U of M Men - Ferlic, Forys Top Six in Olympic Trials Steeplechase; Porter Advances
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What You Need to Know
» Five Wolverines competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday and Friday (July 7-8), including recent graduate Mason Ferlic and rising sophomore Taylor McLaughlin from the 2016 Big Ten outdoor runner-up team.
» Ferlic (8:30.03, fifth) and Craig Forys (8:34.16, sixth) placed two Wolverines in the top six of the 3,000-meter steeplechase final.
» Alumnus Jeff Porter advanced to the 110-meter hurdles semifinals, to be held Saturday (July 9) at 5:52 p.m. PDT and televised on NBC.
» Fresh off his sensational rookie season in maize and blue, Taylor McLaughlin ran in the 400-meter hurdles preliminary round on Thursday (July 7) but elected to focus on the upcoming World Junior Championships (July 21-23) instead of running in today's semifinal.
» Alumnus Lex Williams (2006-10) competed in the 1,500-meter run preliminary round Thursday, finishing 28th overall in 3:51.38.
EUGENE, Ore. -- Four athletes with ties to the University of Michigan men's track and field program competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday (July 8), running in three events at the University of Oregon's Historic Hayward Field.
Two athletes ran to top-six finishes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, including 2016 co-captain and NCAA champion Mason Ferlic (fifth), and alumnus Jeff Porter (2004-07) advanced to the 110-meter hurdles semifinals to highlight Friday's action.
MIDDLE-DISTANCE and DISTANCE
Ferlic was aggressive and worked his way into the lead shortly after the gun, with a slower 69-70-second pace dictating the early going. He remained out front for the first few laps, until champion Evan Jager took over near the halfway point of the race with Ferlic still among the top three or four.
Ferlic showed his fitness over the fifth, sixth and seventh laps with 64.78, 63.35 and 64.96 splits but slipped into sixth place until Stanley Kebenei fell over the last water pit. Ferlic pushed past him into fifth place and closed with a final time of 8:30.03. Forys was the next across the line in 8:34.16, giving U-M a pair of top-six finishers in the national championship event.
Ferlic finished two spots shy of his goal of making Team USA but with a world of experience under his belt.
In the second of three heats of the 1,500-meter run prelims on Thursday, Lex Williams (2006-10) competed and finished in 3:51.38, taking eighth in his heat and 28th overall.
Williams finished .58 seconds shy of sealing an automatic bid to the semifinals, but he almost didn't get the chance to compete at the U.S. Trials at all. When the first participant list came out, he was numbered 31st in a 30-man field, but the right circumstances came to be that allowed him to travel to Oregon two days prior to his race, on June 5.
Williams blogged about his experience and about transitioning to 1,500 meters and training with fellow Wolverine great Nick Willis (2003-05) and coach Ron Warhurst.
SPRINTS and HURDLES
Porter began today's competition for athletes with U-M ties, competing in the fourth heat of the 110-meter hurdles and running to a second-place finish with a time of 13.72 (No. 11 overall).
He came in .04 seconds shy of the win, but it was a smooth, controlled effort for the 2007 NCAA champion knowing that a top-three finish booked him for tomorrow's semifinals. He will run again at 5:52 p.m. PDT on NBC.
Coming off a true freshman season that saw him earn two All-America honors and two conference medals including a Big Ten championship, Taylor McLaughlin saw his tremendous first year hit another new level this week at the trials.
He ran 51.24 to finish fourth in his heat in the preliminary round on Thursday, and a late disqualification moved him from 17th place, the first athlete out of qualifying, into the 16th and final at-large spot. However, with another big meet still ahead of him, McLaughlin elected to forego his opportunity to compete in today's semifinals.
Instead, he will turn his focus on the upcoming World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he will have a new opportunity to represent his country. McLaughlin will run at worlds at the end of the month (July 21-23), competing for Team USA against the best around the globe his age. He currently ranks No. 3 in the world with his season and lifetime-best race of 49.73.
The Olympic Trials go on Saturday (July 9) with Porter running in his 110-meter hurdles semifinal at 5:52 p.m. PDT on NBC.
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard