The time it takes for light to travel around the earth is roughly one tenth of a second.

That’s also approximately the margin by which Nate Brannen missed setting a collegiate record in the mile this weekend.

Brannen came .11 of a second shy of the collegiate indoor mile record Saturday at the Boston Indoor Games. But his time of 3:55.11 was fast enough to automatically qualify him for the NCAA Championships and give him the Canadian national record. The time he posted was also a personal best. He beat his old mark by 2.85 seconds.

“I really wasn’t thinking about the record,” Brannen said. “I try not to put too much pressure on myself before a race. I was definitely pretty happy with my performance though.”

Brannen believed it was just a matter of time before he broke out.

“I’ve been held back with nagging injuries and little things like that,” Brannen said. “I haven’t felt like I’ve run to my capability, so this is definitely a step forward.”

Said Michigan coach Ron Warhurst: “What do you say? 3:55 is fantastic. He’s proven that he can compete not only on the NCAA level but also on the international level.”

It was the second week in a row that Brannen met an NCAA qualifying standard. Last week at the Red Simmons Invitational, he made an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 3000-meter run.

Brannen beat out freshman teammate Mike Woods, whose time of 4:01.56 was also the fastest of his career. Sophomore Sebastien Lounis paced the entire field with a time of 1:55.00 at the 800-meter mark before dropping out. The previous day, Lounis ran a personal best of 1:51.39 in the 800-meter race at the Boston University Invitational, where the rest of the No. 2 men’s track and field team competed.

While the Wolverines had a strong showing, there was a similar theme for them throughout the meet — four runners missed an NCAA provisional qualifying time by less than half a second.

Junior Andrew Ellerton came from behind to win the 800-meter race, outkicking Pennsylvania’s Courtney Jaworski by .23 seconds. Ellerton’s time of 1:49.75 was five seconds faster than his time last week at Red Simmons but .25 short of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark. After missing the majority of the cross country season due to injury, the junior didn’t expect such a fast time.

“I just figured (a time of) 1:52,” Ellerton said. “I didn’t really have a lot of background for the event, but, overall, it went really well.”

Sophomore Jeff Porter dominated the 55-meter hurdle field with a time of 7.43 in the final heat. He ran .01 faster in the preliminary heat the day before, which was just .04 ticks away from a NCAA provisional mark.

Senior Tom Greenless also fell short of an NCAA provisional-qualifying time by less than one second. Greenless boasted a time of 8:05.23 en route to a seventh-place finish.

The theme of less than one second continued for sophomore Stan Waithe, whose time of 47.29 in the 400-meters was just .04 seconds away from the NCAA mark.

Inside the track, senior Kevin Peterman continued his winning ways in the pole vault. His height of 15-11 3/4 was good enough to give him his second consecutive victory of the season.

The Wolverines will compete next weekend at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend.


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