U of M - Champ Ferlic, Five in Top 25 Lead U-M to Regional Title
Provided by U of M
What You Need to Know
» Mason Ferlic became U-M's first Great Lakes Region champion since Nate Brannen in 2004.
» The last time U-M won both the Big Ten and NCAA Great Lakes Regional team titles in the same season was 1997, when the team finished a program-best fourth at the NCAA Championships.
» U-M placed all five scorers in the top 25 and had a 10,000-meter personal best from senior/junior Nick Renberg.
» The Wolverines boast five all-region honorees for the second time in the last three seasons.
• Complete Results PDF
Site: Madison, Wis. (Tom Zimmer Championships Course)
Meet: NCAA Great Lakes Regional
U-M Team Finish: 1st Place of 30 Teams (67 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 1st place (30:18.3)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Nov. 21 -- at NCAA Championships (Louisville, Ky.), 1 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. -- The fifth-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team captured its first NCAA Great Lakes Regional crown under second-year head coach Kevin Sullivan on Friday (Nov. 13), led by an outstanding effort from fifth-year senior co-captain Mason Ferlic, who earned the individual victory at Tom Zimmer Championships Course. The win gives U-M two Great Lakes Regional crowns in the past three seasons, and four in program history.
U-M bested all comers at the 10,000-meter race, which featured 202 athletes from 30 schools. Windy conditions on a relatively flat course made things even more problematic, said Sullivan.
"It just made the race a lot harder than it needed to be," he explained, "We tried to control things, but in that wind it was a tough situation. Whether you were one of the athletes racing hard or if you were part of the group trying to control the pace, it was more difficult because of that wind for sure."
Ferlic acknowledged that the wind did make things tougher, but said he tried not to let that affect his game plan.
"I wanted it to be an honest effort from the gun," Ferlic explained, "last year the whole field packed up at the beginning and I didn't want a slow race this year. It was an honest effort and I felt in-control. The wind made things challenging in terms of pacing but I kept a consistent effort throughout and I was able to open up the legs, pick the pace up and keep the same effort level deeper into the race."
Early on, Ferlic jumped out to the lead pack with a host of other athletes, including Purdue's Matt McClintock -- the individual Big Ten champion -- and Indiana State's John Mascari, among others.
It was a familiar place for Ferlic, who battled with the senior Boilermaker two Sundays ago in Chicago (Nov. 1), with a Big Ten championship on the line. But today was Ferlic's day, as he proved stronger down the stretch, getting the better of McClintock and the remainder of the field to earn the win.
"Mason did a really good job," Sullivan said, "He controlled the race and made it go at the effort level he wanted to be running at. Once he saw he had a chance to win, he was able to turn the tables on (Matt) McClintock the same way McClintock did to him a couple of weekends ago."
"It was his day at Big Tens and today was my day. I was able to control the race and stay relaxed, and sure, I had a little extra fire in the last 300-meters," acknowledged Ferlic.
"(McClintock) was right next to me after the last turn and he was working hard while I felt comfortable. I looked over and just decided I wasn't losing, so after looking over I switched gears on him. It's fair to say he got the one that mattered most (Big Ten title), but it's good to know I can beat him. We've been trading spots and he's a great competitor."
Ferlic's showing marks the best finish for any Wolverine in this race in more than a decade as the Wolverine co-captain continues to cement his legacy in the Michigan record books.
Junior co-captain Ben Flanagan took 11th place overall in 30:54.2, right on par with his 10th-place finish from last fall. He led a trio of Wolverines in the teens, as senior/junior Nick Renberg took 15th place in a personal-best 31:08.4, while senior Tony Smoragiewicz finished 18th in 31:12.0.
The final scorer for U-M was junior/sophomore Aaron Baumgarten, whose 22nd-place finish cemented the Maize and Blue sweep. It marks the second time in program history that the Michigan men's and women's cross country programs both earned regional titles in the same season, with the other coming in 2013.
All five scorers garnered All-Great Lakes Region honors for the Wolverines. For Ferlic, the recognition is his third, and Flanagan, his second, but the remainder of the scoring five collected their first such honors (Renberg, Smoragiewicz, Baumgarten).
U-M's sixth finisher was senior August Pappas, whose 31st-place showing proved that he could have served as a fine fifth scorer for the Wolverines, who enjoyed a 21-point cushion in the team standings. Fifth-year senior Nick Posada also competed for Michigan, claiming 60th overall. U-M's goal-centered focus has payed dividends so far in the postseason.
"Our whole season revolves around racing well in these three meets," Ferlic later explained.
"You can almost say everything before that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. We have been preaching that from day one that we wanted to do something special and I honestly believe we can be a podium contending team."
When he returned to Michigan, Sullivan was made aware of the team's depth, but the possibility of this year's success did not fully become a reality to him until he made it through his first year in Ann Arbor. Now, however, this level of success should become the norm at U-M.
"If you'd asked me when I first came in (if this much success this quickly would be possible), I'd have been skeptical," he said, "but after last year's finish (at the NCAAs) and the progress during the track season, this isn't surprising."
Michigan gets right back to it next weekend, closing the season with the 2015 NCAA Championships. The meet will take place at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky, and is hosted by the University of Louisville. The gun is scheduled for 1 p.m. next Sunday (Nov. 21).
Top 10 Team Finishers
1. MICHIGAN 67
2. Michigan State 88
3. Eastern Michigan 102
4. Notre Dame 127
5. Indiana 141
6. Wisconsin 203
7. Akron 209
8. IUPUI 221
9. Purdue 241
10. Ohio State 271
Top 10 Individual Finishers
1. MASON FERLIC, U-M 30:18.3
2. Matt, McClintock, Purdue 30:20.9
3. Michael Clevenger, Notre Dame 30:21.5
4. Joseph Stewart, Miami (Ohio) 30:27.4
5. Erik Peterson, Butler 30:31.5
6. John Mascari, Indiana State 30:34.6
7. Sherod Hardt, Mich. State 30:39.6
8. Nicholas Raymond, Eastern Mich. 30:40.1
9. Morgan McDonald, Wisconsin 30:51.1
10. Caleb Ryhnard, Mich. State 30:52.0
Other U-M Finishers
11. Ben Flanagan 30:54.2
15. Nick Renberg 31:08.4*
18. Tony Smoragiewicz 31:12.0
22. Aaron Baumgarten 31:15.4
31. August Pappas 31:31.5
60. Nick Posada 32:15.7
* collegiate-best at 10,000 meters
Tweet of the Day
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard