but it’ll come with time. At the UCLA Rafer Johnson Invitational in two weeks, we hope to drop a really good team in the 4x4.”
The team overcame hurdles, both literally and figuratively. Along with being separated from teammates, the athletes competing experienced a rain delay and a thunderstorm in the Tallahassee area. The team also had to cope with the absence of one of its top hurdlers, senior Carl Buchanon.
“[The lightning] can throw some people off, but our guys focused on what they had to when they had to compete and they did a nice job,” Michigan coach Fred LaPlante said.
Neuman added: “It would’ve been nice to have our whole team together.”
Redshirt senior Nick McCampbell rose to the occasion in the 110-meter hurdles, taking third place at the conclusion of the event.
In order to prepare for the meet, the team took a three-week hiatus after indoor season.
“After a long layoff like that, guys are eager to get back out there,” LaPlante said. “They were chomping at the bit to get out there and compete. They had a lot of energy.”
The team will continue its outdoor season April 7 at UCLA, where it hopes to set the stage for a successful Big Ten meet in May.