U of M - All-America DMR Once Again

U of M - All-America DMR Once Again

Provided by U of M

What You Need to Know

» Michigan's distance medley relay collected All-America honors for the first time since the 2007 season, marking a return of the Maize and Blue to the national scene in the event.

» The squad of Connor Mora (1,200 meters), Taylor McLaughlin (400 meters), Brennan Munley (800 meters) and Mason Ferlic (1,600 meters) overcame an early fall to time 9:37.45 and finish in eight place.

» Steven Bastien sits in ninth place in the heptathlon competition (day-one, career-best 3,246 points) with three events remaining on the schedule for tomorrow, beginning at 1 p.m. EST (60-meter hurdles, Pole Vault, 1,000-meter run).

• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery

Site: Birmingham, Ala. (Birmingham Crossplex)

Event: NCAA Indoor Championships (Day 1)

U-M Team Result: Tie-32nd Place (1 point) after Day 1

Next U-M Event: Saturday, March 12 -- at NCAA Indoor Championships - Day 2 (Birmingham, Ala.), 1 p.m. EST

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The University of Michigan men's track and field team boasts All-Americans in the distance medley relay after one day of competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday (March 12) at Birmingham Crossplex. The relay squad overcame a first-leg fall to place eighth, securing the program's first scoring of the weekend ensuring All-America status for its four members.

In the heptathlon competition, senior/junior Steven Bastien totaled a day one career-best 3,246 points to position himself for an opportunity at back-to-back All-America accolades with a strong effort tomorrow (Saturday, March 12).

Head coach Jerry Clayton and his staff approached this weekend with the goal of having each of U-M's competing athletes earn All-America status. That goal is still on the table heading into the final day of competition, and Clayton is proud of the effort displayed by the Wolverines on Friday evening.

"They did an outstanding job," said Clayton of the relay squad.

"You could see after the race, Connor had spike marks on his legs and he fought through that to finish his race, but that's part of what makes the indoor season exciting. The goal here was to leave here with everyone being an All-American and that opportunity is still in place."

"We were also trying to score as many points as we could as a team," added Clayton, "and under the circumstances I think we did score as many points as we could. When you go down early like that and put yourself behind, to get back into the race and finish higher than anyone else who went down is a credit to those four as individuals."

Junior/sophomore Connor Mora led things off with the 1,200-meter leg, which set the stage for the remainder of the race in more ways than one.

About 600 meters in, on the second turn after the finish line, Mora -- as well as an athlete from Georgetown and at least one other program -- got caught up in an unavoidable tangle of legs and took a tumble after an athlete ahead of them fell on the track.

It was a nasty spill, and Mora was bleeding from spike marks on the backs of his legs, but he got up and pushed through the pain to fight back into a competitive position, trusting his teammates to continue that pace. In fact, of the three or four teams that had their races derailed by the first-leg wipeout, Michigan was the highest-finishing relay, showing the resilience and hard-nosed determination of Mora and his teammates paid off in a big way.

He handed the baton to Taylor McLaughlin, and he cruised through 400 meters at 46.36, making his national meet debut as a freshman. The program record holder powered through his leg to make up valuable ground before handing off to sophomore Brennan Munley, who clocked a 1:49.38 split on his 800-meter leg to put Ferlic in the position to secure a scoring effort and All-America finish for the Wolverines.

Senior Mason Ferlic timed 3:59.71 in his 1,600-meter leg, improving U-M's standing and, fittingly, closing out the race that represents the collective efforts of Michigan's middle-distance and distance programs better than any other. The program has enjoyed another tremendous season under assistant coach Kevin Sullivan, and Ferlic closing down the final true race of the 2016 indoor season is appropriate, if not deserved.

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The fifth-year senior co-captain was tremendously proud of his teammates for showing the will to compete and battle through adversity, something Michigan has proven itself capable of time and time again.

"I'm so incredibly proud of these guys," said Ferlic.

"I saw the fall, and Connor popped right back up. He didn't hang his head; he had his eyes forward and got back into it as best as he could. In this sport, and in sports in general, there are uncontrollable circumstances and it's all about how you respond and get back into it."

"Coming in, we had expectations to finish higher and I honestly believe we could have mixed it up with the best of them today, but to finish All-American today coming out of those circumstances leaves me feeling very proud."

It was meaningful for the Maize and Blue to return the DMR to national prominence. Not only has it been a goal of Clayton and assistant coaches Sullivan and Steven Rajewsky, but it means a great deal historically for the program as well.

"I think it was important for our program," said Sullivan.

It's been the hallmark of our program for 20 years. It's nice, after a bit of a hiatus, to be back here. We had some high goals and expectations, but things happen when you race."

What really made Sullivan proud was the resilience and will to stand back up that his athletes showed after literally getting knocked down.

"The biggest thing that happened out of this was this: when Connor went down, three other teams wend down with him, and out of those four, we were the only ones that got competitive again. Our guys showed a lot of heart and fight out there and that's why they are walking away as All-Americans. They deserve credit for that. It would have been easy to think that their dream of winning or finishing top three were gone, and it would have been easy for them to mail it in. It's a testament to those guys that they didn't."

Meanwhile, the morning and afternoon sessions had Wolverine fans with all eyes on Bastien, who placed eighth in this competition one year ago. He kicked off his weekend by timing 6.95 in the first heat of the 60-meter dash, just .01 shy of his PR of 6.94 set earlier this year. He placed fifth in his heat to garner 900 points.

The only event he scored more points in was the long jump (920 points). Bastien went 7.44 meters (24-5 ft.) to place second in his flight and fourth overall in the event. After the shot put, the Ann Arbor, Michigan, native cleared 2.01 meters (6-7 ft.) in the high jump, tying himself with four other competitors at that height. Each earned 813 points for his efforts, arriving Bastien at his career-best day-one total of 3,246 points.

Day-two action at the NCAA Indoor Championships begins tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, March 12) at noon CST, with Bastien among the heptathlon field that will begin with the 60-meter hurdles. Fans can tune into the live video stream of the meet on ESPN3 beginning at 4:25 p.m. EST. The final hep event is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. EST.

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard