Ferlic, Bastien Win Titles; U-M Places Fourth at Big Tens
Provided by U of M
What You Need to Know
» The Maize and Blue won titles in the 5,000-meter run (Mason Ferlic) and heptathlon (Steven Bastien), with Bastien breaking his own program record in the process by totaling 5,801 points.
» Michigan also claimed medals in the 400-meter run (Taylor McLaughlin, third place), 800-meter run (Brennan Munley, third place) and triple jump (Kevin Stephens Jr., runner-up).
» McLaughlin broke the program record with his 400 performance, clocking a lifetime-best 46.42, and Joe Ellis set the new Michigan standard in the weight throw (21.22m; 69-7.50 ft.).
• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery
Site: Geneva, Ohio (SPIRE Institute)
Event: Big Ten Indoor Championships (Day 2 of 2)
U-M Team Result: 4th Place of 12 Teams (71 points)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Sat., March 11-12 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships (Birmingham, Ala.)
GENEVA, Ohio -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team closed the Big Ten Indoor Championships with an excellent second day of action on Saturday (Feb. 27) at the SPIRE Institute, finishing with 71 points and the program's highest finish since the 2009 season. The Maize and Blue was just two points out of a runner-up program finish, another incredible jump forward for a Michigan program well on its way back to the top of the conference.
U-M set three program records and recorded four other top-10 all-time performances during the day, scoring in 10 events and one relay with scoring contributions from 11 individual athletes (not including relay participants). Several Wolverines outperformed their seeds, and many others stepped up with performances fitting of a championship weekend. For head coach Jerry Clayton and his staff, it was a weekend to be proud of.
"It's a credit to the athletes and the team as a whole for the way they are really starting to become a team and embracing what it takes," said Clayton. "That's the big thing for us, and the leadership that we see coming out of that is really starting to come forth as well. It's difficult to even single out individual efforts from this weekend because we had so many awesome performances. So many athletes really came through, in the field and on the track as well. We had people competing all over, and that's what it's about at this meet. In some events you may not get the time or mark you'd like, but the effort and the way that people are competing and putting themselves in a position to be successful is what is really impressive."
The Maize and Blue was narrowly edged by Minnesota (72) and Wisconsin (73) in the team standings, but the program has firmly placed itself back in the mix at the top of the Big Ten conference, and Clayton and his staff believe the roster may compete even better during the outdoor season.
Steven Bastien, a senior/junior, claimed U-M's second-ever Big Ten title in the heptathlon (Frank Shotwell; 2008) and toppled his own program record in the process with a total of 5,801 points. He wrapped the competition by setting new PRs in all three events contested on Saturday, giving him five new personal bests on the weekend among seven events (not including his point total).
Bastien began the afternoon by matching his career-best time in the 60-meter hurdles, timing 8.34 seconds, fourth fastest in the field. In the pole vault, he cleared a new personal-best height of 4.83 meters (15-10 ft.) on his third attempt, and he closed with the 1,000-meter run in a time of 2:40.01, another personal best.
Bastien, who had previously set the program standard during the 2015 NCAA Championships, eclipsed that total despite not matching his ideal performance in the long jump. He knew entering Saturday that a big Saturday performance was needed to score the way he wanted and secure a bid to the NCAA Championships and an outstanding day-two effort allowed him to do just that.
In the 5K race, senior Mason Ferlic blew the doors off the field, really striving to push the pace. The event began a little bit slow for his liking, so he took the lead and picked up the pace, much like his strategy in Friday's 5K race.
"We went through the mile pretty slow, so I kind of motioned for someone else to take it over because I didn't want to lead it by myself," he explained, "but no one really made an aggressive move. At first, I was kicking myself because I took the lead again, which turned out to be not the best strategy yesterday."
Friday's miscalculation made Saturday's bold decision that much gutsier, and Ferlic's risk paid off. His early lead grew and grew once he stretched things out around the 2,000-meter mark.
"I saw an opportunity to break some guys, and I'm happy the way it played out. I surged after about 2K and put on some distance, and I kept opening the gap. I just kept pressing and tried to stay relaxed, and it was great encouragement to have the guys on the sidelines cheering me on and telling me that the gap was getting wider. I got butterflies going into the last 600, worried I would get rolled down but I kept the pressure on and it paid off for me."
Ferlic was joined by August Pappas in 5K scoring efforts, as the fifth-year senior finished seventh to add two more points to the Wolverine total. As a senior co-captain, the full-circle transformation of the Wolverines from Big Ten bottom-dweller to fast-rising contender is special to see for Ferlic.
"This is the best total track team performance I've seen at a meet, especially at a cofnerence meet," he said.
"We had a bit of a rough day the first day, where things didn't go people's way. We really stepped it up this second day and showed that we can get back into that competitive attitude. We had some big hitters that came away with some big performances and we put together a total team performance and that's what put us into fourth place. There is a lot to be proud of going into nationals and the outdoor season, and even looking beyond that."
Junior Connor Mora scored in the mile race, placing fourth in 4:09.32. Mora came on especially strong down the home stretch, passing a few competitors on the final straightaway and showing a lot of juice in his legs to lean ahead of Wisconsin's Austin Mudd at the line and pick up five valuable points for U-M.
Sophomore Brennan Munley scored six points for the Maize and Blue with his third-place finish, timing 1:48.38 across the line. After scoring as a freshman in 2015, Munley found the podium as a true sophomore, an impressive accomplishment to be sure, and he also improved his standing on U-M's all-time performance list, moving up to No. 4.
In the weight throw, sophomore/freshman Joe Ellis placed fourth with a mark of 21.22 meters (69-7.50 ft.), narrowly missing the podium but establishing a new Michigan record to top the mark held by Ethan Dennis since the 2013 season.
Ellis threw more than 20 meters on four of his five clean attempts, and it was the first throw of the final that put him atop the Michigan leaderboard. He was not the only athlete to record a top-10 all-time mark in the event, either, as junior/sophomore co-captain Grant Cartwright also competed, making his second appearance of the weekend after participating in the shot put yesterday.
Cartwright did not make the final but set a PR and improved his standing on U-M's all-time performance list, jumping from sixth to third.
Kevin Stephens Jr., a junior/sophomore for the Maize and Blue, medaled in the triple jump with a runner-up finish and a massive PR. Stevens improved his previous lifetime best by nearly two feet when he jumped 15.47 meters (50-9 ft.) on his final attempt of the first round.
Stephens' jump ranks No. 5 on the U-M all-time performance list, and his performance provided eight significant points for the Wolverines. He was one of several Wolverines who outperformed their respective seeds, as he entered the event ranked several spots behind his finishing position and came away with a performance to be proud of.
In the 400, freshman Taylor McLaughlin clocked 46.42 to break the program-best time set in 2015 by Ali Arastu. Arastu's mark had broken a record previously held by U-M Hall of Famer Omar Davidson for 28 years. He earned a runner-up showing in his heat, placing third overall in an outstanding debut for the decorated freshman, and his time just narrowly missed a bid to the national meet, sitting 14th on the NCAA performance list as of Saturday evening, according to TFRRS.com.
In the 60-meter dash, senior Chris Maye scored for the Wolverines by placing eighth in 6.82.
U-M's 4x400-meter relay team closed out the weekend with the team's final scoring contribution, as the Michigan foursome of freshman Blake Washington, McLaughlin, senior Phil Washington III and Munley. The unit placed seventh, while Washington made his postseason debut.
COLLEGIATE PERSONAL BESTS
Steven Bastien -- 8.34 H%
Taylor McLaughlin -- 46.42^
Brennan Munley -- 1:48.38
Steven Bastien -- 2:40.01
Mason Ferlic -- 13.50.81
Steven Bastien -- 5,801 points^
Joe Ellis -- 21.22m (69-7.50)^
Grant Cartwright -- 20.01m (65-7.75 ft.)
Kevin Stephens Jr. -- 15.47m (50-9 ft.)
Alasgar Mammedov -- 2.03m (6-8 ft.)
Steven Bastien -- 4.83m (15-10 ft.)
^ School Record
% Ties career best
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard