There”s nothing better than beating a Spartan except for, perhaps, beating a Spartan on Michigan”s home turf.
That”s exactly what the Michigan men”s track team intends to do at its first home meet of the season. The Wolverines will face Michigan State and Central Michigan at the Michigan Triangular meet Saturday at Ferry Field.
“We”re looking to win it any way we can,” Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said.
And that means putting the best athletes in their best events. Although the Wolverines have not yet competed in a scored meet this season, their performances match up evenly with the other two schools” athletes.
Michigan junior Ike Okenwa, who currently leads the team in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, trails Central Michigan”s Clive Roberts in the 100-meter by just .09 seconds. Okenwa ran 10.85 at last weekend”s Duke Invitational, compared to Roberts” 10.74 last weekend at Indiana.
Similarly, Michigan freshman Brian Turner lags behind Central Michigan”s 2001 indoor track NCAA All-American Jeff DeLong in the 800-meter run. Turner clocked 1:50.89 last weekend, but the same margin of .09 seconds separates him from DeLong”s winning time at Indiana last weekend.
But Michigan co-captains Andy Derr and Josh Sellers each lead the competition entering this weekend in their respective events. Sellers not only leads the Wolverines with his time of 53.38 in the 400-meter hurdles, but also the rest of the competition from Michigan State and Central Michigan. Terry Jenkins of Michigan State is the closest to Sellers in the hurdles, and he still lags .55 seconds behind with his best time. Derr”s toss of 188-11 in the javelin is over 13 feet longer than the 175-01 effort by Michigan State”s Paul Terek.
Although Derr leads Terek in the javelin, Terek, a decathlete, might be the biggest threat to the Wolverines. He set a new school record in the pole vault during the indoor season with his jump of 18-2 3/4, as opposed to Michigan vaulter Charles DeWildt”s personal best of 17-9.
“It should be pretty competitive,” Warhurst said. “I don”t think the competition is strong enough to go out and get any qualifying times (for the NCAA Championships), but in a Big Ten meet, you have to be competitive.”
Competition will begin at 9 a.m. with field events, and running events start at 1 p.m.
So while the Wolverines will attempt to stomp the Spartans, they also intend on catching the Chippewas “any way we can,” in the words of Warhurst to win the first of the scoring meets.