U of M - Wolverines Cap Historic Season Ninth at NCAAs
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What You Need to Know
» The last time U-M won both the Big Ten and NCAA Great Lakes Regional team titles and recorded a top-10 NCAA finish in the same season was 1997, when the team finished a (tied) program-best fourth at the NCAA Championships.
» Mason Ferlic was Michigan's top finisher in 67th place, while Tony Smoragiewicz (72nd) and Ben Flanagan (83rd) packed up behind him, completing a seven-second split from 1-3.
» All five of Michigan's scorers finished in the top 130, giving the Wolverines 348 points as a team.
• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery
Site: E.P. Tom Sawyer Park (Louisville, Ky.)
Meet: NCAA Championships
U-M Team Finish: 9th Place of 31 Teams (348 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 67th place (30:42.3)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The fifth-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team wrapped up a historic season under second-year head coach Kevin Sullivan with a ninth-place finish at the 10,000-meter NCAA Championships on Saturday (Nov. 21) at Louisville's E.P. Tom Sawyer Park.
The top-10 finish came on the heels of Big Ten and Great Lakes Regional titles. It marks the 12th top-10 finish in program history and best NCAA finish since 2003, when U-M also finished ninth. Collectively, the 2015 postseason has been Michigan's best since 1997, when as an athlete Sullivan led the Wolverines to conference and regional titles as well as a fourth-place finish at the NCAA meet, where Sullivan earned his fourth All-America honor.
"I think the guys are disappointed -- they had aspirations of being on the podium today and I think they had potential to do that, we just didn't have the best race of the season, and that's what we needed to be a podium-type team," said Sullivan. "That being said, our goal coming into the season was to win Big Tens and be a top-10 team nationally. I told them afterwards that we met both those preseason goals, and for that, and the way they approached the season, they need to be proud of what they've accomplished."
Today's 254-runner field went out fast, as the lead pack went through 2K in 5:38, and senior captain Mason Ferlic was just three seconds off that pace.
By the halfway point, Michigan was in sixth place in the team standings with Ferlic pacing the Wolverines in 15th place. The leaders continued to push the pace and with 2K to go, and Ferlic remained in the top 20. The fast start began to take a toll on Ferlic in the final 2,000 meters, and he began to slip back, crossing the finish line in 67th place in a time of 30:42.3.
"It was a tough day for Mason," Sullivan explained. "His goal coming in was to be a top-10 performer today and the pace was really, really hot from the gun. He made an effort to go with the leaders and really only faded in the last half mile, otherwise we would have seen another All-American performance. This was a testament to his season though, he wanted to be top 10, and he had to put everything out there in order to be there and he came up a little short. But I think after reflecting on the disappointment of not finishing where you want to, it was better for him to try and be in that positon than to settle for 30th or 40th place."
Michigan senior Tony Smoragiewicz worked his way through the field over the second half of the race and moved up 58 spots after the 2K mark, nearly catching Ferlic. Smoragiewicz clocked a time of 30:44.3 to finish 72nd overall, beating his previous personal best of 31:00, which he ran at the 2013 NCAA Championships. Junior co-captain Ben Flanagan completed U-M's seven-second split from 1-3, finishing 83rd in a time of 30:49.8.
Senior/junior Nick Renberg and junior Connor Mora, who each made their NCAA Championships debut, secured Michigan's fourth and fifth scoring positions, respectively. After getting a slow start, Renberg improved from 202nd place at the 2K mark to 101st with 2,000 meters to go and picked off nine more runners in the final 2K to finish 92nd in a time of 30:53.7. Renberg topped his previous personal best of 31:08, which he ran last weekend at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Mora also ran a 10K personal best, improving on his time of 31:22, which he ran at the 2013 Great Lakes Regional in his 10,000-meter debut. Mora crossed the finish line today in 31:13.1 to secure 129th place.
Junior/sophomore Aaron Baumgarten (31:56.7; 195th) and senior August Pappas (31:59.6; 201st) rounded out Michigan's seven runners in uniform.
"I thought our two best performances of the day were Tony Smoragiewicz and Nick Renberg," Sullivan added. "Tony did a really nice job of working through the field and he's been one of our most consistent performers, certainly through the postseason. This was Nick's first time here as a redshirt junior and to handle the size of the field and some of the nerves that come with being at our first national championships, I thought he had a very impressive performance for us."
Today's NCAAA Championships marked the final collegiate cross country race for seniors Pappas, Smoragiewicz and Ferlic. Collectively, they have finish in the top three in the Big Ten and Great Lakes Region and qualified for the NCAA Championships in each season at Michigan. They finished on a high note in their final season, winning Big Ten and Great Lakes Regional titles and securing ninth at today's meet.
Top 10 Team Finishers
1. Syracuse 82
2. Colorado 91
3. Stanford 151
4. Oregon 183
5. Iona 231
6. Arkansas 244
7. Louisville 331
8. Washington 345
9. MICHIGAN 348
10. Georgetown 352
Top 10 Individual Finishers
1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon 28:45.8
2. Patrick Tiernan, Villanova 29:11.1
3. Pierce Murphy, Colorado 29:37.0
4. Justyn Knight, Syracuse 29:46.1
5. Jonathan Green, Georgetown 29:49.5
6. Jim Rosa, Stanford 29:52.7
7. Sean McGorty, Stanford 29:53.4
8. Colin Bennie, Syracuse 29:55.9
9. Martin Hehir, Syracuse 29:59.5
10. Marc Scott, Tulsa 30:02.6
67. Mason Ferlic 30:42.3
72. Tony Smoragiewicz 30:44.3*
83. Ben Flanagan 30:49.8
92. Nick Renberg 30:53.7*
129. Connor Mora 31:13.1*
195. Aaron Baumgarten 31:56.7
201. August Pappas 31:59.6
* = collegiate best at 10,000 meters
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard