Spring Preview Invitational Coach’s Notes

The Men’s 2015 season kicked with with a low-profile, yet competitive field at the Ann Arbor Running Co. Spring Preview at the University of Michigan Indoor Track Building on Thursday night.  It was both an opportunity for many to get back into the rhythm of the competition setting and for coaches and athletes to find out where the team’s strengths and depths are built.

Kicking off the meet in the first heat of the Men’s 1600m was Conor Donnelly (10th, 4:40.20)  who came in looking to run a little faster, but still ran a very admirable race getting himself in the mix of the lead pack for the majority of the race – and he did it in trainers!  In the 2nd heat was Zach Reynolds (5:05.79) and Jacob Thomas (5:11.11) who took turns leading each other and put on a fine display of two teammates racing together and not against each other.  In the 3rd heat was Garrett Peck (5:13.95), Cooper Klein-Kassab (5:20.99) and Kobi Eichner (5:22.80).  In their heat, Cooper led the way the majority of the way as Kobi and Garrett worked off of his pacing and with 400m to go Garrett put on a monstrous finish and caught a handful of competitors from behind. For their hard work and great efforts, the team of Reynolds, Thomas, Peck and Klein-Kassab came back for a 4x800m relay (9:43.34) – getting in a nice day’s work at the meet.  Nice job milers!

The field events kicked off with a new School-Record in the Pole Vault by Gabe Kardia (11’ 0.00”)!!!  1st meet of the year and a school record is a heck of a way to start off the season – future’s looking bright for his young man!  In the Long Jump we had 2 veterans athletes trying an event for the first time in Brennan Edmunds (16’ 2.00”) and Guy Brent (15’ 7.25”), both athletes doubled back in the 4x200m (more on that shortly) which is quickly looking like it could develop into an event with a tons of depth!  Brandon Boyd (6th, 7.38) not only made the Final of the 60m Dash, but also placed 6th even though he had an unfortunate slip out of the blocks! Luckily, he recovered well and made up ground quickly to earn a medal; had not been for the rough start, he could have very well been Top 3!

The 800m race saw three young men who were brand new to the event, but were up for the challenge when asked to compete in it. A hyped and anxious Sabir Islam (2:21.24) led the charge in their heat, coming through the 200m in a blistering 28.6, and the 400m in 62.4 with Caleb Spall (2:23.88) and Ben Shotwell (2:32.93) following in splits of 32.5/68.5 and 33.9/69.9. Unfortunately the aggressive pace took a toll on him in the second half, but Sabir fought hard and finished the race with a 0.45-PR always a nice way to start the season.  Caleb and Ben played their cards in the reverse manner, starting with a more conservative effort then working their way up through the race, building more momentum and drive each lap. All three took away a great learning experience in their first crack at an indoor 800m race!

In the Shot, Hunter Goodman (36′ 9.00″) led the way with a new PR (Personal Record)!  Not far behind him was Sherwin Valentine (36′ 0.00″) and the PV-Specialist, Gabe Kardia (28′ 6.00″) trying out the throwing events for the very first time ever.  I have to thank these three boys for being so patient and their ability to mentally stay focused for so long because they were all placed in the final flight of the night! That meant they started throwing at around 9:30pm!

In the 4x200m we entered in 2 teams that were divided up evenly to create some fun competition within the Sprint-Squad; Team 1 consisted of Edmunds, Jordan Tirico, Wayne Wang and Tim Nelson-Slaton. Team 2 consisted of Ryo Suzuki, Boyd, Jacob “Bacon” Windsor and Brent. Team 2 finished ahead in 10th overall with a time of 1:39.77 over Team 1 who was 15th in 1:42.33.  Windsor (15th, 56.61) and Nelson-Slaton (8th, 54.82) both doubled back into the 4×200 from the 400m (short recovery time) showing their speed and strength in these events.  That was Windsor’s first ever 400m race (very nice job!) and Nelson-Slaton showed patience and power, coming off the final turn to pass his competition and winning his heat. Tim continued onto the High Jump (7th, 5’ 7.00”) where it was cut short unfortunately with him landing on the crossbar right on his tailbone – ouch! However, still determined to run the 4x400m and refusing to let him teammates down, he mustered up everything he had left into his leg of the relay to ensure his relay-mates got their opportunity to compete in the event.  We’ve touched briefly as a team about what it is to be “a great teammate” and Tim’s display of selflessness and efforts are true characteristics of what a great teammate should be, well done Tim!

Full Race Results can be found here.

Full Race Stats/Splits can be found here.


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