The Big Ten Indoor Championships were in full throttle last weekend as the Michigan men’s track and field team finished sixth with 57 points.
In the shot put, junior Andrew Liskowitz and senior Grant Cartwright finished fourth and fifth, respectively, to contribute nine points toward the team score.
The relay team, consisting of senior Ryan Wilkie, sophomore Desmond Melson, junior Matt Plowman and sophomore Andrew Lorant also added extra points after taking sixth place in the distance medley event.
“I thought we had a good day (on Saturday),” said Michigan coach Jerry Clayton. “We had a little bit of a rough start the first day. We were hoping to get a few more people qualified to the finals, but it is what it is. The people that we did get through, I thought they lined well in that final day which helped us finish as high as we could.”
The second day of the tournament featured a historic performance from the weight throwers. Junior Joe Ellis, in particular, was the team’s star at Saturday’s meet. Ellis broke the program weight throw record with a distance of 23.31 meters — breaking Cartwright’s record last season. Ellis continued his record-breaking performance with a championship winning throw of 23.64 meters. Ellis’ record is currently ranked second nationally and 13th in collegiate history.
“It’s the first big step towards becoming a legendary year,” Ellis said. “It certainly feels good. Setting a personal record at the Big Ten Championships is definitely a big deal.”
Cartwright also earned a spot on the podium by placing third with a season-best toss of 22.87 meters, losing to Penn State’s David Lucas.
“Penn State’s got a great team over there,” Ellis said. “We are all really close and close competitors. Me and Grant (Cartwright) were fighting against David Lucas and Morgan Shigo. We got more points at the end so job well done.”
Ellis and Cartwright’s combined throws totaled 46.51 meters. Their record went down in the books as the farthest combined throw by a pair of teammates in a non-NCAA Championship meet. Their total score also finished as one of the best duo added totals in collegiate history.
Clayton believes the Wolverines should rank in the top 20 nationally, and is relying on certain athletes to get the team to the NCAA Championships. Ellis and Cartwright are guaranteed spots in the weight throw, while Liskowitz is waiting on other national results to see if he qualifies in the shot put. Senior distance runner Ben Flanagan is also hoping to qualify in the 5000-meter.
“It’s attainable if we get all four of them in the meet,” Clayton said. “We’ve come relatively close to that. We always want people challenging for the top three and for the championship. That’s a direction that we need to keep working hard and moving towards in this outdoor season.”