U of M Men - U-M Finishes 11th at NCAAs; Ferlic Leads Three Wolverines in Top 80
Provided by U of M
Site: Terre Haute, Ind. (LaVern Gibson Championship Course)
Meet: NCAA Championships (10,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 11th Place of 31 Teams (365 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 13th (30:37.1)
Next U-M Event: Season Completed
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The No. 18-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team claimed 11th place today (Saturday, Nov. 22) at the NCAA Championships, paced by an All-America finish from senior/junior Mason Ferlic, who finished 13th. The 10,000-meter men's championship race was hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind., also known as "Cross Country Town, USA" and was run on the Sycamores' LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.
In a field of more than 250 athletes, Ferlic paced the Wolverines once again, as he did in each race in which the varsity team competed this season. The St. Paul, Minn., native became Michigan's first back-to-back All-American since Nate Brannen accomplished the feat 10 years ago (2003-04).
A tightly knit group paced the field throughout the first 5,000-plus meters, including the individual winner, Oregon's Edward Cheserek, who earned the title for the second time in as many seasons. At the first recorded split at the 3K mark, Ferlic was in eighth place. He dropped a few places at the 5K check-in and finished strong to become Michigan's highest-finishing competitor since Brannen finished 17th a decade ago.
As a team, the Wolverines hovered in the early teens at the 5K split, charging up to 11th over the final few thousand meters. Finishing behind Ferlic, sophomore Ben Flanagan claimed 64th with a time of 31:12.6, while senior/junior August Pappas earned 79th place at 31:21.9.
Junior Tony Smoragiewicz finished 114th for the Wolverines, and junior/sophomore George Kelly's 162nd-place finish rounded out Michigan's scoring five. Senior/junior Nick Posada finished 190th, and sophomore/freshman Aaron Baumgarten crossed the line 206th as U-M's final athlete.
Team Standings (Top 11)
1. Colorado 65
2. Stanford 98
3. Portland 175
4. Northern Arizona 188
5. Syracuse 206
6. Oregon 221
7. Villanova 230
8. Iona 270
9. Oklahoma State 296
10. Wisconsin 335
11. MICHIGAN 365
Top 10 Individual Finishers
1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon 30:19.4
2. Eric Jenkins, Oregon 30:23.2
3. Futsum Zienasellassie, NAU 30:25.3
4. Maksim Korolev, Stanford 30:29.5
5. Ammar Moussa, Colorado 30:29.6
6. Stanley Kebenei, Arkansas 30:30.1
7. Ben Saarel, Colorado 30:30.7
8. John Mascari, Indiana State 30:31.3
9. Blake Theroux, Colorado 30:31.7
10. Malachy Schrobilgen, Wisconsin 30:32.6
13. Mason Ferlic 30:37.1
64. Ben Flanagan 31:12.6
79. August Pappas 31:21.9
114. Tony Smoragiewicz 31:39.1
162. George Kelly 32:03.6
190. Nick Posada 32:27.3
206. Aaron Baumgarten 32:40.8
N O T E S
• Today's championship field featured 31 teams and more than 250 athletes, including 38 individual competitors. The 10,000-meter race was conducted at Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Cross Country Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind., making "Cross Country Town, USA" the host for the 11th time.
• Michigan's 11th-place team finish is the highest for the program since it finished ninth in 2003 and is tied for the 13th-best overall since U-M first qualified for the national meet in 1974.
• U-M topped a pair of nationally ranked conference opponents with today's 11th-place finish, beating No. 17 Michigan State and No. 25 Indiana.
• Head coach Kevin Sullivan earned the highest NCAA finish for a first-year men's coach at U-M in program history. Legendary coach Ron Warhurst finished 12th in his first year in Ann Arbor.
• Mason Ferlic claimed All-American honors for the second time in his career with his 13th-place finish. Ferlic is the highest-finishing Wolverine since Nate Brannen claimed 17th in 2004, and he is also Michigan's first back-to-back All-American since Brannen accomplished the feat a decade ago (2003-04).
• Mason Ferlic has been Michigan's top-finishing competitor in each race when its varsity squad competed this season. He earned 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). In the postseason, Ferlic placed fourth at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2), seventh at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Nov. 14) and 13th in today's NCAA Championships.
• George Kelly, Aaron Baumgarten and Nick Posada each made their postseason debuts this championship season, and all three made their NCAA Championships debut in today's event. Aside from Ferlic, August Pappas, Ben Flanagan and Tony Smoragiewicz had all competed at the championship level today.
2014 POSTSEASON RECAP
• In the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2), the Wolverines raced to a runner-up finish, scoring 77 points led by first and second-team All-Big Ten performances from Mason Ferlic (fourth) and Ben Flanagan (13th), respectively. Tony Smoragiewicz (15th) and Aaron Baumgarten (17th) just missed out on all-conference honors, and the latter made his postseason debut along with George Kelly, who finished 40th. Nick Posada also made his 10,000-meter debut. In the team's first 10K of the year, the Maize and Blue clinched their fourth consecutive conference postseason performance in which they finished top-three or better.
• At the NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Nov. 14), Michigan's 94 points earned the Wolverines a third-place finish, and the team was led by Mason Ferlic once again, as they have been in each race in which the varsity squad has competed this year. Ferlic finished seventh, and Ben Flanagan (10th) and August Pappas (18th) joined him in earning all-region recognition, with the latter two setting 10K PR's. Michigan clinched its fifth consecutive NCAA Championships appearance by earning an at-large bid, announced one day after the regional race.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Kevin Sullivan
On the overall team performance ... "I thought it was a great team performance. At the beginning of the season, when we were done with the first month, I figured we were a top-15 team and the guys on their own had set their own goal as a top-12 team. We went the rest of the season with an expectation that we would shoot for that top 12 and I'm happy for the guys. They were able to come out of the season having accomplished what they set out to do. They approached every day and every meet very professionally and that's what you have to do when you want to compete at this level. I'm just really happy with the way they approached the season. With the coaching change, things could have gone one of two directions and they chose to come in united as a team and focused on the goals and tasks at hand and what you saw out there was the result of that."
U-M Senior/Junior Mason Ferlic
On how his personal race went ... "I got out a little bit towards the back of the pack in the first K; I didn't really expect or want to come out that hard, so I found myself in the back and it was an aggressive race. The first mile was a little scary actually; there was a lot of pushing and shoving and it was one of the most physical races I've ever been a part of. I had two guys fall literally right in front of me and I had to hurdle them. All I was thinking was 'don't trip' because I fell at Regionals and I really just wanted to stay on my feet. I tried to pick clear lines and put my hands on guys' backs to give me space. I was kicking myself a bit because I realized the leaders were out front and I was more towards the back and it was going to be hard for me to bridge that gap if they had started taking off. Luckily, things slowed down and it ended up being not fast at all, so the whole pack was kind of this incredibly large, physical clump. I think I did a good job from the start to 3K, moving my way up; basically I just ran on the outside, taking good tangents and staying wide on the turns, out of the mess and moved my way up into 30th place by 3K. I was able to get out of the traffic and as I moved farther up, I found more space and was more comfortable so I made the decision to go right to the lead pack. Again, it was a slow pace so no one was taking (the lead) and everyone was together. By the time 5K rolled around, I was eighth or so and I felt good. It was perfect positioning and I was able to have space around me. There wasn't any jostling in the front and I was able to be observant of the race and make moves. I felt very good at 5K; I liked where I was at in the race and where the race was going, but I also knew that, looking at the splits, we had gone through pretty slow and there was going to be some significant pace-changes over the last 5K, so I was just trying to relax as much as possible so when the pace changes came I would be ready for them. All I focused on was staying in a group and relaxing; not getting concerned with the shuffling of places up front, just kind of maintaining in that front group. Obviously the pace change came, but I think I did a good job responding to it because I didn't notice it too much. By the time we hit 8K, the big players started to move together. It's probably the hardest final K of any course you'll run in cross country, so I was thinking about not going too soon. Some guys were getting antsy and started to kick and make a hard push from 1K out and I was trying to relax as much as possible while covering those moves. No race is perfect and some things I regret in terms of strategy; I didn't close down some small gaps in the last 600 meters so when we hit the home stretch I was separated from the guys who finished fifth-through-10th. I wish I moved on them sooner."
On picking up his second All-America honor ... "It's phenomenal. I'm so honored to be part of this program and a part of Michigan. I finished in last place in this meet as a freshman, so last year to come back and earn All-American was kind of my coming-out party and this year I feel I'm starting to cement myself as a threat, and a guy who's working talented and working hard out front. It was unbelievable; I put a lot of trust in Coach Sullivan and it paid off, so I'm very happy with this team, too. We finished 11th, which is the best since I've been here. When I heard I finished 13th I was ecstatic; when I heard the team finished 11th I just looked and smiled at Coach Sullivan and said 'There we go!'. It's a big step forward as a program. We're competing against the teams we want to compete with now and this is awesome."
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard