U of M Men - Flanagan Wins Great Lakes Region to Lead Michigan Back to NCAAs

U of M Men - Flanagan Wins Great Lakes Region to Lead Michigan Back to NCAAs

Provided by U of M

11/10/2017 4:09:00 PM

// Kyle Terwillegar

Site: Terre Haute, Ind. (LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course)

Event: NCAA Great Lakes Regional

U-M Team Finish:2nd place of 26 teams (79 points)

Top U-M Individual: Ben Flanagan, 1st (31:02.2)

Next U-M Event: Friday, Nov. 18 -- at NCAA Cross Country Championships (Louisville, Ky.)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Led by individual champion Ben Flanagan, the national No. 10-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team is returning to the NCAA Cross Country Championships after a one-season hiatus with a runner-up finish in the team standings at the Great Lakes Regional on Friday (Nov. 10).

Flanagan became Michigan's fifth different man to claim the 10-kilometer (6.21-mile) regional title since the meet was first run in 1993, pacing the Wolverines to a 79-point score, surpassed only by in-state rival No. 15 Michigan State's 68.

Michigan just managed to edge No. 25 Wisconsin by five points for the second and final automatic berth to the NCAA Championships to be held Saturday, Nov. 18, in Louisville, Kentucky. The top two teams in each of the nine regions around the nation on Friday automatically advanced to nationals.

Though the Wolverines did not get the win as they did two weekends ago at Big Tens, a potent combination of strength up front and depth through the full lineup still carried them back to nationals for the first time since 2015. Not only did they have four All-Region performers (top-25), tied for the most in the meet with MSU, they were also the only team in the field with six runners in the top-35.

Behind Flanagan -- who joined current head coach Kevin Sullivan, John Mortimer, Nate Brannen and current volunteer assistant Mason Ferlic as the only region winners in program history -- were redshirt seniors Connor Mora in seventh and Aaron Baumgarten in 20th, as well as true freshman Jack Aho in 25th.

Redshirt sophomore Ben Hill missed All-Region honors by one spot in 26th, and redshirt senior Billy Bund was 33rd.

After pretty much the entire field cruised through the five-kilometer halfway point together just shy of 16 minutes, the race started to break open in the second loop of the course. By the time they reached the eight-kilometer mark (4.97-mile), Flanagan had separated from the main pack with eventual runner-up Hlynur Andresson of Eastern Michigan and Big Ten champion Oliver Hoare of Wisconsin.

He made his move with a kilometer to go and never looked back -- metaphorically, at least, as he frequently checked behind him down the last quarter mile to make sure he did not need to go to another gear in his kick -- to beat Andresson by six seconds in 30:54.0.

Mora held strong at the front of the field to finish seventh in 31:03.8, while Baumgarten methodically worked his way through the crowd as the race progressed to claim 20th in 31:24.9.

Aho, running his first collegiate 10K race, maintained his strength late in the race to finish 25th in 31:30.9, placing fifth among freshmen in the field. Hill crossed the line six seconds later in 31:36.7.