Michigan men’s indoor track team has four elite athletes
who will compete in the NCAA championships. But, not everyone can
compete in nationals, so 16 teammates will go down to cheer for the
four who will take part in the meet.

They’re hoping that they can give their teammates that
added boost by making the track feel like their own. Juniors Nate
Brannen and DarNell Talbert, combine with sophomores Nick Willis
and Andrew Ellerton to make the nation’s No. 1 ranked
distance-medley relay. Going into today’s race, the quartet
is confident.

“We just need to go into it with that mindset, that
we’re the favorite,” Ellerton said.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t win, as long as
we run to our capabilities.”

While Brannen, Willis and Ellerton competed on the distance
medley relay in Arkansas last year and finished third, this will be
Talbert’s first national meet. Talbert’s hard work
throughout the season earned him the right to run the 400-meter
leg, and he will treat the medley like any other race.

“I keep it chill until the day of, and even the hour
before,” Talbert said. “I try not to think about

This race will be different than the others Talbert’s run
in the past — he’ll have some extra support in the

“It’s just as exciting that my mom and dad will be
there,” Talbert said. “My dad has never seen me run a
collegiate race before. It’s just great that they’ll be
there. What better meet to have them there, especially my

Talbert won’t be the only one with some extra support.
Brannen, who will be defending his 800-meter run title, and Willis,
who will try to chase down defending champion Alistair Craigg of
Arkansas in the 3,000-meter run, will both have the aforementioned
fan section of their own.

Last night, 16 Michigan men made the 12-hour drive to
Fayetteville to cheer on their teammates at the Tyson Indoor Track
Center. Packing 16 people into two hotel rooms for the weekend is
just part of the fun. The athletes traveled overnight to make it in
time to see Brannen run his 800-meter preliminaries at 4 this
afternoon. And the group will look forward to the distance-medley
relay tonight at 9.

“We’ll probably have the second biggest group of
fans, only behind Arkansas,” coach Ron Warhurst said.

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