The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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64 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2017   OLYMPIC SPORTS UPDATE MEN'S TRACK & FIELD LOOKING TO BUILD OFF LAST SEASON The 2016 U-M track and field sea- son was the best of head coach Jerry Clayton's tenure in Ann Arbor, and the fourth-year head coach will be looking to build off that success heading into 2017. "We've really come a long way in three years," he said. "The theme this year is consistency. We'd like to get to the point where we're always in the conversation for the top three [in the Big Ten]. When I first got here, the goal was to be in the top five, but now I think we can move that up a bit. "Consistency is probably the big- gest key. Not just in the kids' perfor- mance, but in everything they do on and off the track. We talk a lot about opportunity and taking advantage of it, and being consistent will give them the opportunity to be success- ful. If each individual is successful, our team will be as well." The makeup of the squad has changed during Clayton's time at the helm. "I feel we've made the step toward becoming a more balanced program," he explained. "In my first year, we had too many events where we didn't have any entries or ended up with zero points [at the Big Ten Championships]. "Last year at the outdoor champion- ships, we had 21 events and scored in 16 of those. Our strength now is that we are balanced, and I think it's quite clear when looking at distance events to field events to the sprints and hurdles." Clayton wasn't afraid to single out a few of his athletes who need to have outstanding seasons if the Wol- verines want to be successful. "There's always the marquee ones, such as Big Ten champion [in the hep- tathlon and fifth-year senior] Steven Bastien," he said. "There's also [soph- omore sprinter] Taylor McLaughlin, who came in as a freshman and wound up a Big Ten champion. Then you've got others who scored high points in the conference also in that group of champions, like [junior distance run- ner] Ben Flanagan. There's also [red- shirt junior thrower] Grant Cartwright, who had a very good outdoor score. "[Redshirt junior distance runner] Aaron Baumgarten made huge im- provements in cross country and ran well last year; we see him stepping forward. We need [redshirt junior sprinter] Khoury Crenshaw healthy because when he is, he's been dyna- mite. I hope I'm not forgetting any- body, but those are the ones we need a lot of leadership out of." While Clayton said there isn't one specific thing that has to happen to consider 2017 a success, he explained that the team has set numerous goals for themselves. "We have a system where each event coach meets with their athletes individually and talks about goals for them," he said. "The team then divides into three areas and comes up with what their goals are as a group. I think realistic goals are get- ting better, being more consistent and constantly being in the top three." — Austin Fox WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD LOOKS TO CONTINUE SUCCESS IN 2017 Like so many of Michigan's coaches, women's track and field coach James Henry has experienced tremendous success during his tenure at U-M. During his 32 years at the helm, Henry has guided the Wolverines to 206 individual Big Ten titles, 10 indi- vidual national championships and four NCAA relay titles. Last season, he led the Maize and Blue to their best season since a program-best third- place finish in 2008 by placing sixth at the NCAA Championships. Expecta- tions will be high once again in 2017. "Expectations are always the same," Henry explained. "The phi- losophy since [then-athletics director] Don Canham hired me X number of years ago has been to work hard, do things the right away, don't break any rules and have fun in the process. "We've always gone about our business that way, but over time we've also added 'be in position to win a Big Ten championship.'" Henry shared some valuable les- sons he's learned during his time at Michigan that will be applied to this year's team. "The cool part about coaching is that the kids are here for four or five years, but every year there's a new crop of kids coming in and a crop going out," he said. "You get these young, imma- ture, unconfident kids and you have to mold them. You're also very proud of the fact that you have a group of mature, self-confident kids who are heading out into the world to embark on their own professional careers. "Every year there's always a new be- ginning, along with an unfortunate end for the seniors, but at the same time it's a new beginning for them, too." While every athlete on the roster will be a valuable asset to the 2017 team, Henry did single out a few ar- eas of extra importance this season. "Our bread and butter is always our middle-distance and distance program," he said. "They just came off of an individual being runner-up in the NCAA [for cross country], and they were second as a team in the NCAA. We're in good shape when our success is led by our middle-dis- tance and distance." Henry pointed out a few key fac- tors in having a successful campaign. "We need to be healthy and we need to be lucky," he said. "That's usually the case for programs in position to win a Big Ten title. I think we'll be there, but we're going to need some luck. Those two things have happened the last cou- ple years, which has helped us win the title, and we're hoping the same thing happens this upcoming season." — Austin Fox Fifth-year senior Steven Bastien, Michigan's first-ever All-American in the heptathlon (2015 and '16) and decathlon (2016), won the Big Ten title in the heptathlon with a school-record score during last year 's indoor season. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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