U of M Men - Toeing the Line #3: Wolverines Set for Blue and Gold Invite

U of M Men - Toeing the Line #3: Wolverines Set for Blue and Gold Invite

Provided by U of M

Friday, Oct. 3 -- at Blue and Gold Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 2 p.m.

After a short break from competition, the 19th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will travel to South Bend, Ind., on Friday (Oct. 3) to compete in the Blue and Gold Invitational. The men's 8K race will begin at 5 p.m., following four prior races at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

Athletes in Action: Scotty Albaugh, Aaron Baumgarten, Micah Beller, Billy Bund, Mason Ferlic, Ben Flanagan, Connor Mora, August Pappas, Nick Posada, Nick Renberg, Tony Smoragiewicz and James Yau.

Top Returning Times

8,000-Meter Run 10,000-Meter Run

Mason Ferlic 23:35 Mason Ferlic 30:11

Tony Smoragiewicz 24:13.40* Mason Ferlic 30:32

James Yau 24:23 August Pappas 30:57

August Pappas 24:24 Tony Smoragiewicz 31:00.10*

Nick Renberg 24:25 Ben Flanagan 31:18.8 *Indicates time run in 2012


• Michigan will participate in the Notre Dame Blue and Gold Invitational for the third straight season, as the Wolverines finished 19th in 2012 and 25th in 2013 at the event. The Wolverines also competed in the Notre Dame Invite each season from 2005-08, with the best finish coming in 2006 (third). U-M placed second in 2002 and '03 and won a share of the team title in 1999.

• The Maize and Blue will be joined by 23 other programs in South Bend. Aside from the 19th-ranked Wolverines, other ranked opponents include: No. 10 BYU, No. 15 New Mexico, No. 16 NC State, No. 18 Tulsa, No. 20 Princeton, No. 23 Eastern Kentucky, No. 24 Florida State and No. 25 Colorado State.

• The remaining list of participating programs includes: Air Force, Bradley, Butler, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Gonzaga, Indiana State, Iowa, IUPUI, Notre Dame, Penn, Penn State, Purdue, Southern Utah, and Wyoming.

• The Wolverines earned a No. 22 ranking in the USTFCCCA Preseason Coaches' Poll on Aug. 26. It marked the third straight season that U-M was ranked in the top 30. In the latest poll released Sept. 30, the Wolverines check in at No. 19.

• Head coach Kevin Sullivan announced that fifth-year senior James Yau, senior/junior Mason Ferlic and sophomore Ben Flanagan will serve as the trio of captains for the 2014 season after a team vote.

• U-M's 2014 roster features 21 returning harriers and seven true freshmen. Among the returners are five runners that were members of the 2013 NCAA Great Lakes Regional champion team. Juniors Mason Ferlic and Tony Smoragiewicz bring championship-race experience to the table, along with junior/sophomore Nick Renberg and sophomores Ben Flanagan and Connor Mora.

• Mason Ferlic earned All-America honors in 2013, becoming the first Wolverine to do so since Nate Brannen in 2004. Ferlic was U-M's top-scoring runner in all five meets in which the varsity squad competed, including all three championship events. He was named All-Big Ten second team for his efforts, along with Ben Flanagan.

• Last season, U-M earned its first NCAA Great Lakes Regional crown in six years (2007, t-1st), which was also its first outright title since 1997, after finishing runner-up at the Big Ten Championships for the second straight season. Mason Ferlic and August Pappas picked up All-Great Lakes Region honors.


• In 2014, former All-American Wolverine Kevin Sullivan takes over at the helm of the U-M program. A four-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year in cross country, Sullivan was also a four-time Big Ten and NCAA Great Lakes Regional champion with the team during his time in Ann Arbor (1993-97). He will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the program, including his four NCAA titles in track and field.

Sullivan hopes to build on a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships from last season while continuing U-M's recent success on the conference and regional levels. The Maize and Blue has finished top-two at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and Big Ten Championship meets in each of the past two seasons.


Baumgarten Aaron Baumgarten


On his decision to declare aerospace engineering as his major ... "Ever since I was a little kid, I've been amazed by space, especially other planets and the possibility of life on other planets. When I came to the University of Michigan, I took a couple astronomy classes and I became interested in developing propulsion systems in order to take space exploration further. My main motivation is to further our understanding of our ability to go to other planets. I want to be at the front, helping to pioneer new possibilities."

On having a trio of Aerospace Engineering majors on the team in himself, Mason Ferlic and Tony Smoragiewicz ... "It naturally creates an individualized group because it gives us something we can talk about, whether it be topics in class or other topics that we found compelling. Tony and I are on the same level in that we are both taking Intro to Aerospace classes, but Mason is already in design classes so we can compare the things that we learned and talk more about them. It gives us the chance for a nice discussion on what he is doing in his classes."

On having the opportunity to represent the block M for the first time competitively in Iowa (Sept. 20) after redshirting last season ... "It was an incredible experience. It was my first time running competitively as a part of a team, because in high school I really was more focused on my individual performance. Our team didn't have that many kids so we didn't have a strong emphasis on working together, but here we have a group of guys at an incredible level who are elite runners. To be able to push each other and see them ahead of me, knowing that I can be with them; I love it. I came into this knowing that I was going to have to mentally challenge myself if I wanted to be at the same level as these guys and being able to run at Iowa was a reward for all the hard work I put in over the summer. After running a great race I got the chance to see everything that I put in have some physical representation."

On his first real road trip experience ... "I went to Indiana last year but that was the only time I had traveled. When I made that trip, we kept things loose. We all knew we were going to race, but there was a lot of joking around on the trip out there. What I was surprised by when we traveled to Iowa was that I was expecting a seven hour bus ride that was going to be really focused, but I found, and really liked, that these guys knew that they had a job to do but they knew they were still able to relax. We really had some good bonding time just from sitting around and telling stories and watching movies, just getting to know each other more. We only see each other during practice and you're running really hard so we don't get that much conversation in. It was really cool because I really got to know some of these guys better than I previously did."


Friday, Oct. 17 -- at Adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.)

Friday, Oct. 24 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.)

Contact: Chad Shepard