Men's track and field opens outdoor season with personal bests

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By Brandon Handelsman, Daily Sports Writer
Published March 30, 2014

The Michigan men’s track and field team began its outdoor season Friday with a split-squad appearance at both the North Florida Invitational and the Raleigh Relays.

Michigan coach Jerry Clayton sent a small group of distance runners to Raleigh, NC, while the rest of the Wolverines competed in Jacksonville, Fla. The two meets were prime opportunities to race competitively in warm weather without the pressure of scoring.

“It was a good meet for us because we won a lot of events,” Clayton said. “The competition wasn’t cutting edge, but it’s what we need right now with where we’re at as a program. We just needed to get to good weather as well. I was pleased.”

Seven Wolverines were in action at the Raleigh Relays including junior August Pappas, who set a new personal best of 14:23.97 in the 5,000-meter run to finish eighth. Sophomore George Kelly and senior James Yau followed with 17th and 22nd place finishes, clocking in at 14:29.81 and 14:40.50, respectively.

In the 10,000-meter run, junior Nick Posada crossed the line in a time of 29:57.84 to finish 20th overall with junior Scotty Albaugh on his tail at 30:00.97 to place 23rd.

Additionally, juniors Jeff Sattler and Ben Reed managed 37th and 46th place finishes overall in the 1,500-meter run with times of 3:55.97 and 3:57.91.

Michigan was much more successful at the North Florida Invitational where 11 athletes recorded personal bests en route to an impressive showing. The Wolverines won three field events — hammer throw, high jump and shot put — and the 400-meter hurdles while placing second in the long jump, hammer throw, shot put and 110-meter hurdles.

Junior Brad Bolton and fifth-year senior Ethan Dennis went first and second in the hammer throw, respectively. Bolton had a career-best throw of 60.73 meters to win the event while Dennis threw for 59.97 meters

Michigan also boasted three of the top four finishers in the high jump. Senior Bradley James cleared 1.98 meters to win the event. Freshman Louis Lamberti and sophomore Stephen Sykes finished third and fourth, respectively, both clearing 1.93 meters.

Fifth-year senior Troy Sneller won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.21 seconds.

The meet was highlighted by senior Patrick Cochran’s second-place finish in the long jump. His 7.54 meter leap was two feet longer than his previous best jump.

“What Pat did in the long jump, that was huge,” Clayton said. “It was about a two-foot personal record. In any event that’s kind of unheard of.”

The Wolverines continued their dominance in the field events by finishing first and second at shot put. Junior Derek Sievers won the event with a career-best throw of 16.92 meters while senior Justin Gaumer followed with a personal-best of his own, throwing for 16.58 meters. Siever returned to win the discus on the following day with a personal best throw of 51.72 meters. Gaumer was third place with a toss of 48.79 meters.

Sophomore Stephen Burk’s Day 2 win in the javelin was another highlight, as his personal record of 68.10 meters won the event by six meters.

In the 110-meter hurdles, seniors Herman Washington (14.27) and Erick Gavin (14.62) placed second and third, respectively.

Sophomore Chris Maye and junior Codie Nolan finished third and sixth, respectively, in the 100-meter dash final in times of 11.10 and 11.14.

Though it’s early and the competition was rather weak, the weekend proved to be a great start to the outdoor season as Michigan recorded personal bests and wins across the board at both meets.

“It’s still very early,” Clayton said. “It’s almost impossible to gauge where we’re at. As long as we stay healthy we’ll get rolling.”