The 2002 season ended May 19 for all but three members of the Michigan men’s track and field team with a dismal ninth-place finish in the Big Ten Championships. The remaining three runners – freshmen Alan Webb and Nathan Brannen and senior tri-captain Mike Wisniewski – began preparation last week for the NCAA Championships, which begin Wednesday at Louisiana State in Baton Rouge.
Webb, the American high school record-holder in the mile, will represent Michigan in the 1500-meter run, an event in which he placed first at the Big Ten meet, while Brannen and Wisniewski will compete in the 800- and 10,000-meter runs, respectively.
“We’re just keeping things even – nothing super fast, nothing super slow. We’re just going to get sharpened and do a little tweaking,” said Michigan coach Ron Warhurst of his team’s preparation. “Nate and Alan are running really well. Wisniewski’s running OK. He’s a little tired.”
Despite the team’s disappointing performance in the Big Ten meet, the Wolverines have maintained an optimistic perspective on the NCAAs.
“They’ll run well,” Warhurst said. “Nate and Webb are both very capable of making the finals and then when they get there, they’re very capable of running in the top three or four.” Wisniewski has already qualified automatically for the finals.
The meet will mark the official end of the NCAA season. Throughout the summer, Webb and Brannen are expected to compete in various amateur events throughout the United States and Canada. Also expected at some point over the summer is an announcement from Webb regarding his much-anticipated decision on whether to return to Michigan next fall for his sophomore season.