Wolverine Trio Slated to Go West for NCAA Outdoor Championships
Wed-Fri., June 10-12 -- at NCAA Outdoor Championships (Eugene, Ore.)
The University of Michigan men's track and field team will be represented by fifth-year seniors Cody Riffle and Morsi Rayyan and senior/junior Mason Ferlic at the NCAA Outdoor Championships from June 10-13 at the University of Oregon's historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
For Riffle and Rayyan, this weekend's meet represents their second trip to the national outdoor meet, while Ferlic is making his third journey out west.
Twelve competitors from the east and west regions in each individual event and 12 teams from each relay event advanced from the preliminary championship competitions to NCAA Outdoors.
FOLLOW THE MEET
* All Times Pacific Daylight
*All times and seeds listed are based on athletes' performances at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (May 27-30).
|3,000m steeplechase||Mason Ferlic/2||8:35.45|
|Shot Put||Cody Riffle/15||62-3.25 ft. (18.98m)|
MAIZE AND BLUE SCHEDULE
The competitive events for U-M this weekend:
|3,000m steeplechase||Mason Ferlic||Wednesday June 10, 4:38 p.m. (Semifinal)|
Friday June 12, 4:57 p.m. (Final)
|Shot Put||Cody Riffle/15||Wednesday June 10 5:30 p.m. (Final)|
|10,000m||Morsi Rayyan||Wednesday June 10, 6:43 p.m. (Final)|
|5,000m||Mason Ferlic||Friday June 12, 6:30 p.m. (Final)|
• The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be hosted by the University of Oregon for the third consecutive year, and the meet will remain at historic Hayward Field through 2021.
• From the Big Ten, only Nebraska (10), Illinois (9), Ohio State (8), Penn State (5) and Wisconsin (5) have more entries than the Maize and Blue (4) at this year's NCAA Outdoor Championships.
• With 61 entries in total, the Big Ten Conference ranks third in the nation (among men's programs) in total participants. Between men's and women's entries combined, the Big Ten boasts 109 total athletes, fourth best of any conference just behind the ACC (113) and ahead of the Big 12 (107).
• The 18 throws entries supplied by the Big Ten men lead the nation; aside from the SEC's 16 entries and the Pac-12's 14 throws entries, the Big Ten has at least twice as many entries as any other conference in such events.
• Eight distance entries for the Big Ten ranks only behind the Pac-12 and ACC's 12 entries; no other conference has more than five. With three entries in all (5K, 10K, 3,000m steeplechase), U-M supplies nearly half of the entries for the Big Ten Conference in such events.
• Sportsmanship Awards: The Big Ten Conference named its Outstanding Sportsmanship Award recipients this week(June 3). Morsi Rayyan and Cody Riffle earned programs' indoor and outdoor season sportsmanship awards, respectively. Senior/junior Tony Smoragiewicz earned the recognition for the cross country season last fall.
Mason Ferlic • Senior/Junior • 3,000m Steeplechase • St. Paul, Minnesota
• Ferlic, who is making his third straight trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, is a returning first team All-American in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after a fourth-place finish closed his 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships experience. His time of 8:35.45 at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds was a career best and the second-fastest time in either region, giving the Wolverine co-captain the No. 2 overall seed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The time also ranks sixth on U-M's all-time performance list.
• Ferlic is one of four 'Distance Doublers' headed to Hayward Field and is the only athlete doubling in the steeple and 5K as well as the only distance doubler from the NCAA East Region. The other three competing athletes (Oregon's Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins and UCLA's Lance Werley), all from the west, will run in the 5K and 10K. Many other athletes are doubling in sprints and in field events.
• Ferlic has been Michigan's most consistent elite athlete all season, and he fronts a talented pair of distance runners ready to represent the Maize and Blue in Eugene. The distance program has soared to new heights under first-year head cross country coach and assistant track coach Kevin Sullivan, a three-time Olympian, 16-time Big Ten champion and 14-time All-American -- the most decorated runner in U-M history.
• In fact, U-M was the only team in the Big Ten to score in every single mid-distance and distance event (the 800m race, mile run, 3K, 5K and distance medley relay) at the indoor conference championships last February. The Wolverines scored in the 800m run, 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m run and 10,000m run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in May.
• After his 13th-place finish in 2013 earned him second team honors and his fourth-place finish in 2014 brought first-team accolades, Ferlic is poised to become Michigan's first-ever three-time All-American in the steeple. Prior to Ferlic, Michigan's last back-to-back All-American in the steeple was Craig Forys, who accomplished the feat with ninth- and second-place finishes in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Before Forys, it was John Mortimer in 1997-98, a former teammate of current distance coach Kevin Sullivan.
• Ferlic's runner-up finish in the 5K at the preliminary rounds double-punched his ticket out west. The St. Paul, Minnesota, native ran 13:57.88 less than 24 hours after securing his place in the national field of the 3,000m steeplechase, solidifying his standing as a 'distance doubler' for this weekend.
• Now with bids in both events, Mason Ferlic has the opportunity to become U-M's first All-American in both the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000-meter run since John Mortimer in 1998, also the last time any Wolverine achieved the honor in more than one event during the same season.
Morsi Rayyan • Fifth-year Senior • 10,000m • Dewitt, Michigan
• After a redshirt year during the 2013 outdoor season, Rayyan has now advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in back-to-back campaigns in the 10,000m run. He earned the 10th qualifying spot in the east region, running 30:08.83 to secure his bid out west.
• In fact, due to the timing of the 10,000m run, Rayyan was the first-ever national qualifier under assistant coach Kevin Sullivan, now closing his first year at the helm of the distance program in Ann Arbor.
• Rayyan's place in the 10K final gives U-M back-to-back qualifiers in the race for the first time since John Scherer achieved the feat in three consecutive seasons (1987-89). Prior to Rayyan last year, Mike Wisniewski (2002) was Michigan's most-recent qualifier.
• At last year's Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Rayyan ran a career-best 10,000m time of 29:12.94 to finish seventh and move into 10th on U-M's all-time performance list. With 15 runners in the 24-man field owning sub-30-minute times, it figures to be Rayyan's most quickly paced race of the season.
Cody Riffle • Fifth-year Senior • Shot Put • Toledo, Ohio
• Fifth-year senior co-captain Cody Riffle and senior/junior Derek Sievers competed in a season-long battle for shot put supremacy, with each owning one of the program records (indoor, Sievers; outdoor, Riffle) by season's end. Ultimately it was Riffle who punched his ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, launching a 62-3.25 ft. (18.98m) throw to win his heat at the NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds in Jacksonville, Florida, and finish ninth in the region overall.
• At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships (May 17), Riffle launched a lifetime-best throw of 63-7.5 ft. (19.39m) to set the bar for the program's outdoor shot put record. That mark is more than two and a half feet farther than the throw that scored him ninth place in this event in 2013 (61-1.25 ft.; 18.62m), illustrating just how stiff the competition is this season, especially in the east.
• The east region owned 10 of the top 12 marks in the shot heading into the east prelims weekend, including eight of the top nine overall, placing Riffle in a loaded field, where he was seeded 13th. Riffle outperformed his seed significantly to finish ninth and secure his place on the trip out west.
• Riffle has the opportunity to give U-M shot put All-Americans in three consecutive outdoor seasons, an accomplishment that has not been met since Wolverine Fritz Nilsson earned the distinction from 1952-54. Michigan had undergone a shot put drought prior to this productive duo, with the last All-American prior to Riffle's second-team honors in 2013 being Dave Owen in 1956-57.
• Michigan Sports Television's Ed Kengerski spoke with both Riffle and Sievers one week before the conference meet about their battle for the shot put records in this video piece from MSTV. Kengerski got some great insight from the duo, learning about different throwing styles and their mismatched practice schedules.
THE COACHING STAFF
• Jerry Clayton is in his second season as the head coach with the University of Michigan men's track and field program and works primarily with the Wolverine throwers and jumpers. A Big Ten alum and Midwest native, Clayton took over the Wolverine program after spending the previous 15 seasons at Auburn University. At the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, he led Bradley James to the program's first high jump title since 1996, and this year he helped Wolverine throwers score in the shot put and javelin events, including a lifetime best from Cody Riffle in the shot put to set the new program record.
• In his first outdoor season, he guided eight Wolverine athletes to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds and helped Derek Sievers to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Now in 2015, Clayton guided a pair of shot putters to compete at the NCAA East Region Preliminary Rounds, with Riffle joining Sievers, only this time the roles will be reversed as it is Riffle who will compete in Eugene.
• Under Clayton, Wolverine throwers have set program records in the indoor and outdoor shot put as well as top-10 marks in the discus, javelin and decathlon in just two short seasons.
• Assistant coach Steven Rajewsky has helped the U-M sprinters to re-write the program performance list in his second year at U-M. After assisting with the 13 Wolverines in competition at this meet in 2014, Rajewsky helped a trio of sprinters to Jacksonville last month. Both John Spooney (No. 5) and Khoury Crenshaw (tied-9th) own top-10 times on U-M's all-time performance list from the outdoor season in the 100m dash, while all three Wolverines who competed during the regional preliminary rounds set top-10 times in the 60m dash (Spooney; No.2, Codie Nolan tied-3, Crenshaw No. 4) during the indoor season, in addition to a new program record in the 400m race set by Ali Arastu.
• U-M's three 100m dash regional qualifiers under Rajewsky were the most of any team in the NCAA East Region. Only the University of Southern California in the west region had as many regional qualifiers competing in the event.
• Assistant coach Kevin Sullivan has brought the Wolverine distance program back to national promise just one short season into his tenure at the helm of the cross country program and as an assistant to Clayton. As noted above, U-M was the only team in the Big Ten to score in every single mid-distance and distance event (the 800m race, mile run, 3K, 5K and distance medley relay) at the indoor conference championships last February. The Wolverines scored in the 800m run, 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m run and 10,000m run at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, and Sullivan has led Ferlic to the sixth-fastest steeple time in program history.
HISTORIC HAYWARD FIELD
• At the heart of Eugene's successful bid for the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials, Hayward Field looms as one of the world's most famous track and field venues.
• In 2010, Track Town USA welcomed the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the 10th time since 1962 -- the most of any venue in modern history. It is also the only facility to ever host three consecutive U.S. Olympic Trials (1972, 1976, 1980), while six U.S. Championships have graced the storied venue, including recent events in 1999, 2001, 2009 and 2011.
• The University of Oregon's track and field-only facility was initially constructed for football in 1919. Two years later, a six-lane cinder track was installed and a full schedule of track events were transferred from Kincaid Field on the opposite edge of campus. The facility was utilized for both sports until the opening of Autzen Stadium in 1967.
• The stadium (current capacity: 10,500) has undergone significant improvements in modern history, including a new track surface, permanent lights, a video board and newly configured infield. For more info on the venue, including maps, parking information and more, check out GoDucks.com.
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard