After a tune up at last week’s Jack Harvey Invitational, it’s finally time for the Michigan men’s track team to shift gears. This weekend, the Wolverines will receive a greater challenge from the likes of Indiana, Kent State and Michigan State.

“There’s certainly a higher level of competition for us this week,” Michigan associate coach Fred LaPlante said. “When you bring in these types of schools, there’s going to be a top guy in every event. Indiana and Kent State are both very well-balanced teams, and even though Michigan State has had some injuries, they’ll be good as well.”

Adding to the atmosphere is the fact that the meet, unlike last week’s, will be scored, with head-to-head competition providing the basis for posted results.

“This is only one of two scored meets for us until the Big Ten Championships,” La Plante said. “It makes things pretty exciting because every competitor can be clearly identified with his team.”

Certainly, Michigan will look to build on last week’s success, when it chalked up three wins against a field including Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Detroit Mercy and Sienna Heights. The Wolverines boasted an impressive 16 top-three finishes, including three wins. Senior transfer Alex L’Hereux, in his first race for the Wolverines, easily took the mile with a time of 4:14.58.

“Alex came over from Lehigh where he was clearly the best guy on his team,” La Plante said. “He trained with the cross country team this fall, and now he’s finally eligible for us.”

L’Hereux’s impressive showing hints at another strong distance group on this year’s team. The Wolverines field seven runners that helped them to an eighth-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

In last week’s field events, Michigan finished with four runners-up – three from freshmen Adam Kring, Craig Theissen and Jason Newburn in the high jump, pole vault and triple jump events, respectively. But as the general theme holds true, this week things will get a little tougher when Indiana’s Aarik Wilson comes to town. The sophomore finished last season as the Big Ten Outdoor triple jump champion, while grabbing runner-up at the NCAA Championships. Wilson is just one of a number of Hoosiers looking to contend in the field events.

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