U of M Men - Baumgarten Impresses as U-M Takes Fourth at Griak Invite

U of M Men - Baumgarten Impresses as U-M Takes Fourth at Griak Invite

Provided by U of M

Sept. 24, 2016

What You Need to Know

» In the second 8K race of the year so far, U-M was led by Aaron Baumgarten, who placed third overall -- his fifth career top-five finish.

» Under head coach Kevin Sullivan, U-M has recorded top-four team finishes during seven of the last eight regular-season scored meets.

» U-M was the top-finishing conference team among six Big Ten schools competing overall in the program's first trip to state of Minnesota since 2005 -- the last year that the Golden Gophers hosted the Big Ten Championships.

• Complete Results PDF | Event Information | Photo Gallery

Site: Minneapolis, Minn. (Les Bolstad Golf Course)

Meet: Roy Griak Invitational (8,000 meters)

U-M Team Finish: 4th Place (157 points)

Top U-M Individual: Aaron Baumgarten, 3rd place (25:10.5)

Next U-M Event: Friday, Sept. 30 -- at Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 2 p.m.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The 17th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team earned a fourth-place team finish at the 8,000-meter Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 24), hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. U-M's top two finishers separated themselves from the bunch, but scorers three through five had just a 10-second split between them, and the Wolverines powered through a muddy course to finish as the top Big Ten school among the six competing conference programs.

In the Maize and Blue's first visit to Minnesota since the 2005 season, the trip was preceded by several inches of rain in the nights leading up to the race. With five races taking place before the gun of the men's championship event, the course was worn and muddy by the time the Wolverines toed the line, but the test was an important one for U-M.

It represented a chance for Michigan to get its spikes down on the site of the Big Ten Championships next month (Oct. 30), but the meet also featured a packed field with more than 260 competitors representing more than 30 NCAA Division I programs.

Senior/junior Aaron Baumgarten continued his strong start to the 2016 campaign, navigating the hilly terrain with smooth execution. Baumgarten started well, jumping out to the front of the pack, and he remained among the leaders for the entirety of the race.

The leaders came through the mile at 4:51, and Baumgarten passed the 3,000-meter mark at 9:13 right on the shoulder of the front group. By 5K he was back out front at 15:35, and he finished the afternoon with a 5:04/mile pace overall, tied for the fastest of the day.

Baumgarten kept pace with the front-runners and took his turn with the lead for parts of the latter half of the race. With no shortage of small hills and valleys on the golf course, he had to pick his moments while wading through thick mud and a tight group of leaders.

Baumgarten kept himself in the top three, jockeying back and forth with Colorado State's Jerrell Mock for the lead over the final 800 meters or so. Mock surged through the bottom of a hill and, approaching the final peak, he passed Baumgarten's right shoulder for the final time, cruising ahead for victory. Baumgarten was nipped by Minnesota's Matt Welch near the line and had to settle for third.

The time was a good one though, especially considering the course conditions, as he was the first Wolverine across the line in 25:10.5.

U-M's second finisher was graduate student Connor Herr, who has now scored in both his opportunities wearing the block M. Herr battled through the chase pack to finish 14th overall in 25:29. Senior Connor Mora (25:55), sophomore/freshman Jordy Hewitt (25:56) and senior/junior Austin Benoit (26:05) rounded out Michigan's top five.

Graduate student Ned Willig (78th) and senior/junior Billy Bund (95th) completed U-M's scoring seven.

Michigan returns to action next weekend with the Notre Dame Invitational (Friday, Sept. 30) in South Bend, Indiana. The race is set for a 2 p.m. starting gun.

Top 10 Team Finishes

1. Portland (69 points)

2. Iowa State (97)

3. Boise State (112)

4. U-M (157)

5. Michigan State (161)

6. UCLA (168)

7. Colorado State (178)

8. Southern Utah (223)

9. Minnesota (256)

10. Illinois (285)

Top 10 Individual Finishers

1. Jerrell Mock, Colorado State (25:06.4)

2. Matt Welch, Minnesota (25:05.7)

3. AARON BAUMGARTEN, U-M (25:10.5)

4. Ryan Robinson, Michigan State (25:13.9)

5. Jeff Thies, Portland (25:14.7)

6. Obsa Ali, Minnesota (25:16.5)

7. Yusuke Uchikoshi, Boise State (25:18.5)

8. Ferdinand Edman, UCLA (25:20.5)

9. Kasey Knevelbaard, Southern Utah (25:23.3)

10. Aidan Reed, Southern Utah (25:23.7)

Other U-M Finishers

14. Connor Herr (25:28.6)

44. Connor Mora (25:54.8)

46. Jordy Hewitt (25:55.7)

55. Austin Benoit (26:04.6)

78. Ned Willig (26:18.3)

95. Billy Bund (26:29)

101. Kyle Kroon (26:33.1)

257. Matt Plowman (29:03.0)

DNF Kevin Hall

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard