Michigan takes 22nd at NCAA Indoor Championships

Sunday, March 12, 2017 - 5:41pm

Michigan’s throwers catapulted the Wolverines to their best finish since 2009 in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Capping off a historic season, redshirt junior Grant Cartwright placed second and redshirt sophomore Joe Ellis placed seventh in the weight throw. The second- and seventh-place finishes are the first time Michigan has had two individual top-ten finishers in the event.

With a throw of 22.70 meters, Cartwright finished just 18 centimeters behind LSU’s Johnnie Jackson, who took first place.

As a team, Michigan finished tied for 22nd, with 10 total points. The 10 points marks the first time since 2009 that the wolverines have scored in double-digits. Texas A&M took home the hardware, scoring 46 points, just .5 more than the runner up, Florida.

In his first NCAA indoor championship, Cartwright became the highest placing Wolverine at the meet since 1978.

“He opened up really big and continued to improve on his first three throws,” Michigan coach Jerry Clayton said.

Added Cartwright: “It feels pretty awesome but I know for myself and for the rest of the throws crew, this just feels like the beginning for us. We have much higher goals that we want to push for ourselves. We are enjoying the fact that Joe and I came away from this weekend as First-Team All-Americans but at the same time we’re always looking towards the horizons of what we want to accomplish next.”

Despite entering the weekend ranked fourth, Cartwright outperformed all expectations. He set the school record for weight throw, was crowned the Big Ten indoor champion and earned All-American Honors for the indoor track season.

“With Grant and Joe, you couldn’t ask for a better performance there,” Clayton said. “Both of them finished higher than they went in ranked, and in that meet, that is difficult to do. A lot of athletes do not do that.”

Ellis, who found his seventh-place finish was overshadowed by Cartwright’s near-win, had to work a little harder for his finish. Ellis spent most of the afternoon in ninth place, until he stepped up in final throw to work his way up into seventh with a throw of 21.73 meters. His seventh-place finish also garnered him All-American Honors in his redshirt sophomore season.

Michigan sent four total athletes to the championship. However, the two shot put training partners, Ellis and Cartwright, were the only Michigan competitors able to find success. Steven Bastien, a redshirt junior decathlon runner, was hobbled all day by an ankle injury sustained in warmups.

With the outdoor season quickly approaching, Cartwright and Ellis hope to continue their historic year, as well as continuing to grow as an entire team.

“As a throw squad, we pride ourselves on striving to be the hardest workers on the team, and we are kind of looking to be the best throw squad in the country — not just at a conference level but at the NCAA too,” Cartwright said. “Setting those goals to be the best throws crew in the country just comes from our desire to represent the ‘block M’ in the best fashion that we possibly can.”