Wolverine Athlete Spotlight: Mason Ferlic
Mason Ferlic

April 25, 2014

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Junior/sophomore Mason Ferlic discusses the progress with his steeplechase training and overall fitness, and also brings us up to speed on his aerospace engineering coursework and summer plans.

On his progress in his second year in the steeplechase ... "We had a strong indoor season and we wanted to build on that momentum going into outdoor. The focus was on getting right into training -- we had good fitness, good patterns and good rhythm going. We transitioned to the start of indoor with a pretty heavy load. I know a lot of guys were tired. We were really putting the hammer down and looking to do big things. At the start of outdoor, we decided to open up with the steeple just to see where I was at and get a regional mark. I really hadn't done a lot of steepling before that race with the bad weather here. I did the water pit the day before and luckily my legs remembered how to do it from the previous year. I ran pretty well and I got the regional mark in the steeple. We've kind of been hands off the steeple until Big Tens -- the focus is kind of on the 5K and building fitness in general. This week we'll work on steeple specific stuff a little bit and start working on the hurdles and the water pit. The plan has been to stay away from the steeple, stay healthy and get fit."

On focusing on the 5,000m run now ... "After the steeple, we just wanted to see what I could do in the 5K. I ran well at Mt. SAC and was happy with the time, and how the fitness is progressing -- that's the main thing is fitness in general. Once you get the hurdling down in the steeple, the only other key piece if the fitness."

On being another year experienced ... "I'd say the biggest piece would be confidence. Last year, as a redshirt freshman and being new to the steeple, I'll admit sometimes I was a little intimidated, going up against guys who had been steepling for three or four years. This year I feel like I've got ahold of the event and my training. I have a new sense of confidence and aspirations to beat people and win races."

On competing in two relays at Penn Relays on Saturday ... "Well for one, I've never been to Penn and from what I've heard it's a really awesome meet to run at with the atmosphere and the crowd. It's a more fun event and you get absorbed in the energy. Doing the 4xmile is something we kind of joked about for the last year, saying, 'Oh, all the distance guys should run a 4xmile even thought were not milers.' The opportunity should be fun, but it's a really good training piece, too. We'll get to see where our speed is at and drop down in distance and work on fine tuning for racing. And the 4x800, I'll admit I'm a little scared for that. It's going to hurt, it's going to be a new sensation. They aren't our primary events, but they'll help in the long run."

On being an aerospace engineering major ... "I've really fallen in love with aerospace engineering. As a kid you grow up playing with planes and cars and rockets and now I actually get to build them and learn about them. It's pretty cool to fulfil a childhood fascination with engineering things. This semester I got involved with some really interesting projects. One of my classes that I'll be finishing up this Friday is kind of a senior-design project, even though I'm not a senior. We built a steam turbine to harness waste heat from aircraft engines and use it to power electrical systems. I get to start from the concept, to designing it, to finally building and fabricating and having your finished component -- it's really interesting. It's been a lot of work, but really fulfilling once you see it all together."

On his summer plans ... "Well last summer I interned at General Atomics out in San Diego, Calf., working on an unmanned aircraft. That was a really interesting experience. This summer I'm actually staying in Ann Arbor and working with a professor doing research on computational fluid dynamics on bio-wings -- kind of like morphing wings. I'm not sure exactly what it's going to entail, but it sounds interesting and the professor is excited about it. It was my goal to get a research job in Ann Arbor so that I can stay here and train. I can use the weight room and the training room when needed. I have access to the track 24/7 and that will make training so much easier. Last summer I was out in San Diego and I had to do things on my own and work around a tough work schedule. If I'm here, it's familiar and I have all the resources that I need. I'm really looking forward to staying here -- it should be a fun summer."

• Previous Spotlight: Stephen Burk