Two in Top 15 Propel U-M Men to Fourth at Pre-Nats

Two in Top 15 Propel U-M Men to Fourth at Pre-Nats

Provided by U of M

What You Need to Know

» In the third 8K race of the season, Michigan topped ranked programs Indiana (13) and UTEP (12) among others, finishing as the top Big Ten team competing.

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

» Aaron Baumgarten has now been the top-finishing Wolverine in all three races he has run this fall.

• Complete Results PDF | Photo Gallery

Site: Terre Haute, Ind. (Lavern Gibson Championship Course)

Meet: adidas Pre-Nationals (8,000 meters)

U-M Team Finish: 4th Place of 37 (200 points)

Top U-M Individual: Aaron Baumgarten, 8th place (24:11.8)

Next U-M Event: Friday, Oct. 21 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 4:30 p.m.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The 20th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team earned a fourth-place team finish at the adidas Pre-Nationals meet on Saturday (Oct. 15) on the strength of two top-15 finishers. In an elite field of more than 260 athletes deep, the Wolverines held their own, led by impressive efforts from senior co-captain Connor Mora and senior/junior Aaron Baumgarten at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course.

Head coach Kevin Sullivan found a number of positives in today's results, and appreciated the way his team stepped up and started to form their own identity.

"I think it was important for the team to really get a sense of what their ability is, and it was important for me as a coach to see everything come together," he said.

"We're trying to have all the pieces come together on a couple of days in October and November, so today was good but we have meets over the next five weeks that our season is going to be judged on."

The wide-open starting line at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course funneled into a lead pack that featured athletes from Louisville, Arkansas, Oregon and UTEP in the early going. Mora held on to the back of that front group, mixing it up in the top 15 athletes, and he remained there for a good stretch of the first half of the race.

Several athletes took turns in the lead until Oregon's Edward Cheserek jumped out front for good. Near the 16-minute mark, Cheserek used a downhill stretch to open his lead even further, and there was no looking back at that point in the race. Over his next eight-plus minutes, he opened a lead of more than 20 seconds, ultimately winning the race in 23:34.7.

Deeper into the race, Mora began to fade but only slightly. He lost the leading chase pack but remained within striking distance of the top 10 individuals, while Baumgarten worked his way through the field. He picked off athletes one by one and surged into the top dozen runners, settling in toward the back of the top 10.

The race was competitive to the finish, with less than four seconds separating seventh from 13th place, and Baumgarten claimed eighth in 24:11.8 as the top-finishing Wolverine. He and Mora (13th) combined as the No. 1 and No. 2 Big Ten runners across the finish line.

Michigan's third finisher was graduate student Connor Herr (49th), while senior/junior Billy Bund (58th; 24:56.7), sophomore/freshman Jordy Hewitt (73rd; 25:06.5) and senior/junior Austin Benoit (79th; 25:08.3) ensured just 16 seconds difference between finishers two through five.

Those results were key for Sullivan, who learned a lot about his team in today's race.

"This is a moment in the season where we are really starting to define ourselves as a team," he said.

"We're still finding out where we are at, and six of the seven guys in the main race came out and put together really solid or just fantastic races, so I think it will help us build some good momentum over these next two weeks as we get ready for the Big Ten Championships."

U-M ran three athletes in the open race this afternoon as well, competing graduate student Ned Willig , junior/sophomore Kyle Kroon and sophoore/freshman Kevin Hall . All three were top-eight finishers, going four-five-eight, respectively, led by Willig in 25:36.9. Less than seven seconds separated Willig from Kroon in fifth (25:43.7) and Hall took eighth in 26:09.3.

U-M will be in action closer to home next weekend, competing in the EMU Fall Classic scheduled for Saturday (Oct. 21). The postseason gets underway the following weekend with the Big Ten Championships (Oct. 30).

Top 10 Team Finishes

1. Oregon (85 points)

2. Arkansas (110)

3. Colorado (124)

4. U-M (200)

5. Indiana (255)

6. UTEP (258)

7. Air Force (272)

8. Bradley (309)

9. San Francisco (323)

10. California (331)

Top 10 Individual Finishers

1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon (23:34.7)

2. Frankline Tonui, Arkansas (23:56.1)

3. Amon Terer, Campbell (23:58.5)

4. Matthew Maton, Oregon (24:07.7)

5. Calvin Chemoiywo, Louisville (24:07.7)

6. Edwin Kibichiy, Louisville (24:09.7)

7. Alex Short, San Francisco (24:11.2)

8. AARON BAUMGARTEN, U-M (24:11.8)

9. Cosmas Boit, UTEP (24:12.0)

10. Antony Kosgei, UTEP (24:13.1)

Other U-M Finishers

13. Connor Mora (24:15.7)

49. Connor Herr (24:52.1)

58. Billy Bund (24:56.7)

73. Jordy Hewitt (25:06.5)

79. Austin Benoit (25:08.3)

240. Micah Beller (26:46.4)

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard