Toeing the Line #7: U-M Men to Return to Madison for Great Lakes Regional

Toeing the Line #7: U-M Men to Return to Madison for Great Lakes Regional

Provided by U of M


Friday, Nov. 14 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wisconsin), 1 p.m. CST

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• Race Day Information: Great Lakes Regional Home | Don Zimmer Championship Course PDF

After placing four individuals in the top 17 to claim second place at the Big Ten Championships earlier this month (Nov. 2), the 12th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will return to Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday (Nov. 14) to continue the championship part of the season with the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The 10,000-meter men's race will begin at 1 p.m. CDT at the Badgers' Don Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.

Athletes in Action: Aaron Baumgarten, Mason Ferlic, Ben Flanagan, George Kelly, August Pappas, Nick Posada, Tony Smoragiewicz and James Yau

Top Returning Times

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

Mason Ferlic 23:35 Mason Ferlic 30:11

Mason Ferlic 23:41.3 Mason Ferlic 30:32

Ben Flanagan 23:58.8 August Pappas 30:57

Mason Ferlic 23:59 Tony Smoragiewicz 31:00.10*

Tony Smoragiewicz 24:04.9 Ben Flanagan 31:18.8

*Indicates time run in 2012


• With 30 teams in the Great Lakes Region and each squad consisting of seven runners, the regional field will be made up of a little more than 200 student-athletes.

• The top two teams at each of the nine regionals around the country earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships (Nov. 22), while another 13 receive at-large bids based on their regular-season and postseason performances.

• The NCAA Great Lakes Regional marks U-M's first competition this year on a 10,000-meter course.

• U-M has won three regional titles (1997; 2007, t-1st; 2013) since the inaugural meet in 1993.

• The Wolverines have improved or maintained their placing at the Great Lakes Regional each year since 2010, when they finished seventh. The 2011 squad finished third, the 2012 team finished runner-up, and the 2013 team took home the title.

• 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.

• Michigan ended Wisconsin's unbeaten streak at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional by taking the title last season, as the Badgers had won the last 11 straight titles (2002-12). Michigan and Wisconsin shared the crown in 2007.

• Michigan has qualified for the NCAA Championships as a team in each of the last four years, securing automatic bids in each of the last two seasons.

• All four Big Ten programs in this weekend's Great Lakes Regional are ranked among the top 30 teams in the country: No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 12 Michigan, No. 20 Indiana and No. 27 Michigan State.

• U-M's 2014 roster features 21 returning harriers and seven true freshmen. Among the returners are four runners that were members of the 2013 NCAA Great Lakes Regional champion team.

• U-M returns to the Don Zimmer Cross Country Course after making a prior appearance at the course this year for the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Oct. 17).

• 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 Nov. 4, the Wolverines check in at No. 12.

• The Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2) represented the first postseason race for junior/sophomore George Kelly and sophomore/freshman Aaron Baumgarten, who finished 40th and 17th, respectively.

• Mason Ferlic has been Michigan's top finisher in each race when its varsity squad has competed this season. Ferlic won the individual titles at the 8K Big Ten Preview (Sept. 20) and 8K Notre Dame Blue and Gold Invitational (Oct. 3) before finishing 12th at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Oct. 17) and fourth at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2).

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

• 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.


• In 2014, former All-American Wolverine Kevin Sullivan has taken 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.


Coach Sullivan George Kelly


On his postseason debut at Michigan's last event, the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2) ... "It was my first experience in the postseason at the collegiate level and it was exciting. I went into it with the mindset that I wasn't going to worry about things too much; more just looking forward to the new experience. There wasn't as much pressure going in, with me not being one of the top five guys, so I just kind of got after it and tried to make an impact."

On building from the conference championships to this weekend's Regional ... "I think the addition in distance, going from 8K to 10K, is going to benefit us a lot. There weren't a lot of things we did wrong at Big Tens; I guess we didn't have a perfect race but most guys had pretty good races. They just ran better than us on that day. We're definitely looking towards these new races and maybe that will affect the results a little bit more."

On the trademark breathing strips he uses on his nose, which started in high school ... "I got advice that maybe it was better to breathe through your nose; it helps with recovery and delays the fight-or-flight reflex that comes from breathing through your mouth, so it's just something that I started in high school and it's continued to work for me. I've got myself to the point where I don't really think about it; it's just natural to me now. I even tried to breathe through my mouth on a workout and it felt weird and unnatural; I guess it's just like a stride or anything else you do when you're running."

On growing closer with his teammates during his first road trips as part of a smaller, championship-season roster ... "It's been really cool bonding with the guys. When you're that close, because there are only eight or so guys, you're forced to talk with everyone and get to know people better, especially a roommate or something. They're all great guys and I enjoy spending a lot of time with them."


Saturday, Nov. 22 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), Noon

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