The Michigan men’s track team traveled to South Bend on Friday for the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational, an un-scored two day meet. This invitational is just one in a series of meets that the Wolverines will be attending to prepare for the Big Ten Championship on February 22.

“You get a sense of what you’re dealing with,” said Michigan coach Fred LaPlante. “I think the good thing is it takes away the intimidation factor.”

Junior Herman Washington advanced through the prelims and semifinals in the 60-meter hurdles on Friday and stepped to the line Saturday to race in the finals. He didn’t run his fastest time, but fast enough to take third place and beat conference rivals from Ohio State and Iowa.

“To line up next to them before the Big Ten meeting was a big confidence boost,” Washington said.

Throughout the remainder of the season Washington plans to help his teammates stay focused and positive. He has made it a point to be in everyone’s ear — especially after a bad race — to remind them not to get down on themselves.

Redshirt sophomore Nick Kern and redshirt freshman August Pappas looked strong for Michigan in the 3,000-meter race, with Kern running a personal-best 8:23.85 to take second, and Pappas, not far behind, finishing fifth with a time of 8:26.05.

“We weren’t looking to put down any huge marks,” Kern said. “We wanted to just make good decisions and perform well, and to have August right behind me was good.”

This was Kern’s first race of the year, and Pappas’ first collegiate 3,000-meter race, so their performances are positive signs for the Wolverines moving towards the Big Ten Championship. Kern said he is not set on running just the 3K, and he is willing to bounce around to find out where he can contribute the most.

Michigan left the meet with nine top-10 finishes including junior captain Ali Arastu who finished ninth in the 400-meter run. Arastu also helped the 4×400-meter relay team drop three seconds from last week and take a sixth place finish.

The energy was not quite the same as it was against Michigan State a week ago, but the Wolverines were able to race well — and more importantly at this point of the season, leave with a healthy team. Even without running its best times, Michigan got a preview of some of the Big Ten teams that they will be facing in two weeks.

“I think we matched anyone else who was out there in terms of focus, so that was good,” LaPlante said.

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