Despite finishing third and falling short of qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championship, the No. 11 Michigan men’s indoor track team closed out the Big Ten Indoor Championships Feb. 23 on a high note.

Fifth-year senior Andrew Ellerton and sophomore Lex Williams led the Wolverines with first-place finishes in the 800-meter and 5,000 meter-runs, respectively, at the two-day event in Bloomington. The Wolverines fell short of Wisconsin’s title-winning 120 points despite 16 scoring efforts in 13 of the events.

Ellerton, who had already notched a win earlier in the weekend as part of the distance medley relay team, won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:50.19. The victory gave Ellerton his second career title in the event.

Throughout the race, Ellerton was shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the field. But with the last turn approaching, Ellerton separated himself from the rest of the pack and took the lead once and for all.

Williams’s first-place finish in the 5,000-meter run earned him his first conference title, and was a marked improvement from his 10th-place effort last season. In the final 1,200 meters of Saturday’s race, the sophomore dominated the rest of the field, taking the lead and never looking back.

“My poor performance last year was still lingering in my mind,” Williams said. “This (win) helped to put last year’s (race) behind me.”

Williams was followed closely by hardworking freshman Brandon Fellows, who used a late surge to finish third in 14:19.16.

“It was exciting to have teammate Brandon Fellows finishing third and putting us in contention to place well as a team going into the last event of the meet,” Williams said.

Williams and Fellows both scored for the Wolverines in the 3,000-meter run on Friday as well.

Senior hurdler Jeff Porter came a mere .019 seconds short of capturing a first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles, falling to defending Big Ten champion Ricky Pinckney of Purdue. But this past weekend at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Porter obliterated his own school record in the event, finishing in 7.70 seconds, .06 ahead of Pinckney.

Michigan also received strong performances at Big Tens from seniors Michael Whitehead and Stan Waithe. Whitehead placed second in the triple jump, while Waithe finished fourth in the 400-meter dash.

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