U of M Men - Ferlic, Wolverines Cross First at Blue and Gold Invitational

U of M Men - Ferlic, Wolverines Cross First at Blue and Gold Invitational

Provided by U of M

Site: South Bend, Ind. (Notre Dame Golf Course)

Meet: Blue and Gold Invitational (8,000 Meters)

U-M Team Finish: 1st Place of 24 Teams (97 points)

Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 1st Place (23:15.7)

Next U-M Event: Friday, Oct. 17 -- at Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 10 a.m. CDT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Led by individual champion Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy),

the 19th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team put forth another impressive showing today (Friday, Oct. 3), posting 97 points to capture the team title at the Blue and Gold Invitational. The 8,000-meter race was held at the Notre Dame Golf Course and featured 24 teams, including nine programs ranked in the top 25.

Ferlic paced the field of 200 runners and the Maize and Blue with his time of 23:15.7, helping him earn a victory by more than nine seconds. Battling muddy conditions, the course featured a gap of standing water just 50 meters in that forced officials to reroute the course on race day for the safety of the student-athletes participating. For that reason, the race ran about 20 seconds faster than normal, and the marks that would be personal records for many of the competitors will be reviewed before they are declared as official individual bests.

The next Wolverine to finish after Ferlic was junior Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D./Rapid City Central), whose time of 23:41.7 earned him a 15th-place finish. Sophomore Ben Flanagan (Kitchener, Ontario/St. Mary's) placed 23rd with his time of 23:47.5, and sophomore/freshman Aaron Baumgarten (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) crossed the line less than one second later to claim 24th place.

Ferlic, Smoragiewicz and Flanagan were in the field's top 10 and helped pace the lead pack for much of the early part of the race. With around 1,000 meters remaining, Ferlic felt he had some gas left in the tank and took decisive control of the race, spreading what was a narrow lead into a wide margin of victory with his strong finish.

Senior/junior August Pappas (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) rounded out the top five finishers for the Wolverines in 34th place with a time of 23:55.4, but that mark could have been even better. Pappas lost his shoe not far into the 8K loop and gained about 50 places in the standings while closing, despite racing with just one spike.

The Wolverines return to action in two weekends with the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis. The 8,000-meter race hosted by the Badgers at the Zimmer Course is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 17.

Team Standings


2. BYU 112

3. New Mexico 125

4. Florida State 162

5. Eastern Kentucky 209

6. Southern Utah 209

7. Colorado State 217

8. North Carolina State 276

9. Tulsa 284

10. Princeton 285

11. Penn State 336

12. Air Force 346

13. Gonzaga 378

14. Notre Dame 381

15. Penn 390

16. Iowa 412

17. Eastern Michigan 424

18. Butler 447

19. Bradley 469

20. Indiana State 472

21. IUPUI 524

22. Loyola 525

23. Purdue 533

24. Central Michigan 538

Top 10 Finishers

1. MASON FERLIC, U-M 23:15.7

2. Erik Peterson, Butler 23:24.8

3. John Mascari, Indiana State 23:24.9

4. Thomas Awad, Penn 23:26.7

5. Matt McClintock, Purdue 23:27.3

6. Amos Kosgey, Eastern Kentucky 23:27.4

7. Nate Jewkes, Southern Utah 23:30.3

8. Sean Vandermosten, Eastern Kentucky 23:31.7

9. Glen Yarham, Florida State 23:32.0

10. Jonathan Nelson, BYU 23:33.0

Other U-M Finishers

15. Tony Smoragiewicz 23:41.7

23. Ben Flanagan 23:47.5

24. Aaron Baumgarten 23:48.2

34. August Pappas 23:55.4

49. Nick Posada 24:09.6

65. James Yau 24:20.2

69. Scotty Albaugh 24:22.2

187. Connor Mora 25:51.5


• Today's race marks the best finish for the Wolverines in their history at the Notre Dame Blue and Gold Invitational. Previously, the team's best showing was a third-place finish in 2006.

• U-M defeated 23 other schools to claim the title at the Blue and Gold Invite, including ranked opponents: 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.

• Junior Mason Ferlic claimed the individual title at the event, giving him back-to-back victories for U-M.


Michigan Head Coach Kevin Sullivan

On the race's conditions and how he felt his team performed ... "We had rain here last night, so we weren't exactly sure what the course would be like. I came over this morning to see how it was and there was one 50-meter spot of standing water that they rerouted today for the safety of the guys. All-in-all, the course held up well considering the amount of rain they had. It's a pretty tight course that narrows down quickly in the first quarter-mile, so the game plan was to try and get out relatively aggressively and position ourselves near the front so that we could move through the field. I thought our guys executed that well. Mason, Tony and Ben were all up in the top 15 for a lot of the race. James got out really aggressively, too. August lost a shoe a half-mile into the race so he actually ran the last four and a half miles of the race with just one spike on. Mason controlled things up front, which wasn't necessarily the game plan. We expected a couple of other guys to take some of the initiative and allow Mason and Tony and Ben to key off those guys, but it ended up being Mason doing a lot of the work up front for awhile and then Tony making a big move up in the middle of the race to get near the front, plus Ben holding up pretty strong for most of the middle of the race."

On the way the race finished ... "With about 1K to go, Mason started to stretch the field a little bit. It was just him and John Mascari from Indiana State with 1K to go and over the last half-mile, Mason was able to extend that lead out to almost 10 seconds. It was pretty impressive the way he was able to control the race early and continued to control the race late."

On the performances of a few other key Wolverines ... "I thought Tony ran really tough. He got into a spot where he started to drop off the pack and he managed to really hold his composure in a spot when a lot of guys had to make tough decisions, as to whether they were really going to let themselves hurt or allow themselves to back off and he pushed through and finished strong for us. Ben was up near the front early. He hit a tough spot as well, same thing as Tony, and he was able to fight through that and finish strong, too. Pappas lost a shoe early in the race, as I mentioned, so he was really fighting his way through the entire field. He was probably around 80th place through a lot of the race and it was really through the last part of the race that he made up about 50 spots or so. To do that with one shoe was even more impressive; a lot of guys would have packed it in at that point. We had a really great performance from Aaron Baumgarten, too. He didn't get out as quick as some of the other guys so he really had to work the entire race to work his way through the field. I was really, really pleased with the way Aaron ran. He looked very composed, very confident. There was never a point where he panicked at all and he showed a lot of composure for a redshirt freshman, to run that confidently.

On the team's performance given the highly-ranked competition ... "There were 12 teams ranked in the top 36, so in terms of expectations I thought coming in that if we ran to our potential we could finish in the top half of those ranked teams, and that would have been a good benchmark for us. With the 10th-ranked team in there I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to win, but I thought we had the guys to compete and we showed today that we have a lot of fight and a lot of talent on this team. My expectations going in were a little bit on the conservative side but I thought that's how I needed to approach it. They got a really good benchmark of where they're at and what they can achieve this year."

U-M Senior/Junior Mason Ferlic

On the pace of the race and how he used the flat terrain to his advantage ... "It was my first time at Notre Dame, but we had a couple guys who had raced the course last year and they were able to fill us in on what to expect. We only came down last night and didn't get to see the course until race day, so it was nice to hear from them and have them describe it to us (beforehand). In the first 400 meters there is a quick turn and because there was a large field, things got kind of pinched off so it was important to start strong and get in good position right away because it would be hard to work up and you didn't want to get cut off. When the gun went off I just kind of surged and asserted myself right away right on the front line. From there I just tried to stay there. People were looking at Michigan colors all during the race, which was cool. Tony, Ben and I were around the top 10 and people were looking at us. The plan wasn't for me to lead, but I found myself positioned up front with other guys keying on me and I felt good and relaxed so I just took control and tried to make it honest but nothing crazy for the first couple miles. The course was flat, and there was a little bit of mud but I was able to get in a rhythm and start clipping off at a solid pace."

On the way the race finished ... "The race really started for me with about a mile and a half to go. Things started to string out a bit up front with big players trying to assert themselves. I felt strong at that point and with a mile to go I opened things up and really tested people to see who was going to come with me and I think I executed perfectly. I was happy with how I ran the race today because I felt strong with a mile to go and I started to press and stretch and I only had to pass three or four guys at that point. With 1K to go, that's when I made a hard move to the line and changed gears and just broke people. I felt really strong over the last K and started to put pressure on and pull away, building my lead. I was really happy with how I executed it."

On group expectations and overall team performance ... "We came into the race looking at the list of teams and this was our first real test as a team, matching up with teams we could really run with. The goal of this race was to come out there and execute across the board and be strong and we thought, with a good day, we could be top three and challenge for the win. When I crossed the line and heard the team results that we won, I was ecstatic. I'm so proud of these guys; that was the greatest feeling ever to come away with a team win there. That shows that the hard work you put in really is paying off and that we're moving in the right direction as a program. Coming away with that win was a huge confidence boost for the entire team. We have so much faith in what Coach Sullivan is doing. This is the right step for us and it shows we're on the right track. It proves that we're a team that can contend this year, for Big Tens, Regionals and who knows what can happen at Nationals. It's only the first week of October, but this is an indication of where we're going and where we can end up. I got tears in my eyes when I was looking at the result board and saw 'Michigan -- 1st Place'. I was jacked; we started singing 'Hail to the Victors!' and it was the greatest feeling. Having guys execute the way they were supposed to and having months of training pay off like that; coming from the uncertainty of the summer, this was the reward we were looking for."

Contact: Chad Shepard