Whereas most sports use the regular season to determine conference championships track and field has but one meet to determine who wins the Big Ten.

“Track and field is a whole different animal,” Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said.

The high stakes meet forces athletes to use the season as training for the Big Ten Championships, leaving dual meets, such as this weekend”s at Indiana, primarily to work on different lineups and compete against quality competition. The Wolverines take on the Hoosiers at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Indiana came to Ann Arbor last year and left with an 85-77 victory.

The team will need strong performances from Jeremy Schneider, tri-captain Ike Okenwa and Brent Sheffer. Last week, Schneider was named Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Week his time of 49.44 in the 400-meter dash gave Michigan its only victory in the season”s opening meet.

“He”s been really determined,” Warhurst said. “We”ll need him to step up.”

Okenwa will have to pick up the slack for another captain, Derek Applewhite.

Applewhite, the team”s top hurdler, injured his hamstring last week and could not finish his race.

He has been training and expects to return for the Red Simmons Invitational on Jan. 19.

Okenwa won the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes in last year”s dual meet.

The distance runners who are the deepest unit on the team should have a strong showing even without phenom Allan Webb.

Webb and fellow blue-chipper Nathan Taylor have not yet competed during this indoor season. As national contenders in their respected events, the two freshmen have a tiresome schedule ahead of them.

“(Webb) and Nate have a long season ahead of them.” Warhurst said. Webb, who was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year in cross country, ran during the fall and will compete both indoors and outdoors. Three seasons (in addition to national championship meets) could be draining if he is not careful.

Warhurst noted that he must be wary that Allan has much more on his plate than just the indoor season a problem that many coaches would love to have.

“Allan probably wouldn”t have to run a race and could still win at Big Tens,” Warhurst said.

Webb and Taylor are also expected to return for the Red Simmons Invitational.

Competing in the pole-vault, Brent Sheffer headlines the field events. His leap of 4.88 meters was good enough for second in last weeks meet, and first amongst those who were NCAA eligible. The non-scoring meet also featured former student-athletes who ran unattached.

Shorthanded with nothing to lose the Wolverines plan to build upon each week en route to the Big Ten Championship.

“We just try to be prepared for Big Ten”s,” Warhurst said. “Our record has nothing to do with it.”

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