For many schools, their biggest rivals live just down the road
only miles away. But for some schools, their neighbors may just be
their greatest training partner.

The Michigan men’s track team has has enjoyed great
success competing and training with the Eastern Michigan track
program for decades now. The Wolverines push their MAC neighbors at
home and away meets. Eastern Michigan standout Jordan Desilets
credited his All-American performance at the NCAA Indoor
Championships to the support he received from the more than 20
Wolverines who traveled to Arkansas.

While the elite men of these two schools took this season off to
train for the Olympics, the future stars for both sides took to the
track against each other during the Eastern Michigan Twilight meet
at Olds/Marshall Track in Ypsilanti.

Sophomore Andrew Ellerton and senior Joe Baldwin led the
Wolverines with their regional qualifying performances in the
800-meter run and long jump, respectively. Ellerton’s time of
1:49.05 and Baldwin’s leap of 24-feet-4 1/2 were both
personal bests and their first victories of the outdoor season. The
win for Baldwin was also his first as a Wolverine.

The 800-meter run ended up being a Wolverine-Eagle showdown,
with nine of the 10 runners wearing green or blue. Junior Rondell
Ruff captured third, senior Dan Cooke took seventh and freshman
Sebastien Lounis finished ninth to round out Michigan’s
scoring in the event. Ruff’s performance was a best for the
season in the 800-meters and a good indicator of his strength.

“I feel like I’m there in the strength
department,” Ruff said. “I’ve been doing a lot of
training, a lot of work in the weight room to get my legs stronger.
I’ll start doing a lot more speed work towards the end of the
season.”

Ruff will run the 1,200-meter leg in the distance medley relay
at the Penn Relays this weekend, and then attempt a Regional
Qualifying time in the 1,500-meter run at Ohio State in two
weeks.

While Ruff used the race for training, Lounis used it to
solidify his spot on the team.

“I just need to be ready to go out with the front pack and
stay with them,” Lounis said. “I’m just getting
that confidence that I need for the rest of the season.”

Freshman Stann Waithe was Michigan’s top sprinter,
finishing third in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the 400-meter
run. Both times were a personal best this season, and great signs
of recovery from an injury that cut his indoor season short.

“I thought that my 400 could’ve been better, so I
just moved on to the 200,” Waithe said. “I got out good
in the 200 and finished where I felt I should. The weather was
great; it really helped.”

Michigan also gathered plenty of hardware in the field.
Sophomore Adam Kring captured second place in the high jump with a
6-feet-8 jump. Sophomore Spencer Dowdall set a personal best in the
pole vault with a second-place performance of 15-feet-7 1/4.

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