Wolverine Men Finish 23rd at NCAA Championships

Wolverine Men Finish 23rd at NCAA Championships

Provided by U of M

Nov. 17, 2012

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Site: Louisville, Ky. (E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park)
Meet: NCAA Championships (10,000 Meters)
U-M Finish: 23rd of 31 Teams (518 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mark Beams, 101st (30:43.2)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The 13th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team placed 23rd overall at the NCAA Championships on Saturday (Nov. 17) at Louisville's E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park. The Wolverines' top-five runners each crossed the finish line within a 24-second split to record 518 points.

For the first time this season, junior Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) paced Michigan to the finish line, securing a career-best NCAA finish of 101st, in a time of 30:43.2.

In his first NCAA Championships with the Maize and Blue, senior Dan Lowry (Philadelphia, Pa./La Salle College) finished 125th in a time of 30:56.9.

In his first NCAAs and first career 10,000-meter race, freshman Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D./Hamilton) was U-M's third scorer. Smoragiewicz finished 132nd in a time of 31:00.1.

Senior Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge) (31:04.8) and senior/junior Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) (31:07.3) crossed the finish line 146th and 152nd, respectively.

Junior Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) was also a member of the NCAA squad, finishing 186th in a time of 31:30.1.

Michigan wrapped up the championship portion of its season with runner-up finishes at the Big Ten Championships and Great Lakes Regional to go to along with its 23rd-place finish at today's NCAA Championships.

Team Standings

 1. Oklahoma State              72
2. Wisconsin 135
3. Colorado 158
4. Northern Arizona 191
5. Florida State 238
6. BYU 245
7. Tulsa 247
8. Oklahoma 262
9. Texas 291
10. Arkansas 327
23. MICHIGAN 518

Top 10 Finishers

  1. Kennedy Kithuka, Texas Tech        28:31.3
2. Stephen Sambu, Arizona 28:38.6
3. Lawi Lalang, Arizona 28:51.8
4. Anthony Rotich, UTEP 29:13.5
5. Gima Mecheso, Oklahoma State 29:14.8
5. Henry Lelei, Texas A&M 29:14.8
7. David Rooney, McNeese State 29:21.3
8. Mohammed Ahmed, Wisconsin 29:23.9
9. Tom Farrell, Oklahoma State 29:26.3
10. Paul Chelimo, UNC-Greensboro 29:29.8

Michigan Finishers

101. Mark Beams, U-M                    30:43.2
125. Dan Lowry, U-M 30:56.9
132. Tony Smoragiewicz, U-M 31:00.1
146. Zach Ornelas, U-M 31:04.8
152. Brendon Blacklaws, U-M 31:07.3
186. Morsi Rayyan, U-M 31:30.1


Michigan Head Coach Alex Gibby
On what he takes away from the NCAA Championships ... "I think the most notable thing for us right now is that two-and half-years in, we just don't have the margin for error. When Dan (Lowry) has a rough day, we just don't have any coverage. Outside of Dan, we were off on a couple of places but not particularly, much. But at this level, the points add up and there's a narrow margin from 15th to 25th and of course we ended up on the back side today. From a positive standpoint, I thought Mark Beams ran very well. Two years ago if he would have run in this meet, he would have been dead last and now he's one of the top 100 kids in the country and All-Big Ten. I was really pleased with Tony Smoragiewicz -- the first time at 10K for a freshman this late in the year is typically brutal and I thought he did a really good job. It's not the way we would like to send out Dan or Brendon (Blacklaws) or Zach (Ornelas), but we'll get Mason (Ferlic) back in uniform next year and we're going to have a good team again. We're looking to move forward."

On not putting together the best race to finish the season ... "That's the frustrating thing, is that when you take this as a continuum, as a season, at Big Tens we were very pleased, regionals we were very pleased, as well as the Wisconsin and Virginia meets. We didn't drop the ball all year until we got here, but unfortunately it's the last one. These guys are adults, they've worked hard to get here -- they're ambitious. We'll get away from each other for the Thanksgiving holiday, allowing them to kind of digest this, and the beautiful part about having indoor season right in front of your face is that they are starting to prepare right away again for something new, something exciting, something different."

On what he will remember about this team ... "They've come a long way. That's probably the most noticeable thing. I talked about Marks Beams earlier, but Morsi RayyanZach Ornelas, so on and so forth -- those guys were nowhere two years ago. Now they've gotten the opportunity to run at the NCAA Championships twice. We've started to restore the tradition of Michigan being at this meet every year. Like any organic process, now we need to establish the tradition of coming here and performing well no matter what. You're always going to have a guy or two struggle here and as we get our talent up and our rate of development moves forward, we'll be a junior and senior-heavy team at this meet and success will come, but we want to establish a tradition of it."

Contact: Whitney Dixon