'M' sees improvement at Duke Invitational

By Kevin Raftery, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 4, 2010

With “The Dual” against Ohio State just a week away, the Michigan men’s track team had one goal on its mind this past weekend at the Duke Invitational: continue to improve.

Competing in just their second outdoor event of the season, the Wolverines traveled to Durham, N.C. to improve their marks from last week’s Victor Lopez/Bayou Classic.

Three Wolverines ran career-best times on Friday. Junior David St. Amant and sophomore Matthew Campbell finished second and third, respectively, in the 200-meter dash with times of 22.05 and 22.06.

Sophomore Nicholas Neuman set a career-best time in the 400-meter dash, finishing first with a time of 47.98.

“I thought we were competitive,” Michigan head coach Fred LaPlante said. “We ran better than we did a week ago.”

It was the usual cast that carried the load for Michigan.

Junior captain Carl Buchanon, especially, has been one of the top sprinters for the Wolverines this year, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Buchanon finished first in the 400-meter hurdles, and he was a part of the first place 4x4 relay team.

Still, Buchanon was not completely satisfied with his performance.

“Overall, I felt alright,” Buchanon said. “It’s not exactly what I had expected. I expected to do a little bit better this weekend.”

It is that type of never-satisfied attitude that has led to Buchanon’s success and should play a huge role for both Buchanon and his team as they quickly approach the Big Ten Championships in a little more than a month.

Senior thrower Sean Pruitt had similar thoughts to Buchanon’s. Pruitt won the discus with a throw of 53.7 meters and took second place in the shot-put and the hammer.

But, like Buchanon, Pruitt wasn't satisfied with his performance.

“It was okay,” Pruitt said. “My throws were not horrible, but not anything special.”

Pruitt has been going through a heavy training cycle during the last few weeks, and fatigue has had an effect on his performance at this point in the season.

“I’m just trying to extend the level of expected performance so that no matter how tired I am, there’s a certain level of excellence that I can expect, and I think I’m getting close to there,” Pruitt said. “But it’s not quite there yet.”

Regardless of his training regimen, Pruitt said he won't need to change anything for Ohio State next weekend.

As for the rest of the Michigan team, LaPlante knows that they will have to bring their best effort in order to beat the Buckeyes at the annual rivalry matchup.

“If everybody on our team performs their best, we’ll have a pretty good chance of winning,” LaPlante said. “Ohio State is going to have to have a good performance to be able to beat us, but we do not want to go out there and beat ourselves.”