U of M - Riffle, Rayyan All-Americans; Ferlic Advances in Steeplechase
Provided by U of M
Site: Eugene, Oregon (Hayward Field)
Event: NCAA Outdoor Championships (Day 1)
U-M Team Result: No team score
Next U-M Event: Friday, June 12 -- at NCAA Outdoor Championships - Day 3 (Eugene, Ore.), 4:57 p.m. PDT
EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team began its week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with three athletes in competition, highlighted by senior/junior co-captain Mason Ferlic advancing to the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals during Wednesday's (June 10) first day of action at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.
Seeded second overall in the steeplechase, Ferlic competed as the top seed in the second heat of the afternoon. Knowing that he only needed a top-five finish to advance to Friday's final, the St. Paul, Minnesota, native eased off the gas after taking an early lead through the first several barriers and took fourth place to advance automatically.
Ferlic came out of the gate strong, asserting himself as the smoothest athlete in his section. He looked controlled going over the barriers, and with about four laps to go, the Wolverine co-captain took his foot off the pedal and eased into a less stressful fourth-place position, allowing others to set the pace. By the time the bell lap came around, he looked comfortable with his positioning, and it paid off as he cruised across the finish line in fourth place, several meters ahead of the fifth-place finisher with a time of 8:42.78.
Fifth-year senior Cody Riffle closed his Wolverine career with a 23rd-place finish in the shot put. Riffle usually lets one fly in his second attempt, and today was no different as his best attempt of the day came on that second throw. He launched a 59-10.5 ft. (18.25 m) toss to finish in 23rd, picking up All-American honors for the second time in his career in the process, this time as an honorable mention.
Fifth-year senior Morsi Rayyan also competed in his Michigan finale this evening, running in the 10,000m race. In a top-heavy field featuring the fastest distance athletes in the nation, the race was tightly knit in the early going. Even with just 13 laps remaining in the grueling distance event, the pack was moving as one, and the leaders had not yet shaken the pack. Battling congestion, Rayyan hung towards the back before picking off a few competitors to move up into the field's top 20 athletes.
Inside single-digit laps, however, things changed and the group thinned out. The Oregon duo of Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins led a separated group out front, pushed by Texas' Craig Lutz, and the Ducks' duo went on for a 1-2 finish just as they did during the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall. Rayyan was split from the group and began running his own race, crossing 21st at 30:31.11.
The Dewitt, Michigan, product ended U-M's 10K drought at NCAAs a year ago and came back this season with his eye on another All-America honor in the event. Now with his All-American Honorable Mention recognition, Rayyan is Michigan's first back-to-back All-American in the 10,000m run since 1987-89, when John Scherer achieved the honor in three consecutive seasons.
With the week alternating between men's and women's events on a day-to-day basis, the Maize and Blue will resume action on Friday (June 12), when Ferlic will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase final and afterward, the 5,000m run. Though he is one of four 'Distance Doublers' competing at Hayward Field this weekend, Ferlic is the only athlete competing in these two events, specifically.
N O T E S
• Fifth-year senior Cody Riffle's All-American Honorable Mention gives 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 the productive duo of Riffle and senior/junior Derek Seivers, with the last All-American prior to Riffle's second-team honors in 2013 being Dave Owen in 1956-57.
• With his 23rd-place finish, Cody Riffle (2013, 2015) joins elite U-M company as one of four throwers in Wolverine history to earn All-America status in the outdoor shot put on more than one occasion and the first in more than 50 years: Bill Watson (1937-39); Charles Fonville (1947-48); Fritz Nilsson (1952-54) and Dave Owen (1956-57).
• With his 21st-place finish, fifth-year senior Morsi Rayyan earned Honorable Mention All-American recognition and became Michigan's first back-to-back All-American the 10,000m race since John Scherer achieved the feat in three consecutive seasons from 1987-89. Prior to Rayyan last year, Mike Wisniewski (2002) was Michigan's most-recent qualifier in the event.
Q U O T E S
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Co-Captain/Thrower Cody Riffle
On closing his Wolverine career at this meet against such a high level of competition ... "It is disappointing to not have the result I wanted to, but I had a great championship phase of the season, and each week I seemed to get better and better. I was hoping to do the same thing this week, but I couldn't get it going the way I wanted to and that happens from time to time. As a whole, this means a lot to me. I have overcome a lot in the past five years and the fact that I was able to end my career in Eugene, Oregon, was the best thing I could do."
On the mark he has left on this program and how proud he is of his time in Maize and Blue ... "College was pretty tough, in more aspects than one, but at the same time it was really rewarding. Being able to impact this program and knowing at the same time the impact the program has had on me has been amazing, and it is something I will definitely carry with me for the rest of my life."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Distance Runner Morsi Rayyan
On his final race as a Wolverine and the pride he felt wearing the Maize and Blue ... "I am definitely disappointed. I was in trouble early on; it is a long race to be hurting just 10 minutes in. But I kept looking at the M on my chest, and I felt pride being able to represent Michigan twice at these championships throughout my five years here."
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard