By Pete Sneider

Daily Sports Writer

While most of Michigan’s top runners on the men’s track team are just trying to find their rhythm, senior Rondell Ruff hasn’t missed a beat. Ruff posted the fastest time in the 800-meter run on Saturday at the Eastern Michigan Invitational. This came just a week after he paced the mile field en route to a victory in Michigan’s home opener at the Jack Harvey Invitational.

“It was another good tune-up race with decent competition,” Ruff said. “We got out pretty slow, but we closed pretty good. At the end, closing so quick, even though we hadn’t been doing any speed work, it lets me know my sprint was there.”

Ruff’s competition at the non-scoring meet came mainly from teammates sophomore Sebastien Lounis and freshman Mike Woods, who finished second and third, respectively. Woods’s indoor debut was a little slow at 1:55.08, but his coach won’t be losing sleep over Canada’s top junior miler.

“We knew it was going to be slow,” Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said. “We just needed a little sharpening. He’s been training hard. He’s been doing a lot of hill work, a lot of long distance stuff. (Times of) 1:54 and 1:55 are fine for him right now, and I’m really happy with that.”

Warhurst was pleased with the rest of 800-meter field as well.

“(It) started out slow and just picked up the pace faster and faster, which indicates that they’re very strong, but not sharp. They don’t want to be sharp now.”

Sophomore Jeff Porter also began his indoor season and finished tied for fourth place in the 60-meter finals with a time of 6.99. Porter, last year’s Big Ten champion in the 60-meter hurdles, is running the dash to improve speed for the hurdles, his main event.

“One of my strengths is speed,” Porter said. “I will win the hurdle race between the hurdles more so than (with) my technique. My technique has to be good, obviously, but the speed is where I’m most dangerous. Helping with that, helping with my start, my speed, so when I put it all together for my hurdles, I’m there.”

Porter’s ability in the 60-meter dash has not gone unnoticed by Warhurst, who said he expects to see more of him in the event down the road.

“If he gets down to 6.80, he might run it in the Big Ten meet,” Warhurst said. “Coach (Fred) LaPlante wanted him to work on his speed.”

Warhurst has a clear set of priorities for the early part of the season but plans to activate most of his roster next week at the Red Simmons Invitational in Ann Arbor.

“Taking everybody home in one piece, that’s the key,” Warhurst said. “You’ll see a good group next week. We should get rolling next week.”

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