U of M Men - Ferlic, Michigan Claim Top Spots at Big Ten Preview
Provided by U of M
Site: Iowa City, Iowa. (Ashton Cross Country Course)
Meet: Big Ten Preview (8,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 1st Place of 5 Teams (19 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 1st (24:32)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Sept. 26 -- at Coast-to-Coast Bean Town Battle (Boston, Mass), 3 p.m.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The 22nd-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team placed four individuals among the top five, including individual winner Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy), to win the Big Ten Preview with 19 points on Saturday (Sept. 20). The 8K race at the Ashton Cross Country Course served as a preview for the Big Ten Championships course, as the conference event will be hosted by Iowa on Sunday, Nov. 2.
Behind Ferlic, junior Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D./Rapid City Central) finished in second at 24:39.83, while sophomore Ben Flanagan (Kitchener, Ontario/St. Mary's) took fourth at 24:46.
Ferlic captured his first collegiate win, completing the 8,000-meter course in 24:32, to lead the Wolverines to victory. After a strong opening push from the Maize and Blue, Ferlic and Smoragiewicz helped pace the Wolverine group that led the field. U-M remained in control for much of the race, until an Iowa push came on late, forcing Smoragiewicz, Flanagan and Ferlic to respond and hold onto the top few places.
Outside the top five, sophomore/freshman Aaron Baumgarten (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) crossed the finish line at 24:46 to claim fifth, while fifth-year senior James Yau (Troy, Mich./Troy) claimed seventh place with a time of 25:15. Senior/junior Nick Posada (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park crossed nearly two seconds later to complete the field's top 10, and classmate Scotty Albaugh (Waterford, Mich./Waterford Mott) finished in 25:25.35 to claim 13th place and round out the top seven for the Maize and Blue.
The Wolverines return to action early in October with the Blue and Gold Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The 8,000-meter race hosted by Notre Dame is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 3.
1. MICHIGAN 19
2. Iowa 50
3. Wisconsin 64
4. Kansas State 112
Top 10 Finishers
1. MASON FERLIC, U-M 24:32.63
2. TONY SMORAGIEWICZ, U-M 24:39.83
3. Kevin Lewis, Iowa 24:44.72
4. BEN FLANAGAN, U-M 24:46.43
5. AARON BAUMGARTEN, U-M 24:53.31
6. Joe McAsey, Wisconsin 25:15.61
7. JAMES YAU, U-M 25:15.81
8. Ben Anderson, Iowa 25:17.52
9. Ryan Kromer, Wisconsin 25:17.54
10. NICK POSADA, U-M 25:17.61
Other U-M Finishers
13. Scotty Albaugh 25:25.35
16. Connor Mora 25:40.77
18. Will Burke 25:46.42
19. Austin Benoit 25:49.62
21. Cody Snavely 26:06.34
26. Eddie Cunningham 26:43.70
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Kevin Sullivan
On the team's approach to the race and how he felt they executed it..."Whether it was us controlling the pace, or sitting back and letting another team control the pace, the mindset we came in with was just to have a controlled first half of the race. It ended up being that we got out early and were able to control the pace for the first two and a half miles or so. Then Mason kind of took control, gradually ramping the pace up. Mason, Tony and Ben broke away with a few runners from Iowa and Wisconsin and over the last mile, Mason continued to test himself to break that pack up and take the win."
On seeing some competition other than fellow U-M runners ... "It was good in terms of being able to be competitive and race some guys. Iowa had a couple of solid runners and we were able to put five guys in front of their second runner, so that's something we did really well. Wisconsin left three or four guys at home, so we didn't get as good a barometer on what Wisconsin has to offer; we know they're going to be a lot stronger, so I would take their result with a grain of salt."
U-M Senior/Junior Mason Ferlic
On his impressions of the race from a team perspective ... "I think it was a fantastic showing from all of the guys on the team. We just tried to stick with the race plan, which was to just run controlled and together for the first half. Coach Sullivan wanted us to get in a rhythm and really work together as a team. That's something we did very well right off the bat. Tony, Ben and I went to the front and tried to set the rhythm of the race. We took control and dictated how the race played out. All of the guys on our team responded perfectly. They got in a group right behind us and looked very composed. We were basically together 100 percent as a team up front, one through 12. A little past halfway we got the signal from Coach Sullivan and we tried to ratchet the pace down and get in a faster group. We were practicing staying composed and putting pressure on the other racers. Each kilometer after that was about bringing things up a notch. With about 2K to go, we were challenged by a runner from Iowa and it gave me the opportunity to race someone one-on-one. He surged a bit and I thought Tony, Aaron and I responded and really closed well over the last kilometer. It was great practice for the course and for closing late."
On his individual victory and the emotions surrounding it ... "It's always fun to win a race. It's a great feeling to feel in control and finish strong, and that's what happened today. I was happy with the race and the way I executed on a personal level and the way we competed as a team. I was happy with how things turned out. I was strong over the last kilometer before I really changed gears and upped the rhythm, and I felt good doing that. The last kilometer of the course was a little challenging and I pulled away and felt strong, so now it's just about keeping the ball rolling as far as how I felt today, and just trying to bring that to races in the future."
On the value of seeing the Big Ten Championships course so early in the season ... "It was a very smart idea for us to run in this meet. We definitely learned a lot from this course. The course looked relatively easy from an overhead perspective, because it's just two big loops around the field, but when you actually run it, it can be quite challenging. There are spots where it throws you off your rhythm with short hills and tight turns. Getting exposure to that and getting to run it once before the championship race means that is one less thing to deal with for us down the road. We're familiar with the course now, so we can focus on other competitors and not having to worry about something like a hill sneaking up on you. You really know where we can open it up or where you have to hold back, so I think it's going to be valuable experience before the Big Ten Championships."
On the group of Wolverines that dictated the pace up front ... "Tony Smoragiewicz had a great race. He is really coming on strong and you can see that his work over the summer and the way he has approached workouts is really paying off for him. Ben Flanagan ran well today, too. He faded a bit down the stretch and I know that was not the way he wanted to finish, but he deserves a lot of credit for the way he pushed the pace today."
U-M Junior Tony Smoragiewicz
On the final stretch of the race, where he pushed himself back into second place ... "Going into the race, we talked to Coach Sullivan and he wanted the team to try and stay in control through the first half of it, so once we got to the two-and-a-half or three-mile mark, Mason and Ben made a move and I just followed along with them. Going into the last mile there is a steep downhill that Mason took off on and the Iowa runner went with him, so they had a little gap on me. I wasn't really sure if I would be able to close the gap, and then as I came around the last uphill stretch, Coach Lopez was there cheering us on. He told us that we could either tempo in the rest of the way because we had a pretty good gap on the next team and it wouldn't affect the scoring, or we could go hard and try to pass the guy from Iowa. I still felt like I had quite a bit left in the tank, so I felt good and ended up passing him around the 500-meter mark and kept going strong to the finish."
On his high finishes in the season's first two events ... "This is where I wanted to be when I came to Michigan, but my first two years were not up to my expectations. I had some good races my first season of cross country, but last year I didn't do as well because I was injured for the majority of the season. It seems like my fitness is really coming around right now and I'm pretty happy with where things are going."
Contact: Chad Shepard