Craig Forys, Sr distance runner for the Michigan Men's T&F team completed a thrilling race running 8:40.66 to finish second in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship Meet in Des Moines, IA! Great job and congratulations on a guty race and fabulous career! Outstanding Michigan Man!!
Congratulations to Craig Forys - Steeplechase Nat'l Runner-up!!
Excellent season for Forys, ran 8:28 back on May 12, so we'll see him at the Olympic Trials. Hopefully a sign of improving distance running for U of M, which was very strong in the early 2000s but has dropped off in recent years.
And, along with the poster below, seems that things need to change in a hurry for these coaches to feel as if they have job security.
You know what they say...the best way to improve your distance running is to recruit from Kenya or Ethiopia.
Outstanding performance by Forys!
The 8 team points collected by Forys were the only points scored by Michigan, and managed to tie the team for 33rd place. The ladies, sadly, registered nary a point. With Craig graduating, I hope there are some Wolverine tracksters ready to take up the torch next year and make a bit more of a showing in the Big Ten and NCAAs.
Congrats to Forys. And to make it even sweeter, he edged out an OSU runner for second place.
He should have finished third; the guy in second place fell on the last hurdle and ended up in fourth.
One must master both running AND hurdling to suceed in steeplechase. Not Craig's fault the other runner neglected the latter.
...that a Michigan alumnus won the NCAA Steeplechase in 1983. Went on to win a Bronze in the Olympics the very next year.
Saw him just today...got a "man hug" from him, even.
but I believe Brian Diemer is still the last American male to win a medal in distance running at the Olympics.
...right on that. Certainly, he is the last American w/ an Olympic medal in the Steeplechase.
Interesting interview I just found (also note the related links at the bottom of that page).
...video. 1984 Olympic 3000M Steeplechase Final. I remember watching this as Brian was a bit of a local hero as well as a not too distant relative (but not close enough for me to know him at that time). He is a former coach (though I wasn't a runner) and now someone I consider a friend. He is one of the classiest individuals I know.
if you don't count the marathon
Did some landscaping for me a few years ago. A family business, I believe. (Everett's Landscaping.)
Given the athletic department commitment to excellence in every sport, I would guess the U of M track and field coaches might be on the hot seat.
Indoor Big Ten Championships - Woman 8th, Men 10th (of 11)
Outdoor Big Ten Championships - Woman 7th, Men 9th (of 11)
I know that Men's XC had a good year, but we need to get better at track, both men and woman.
It pains me to see the depth that UM has gotten to. Spent many a year in SEC country, know many of the coaches personally, watched them recruit and train their athletes, even sent some of my atheles to them and their programs (before you ask, none of my D1 prospects wanted to go "that far north," trust me, Michigan was always HIGHLY spoken of around them!). So somewhere I lost contact with the happenings in AA as it pertains to T&F, but, WOW!! Not in my lifetime have I seen these types of team results.
Great people, I'm sure, talented people, I'm sure, both athletes & coaches, but production WITH character has always been a hallmark of all Michigan Sports!
...T&F (emphasis on the F) athlete at a D3 school, I will say that our season is INCREDIBLY short. Practice starts on Feb 1. Can't throw outside for another 6 weeks. Throwing inside on a makeshift ring w/ an over sized indoor shot can only go so far. Then, when it IS warm enough to go outside, you are still dealing with melting snow flowing through the ring...as well as mud and general yuckiness. Then, the spring trip down south.
We did compete against D1 schools on that trip (and did relatively well) -against both Big 10 (Minn.) ~AND~ SEC (Auburn). It seemed the SEC schools dominated running (especially sprinting) while the North schools were better at field events -my 4th place finish for a DIII athlete was pretty good, I thought, but Auburn had no representation in the shot.
And then our "season" was roughly 2 weeks long. 4 actual meets and then the conference finals. And then we were done. The more gifted athletes that qualified for nationals had another couple weeks. Certainly not the lengthy season of Basketball and Football...or even, dare I mention...soccer.
Thankfully, indoor seasons have now begun at my alma mater, but we didn't have the facility for that at that time.
While I know your reference is to D1, I still think that,even w/ a genuine indoor season, the short and cold outdoor season keeps a lot of talent from coming here.
First, I cannot disagree with your personal experience, nor do I want to, and yes, the weather plays a role, however, the attractiveness of the B1G institutions is STILL a major draw for talent which is also looking for a top notch education. With Michigan, and many of the conference schools, facilities are not a problem and are on par with what is available across the top tier programs around the country. What appears to have happened is that the recruiting of top talent has not been consistent through the years. There was a time when Michigan fielded great sprinters, distance runners AND field event athletes...every year, and not just conference class, but national class. In the SEC, sorry, don't throw stones, they are that good, to get money, you have to be able to come in as a freshperson and score at the Conference meet. To get serious support, you have to be able to come in and scorte at the National meet. As one coach put it, "potential gets me fired."
Also, I'd like to point out that southern talent 'does' come north. A few years ago, a set of twins, highly sort after distance runners came up from Del Ray Beach Atlantic high school to run at Indiana. The Florida 4A H.S. state triple jump champion, and number 3 ranked TJ in the nation, when to Wisconsin out of Gainesville Eastside; the 4A State Long Jump Champ went to Iowa out of Gainesville Buchholz H.S. I mention these as an examples known to me as I coached against the twins during their H.S. career, and coached the other two during my tenure at the respective schools. The selling point in the past, as it is now, is what does being in your program under you tultelage get or do for me? Does your track record (pun only partially intended) indicate that I will improve, become national, even world class before I graduate? WIll I have a shot of winning conference and National championships as an individual and as a team before I complete my eligibility.
Lastly, there is great talent, WITH speed for sprints, STRENGTH, as you pointed out, for field events, and stamina for distance running right in our back yard. Recruit to keep it at home, and then get the top talent you can get from elsewhere. If the opportunity is appealing enough, they will come.
I tend to agree more with the second poster here... I think the Big Ten Conference and Michigan name should be a huge pull in track and field, especially given that we use the full scholarship allocation and have top notch facilities. Dave Brandon is committed to using the money from football to get the best coaches and athletes in every other sport, so this should be happening in track, and clearly things are not going well.
I was a varsity track and field athlete at an Ivy League school before coming to U of M for grad school. While the ivies have the benefit of generous financial aid and academic prestige, they still have the challenge of the weather, and no scholarships, but seem to be thriving in spite of this. Michigan really has no excuse.
In T&F, coaches, not team, matters more to athletes. The best are in Big 12 and SEC. They flock to the schools in both conference. However there are exceptions like Oregon with excellent long distance coaching that the top Lon distance runners goes to Oregon. For field events, the best goes to Ashland, a D2 school, for hammer, discuss and shot put
Great job Craig! Go Blue!
This concludes the Michigan 2011-12 athletic season. What amazing year it's been.
I briefly ran for the Maize and Blue, and so it's important to see them be successful. Michigan has had or did have many long-term coaches, some of which have left in recent years (Warhurst being the foremost). Henry (women's) and LaPlante (men) have been around for a significant amount of time, particulary Henry, and the program's haven't improved much. Now, Wisconsin is a conference powerhouse, and Penn State has had some good teams, particuarly on the women's side a few years ago, but Michigan should be more competitive. It might be time to replace the head coaches on both sides. Plus, there were questions about what really happened when, after Michigan's surprise title in 2008 (I believe) why Warhurst and LaPlante switched places. (being a distance coach, I'd rather just be able to do my thing and let someone else run the team, until it involves scholarships, that's a different beast).
Gibby needs time, as he seems to coach more toward the 5 and 10k, longer distances, where Warhurst really, really excelled with that 1500 - 5000 type runner throughout his career. And I think Gibby is going to be good in the long run.
Not sure what is going on with McGuire. The women were exceptionally tough, pushing Wisconsin to the edge or beating them, and then after the about 2006, it's been rough since. He's had some good runners, but not dominant like prior. And it was shortly after that run that Stanford allegedly came calling, and he turned them down. Of course, I don't think he has the professional group he had in the mid 2000s of Anna Pierce, Katie Waites, Lindsey Gallo, and others (another 1500 meter runner from Cornell). That might play a role.
I did notice the men had only 3 paid coaches, with 4 volunteer assistants. While two are probably Gibby's former runners still training with him, you'd like to see all the event groups at a Big Ten school actually getting at least part time pay.
I saw Warhurst speak at an event, and he made it pretty clear that he had been forced out of the Michigan job. While I can see some justification for this, it seems like the program has not take a step forward at all in recent years, especially on the track (non-distance/XC) side of things.
On the distance side, Gibby is new and did extremely well at William and Mary. My concern with him is that his approach from W&M might now work that well at U of M. There, he got a lot of mid level distance running talent (9:20-9:30 HS 2 mile types), cranked up the mileage, and made them into a strong XC team that scored in the 5K/10K at the conference meet. At Michigan, we should be building a deep all around track program, and Gibby will have the opportunity to get some higher level talent. For these reasons, his approach will have to be tweaked. Given the performance of Forys, he is doing this well thus far in my estimation.
On the non-distance side, we need to do something to become more competitive in the Big Ten. I'm not as knowledgeable in this area, but perhaps we need some coaching changes, or some well-paid top assistants that can attract talent.