U-M Places Fourth at Virginia Behind Ferlic's Top-10 Finish
Mason Ferlic

Sept. 22, 2012

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Site: Earlysville, Va. (Panorama Farms Cross Country Course)
Meet: Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational (8,000 Meters)
U-M Team Finish: 4th Place of 10 Teams (75 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 6th (24:28.5)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Sept. 28 -- at Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 5 p.m.

EARLYSVILLE, Va. -- The 21st-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team finished fourth out of 10 teams at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 22) at Virginia's Panorama Farms Cross Country Course. Each of the Wolverines' five scores finished within the top 25, tallying 75 points. No. 4 Oklahoma won the team title with 40 points.

It marked the season debut for all five Wolverine scorers. Sophomore Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy) was Michigan's top finisher, completing the 8,000-meter course in a career-best time of 24:28.5.

Junior Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) followed a pack of four consecutive Oklahoma finishers across the finish line, placing 12th in personal-best 8K time of 24:31.3.

In his career debut in Maize and Blue, senior transfer Dan Lowry (Philadelphia, Pa./La Salle College) stopped the clock at 24:34.0, finishing 15th.

Junior Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) (24:46.8) and senior Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge) (24:52.0) rounded out Michigan's five scorers, taking the 20th and 22nd spots, respectively.

The Wolverines will be back in action next weekend at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28. The race is set for a 5 p.m. start.

Team Standings

 1. Oklahoma                   40
 2. Arkansas                   61
 3. Virginia                   66
 4. MICHIGAN                   75
 5. Duke                      135
 6. California                153
 7. Kentucky                  200
 8. Norfolk State             256
 9. VCU                       261
10. Howard                    283

Top 10 Finishers

  1. Kemoy Campbell, Arkansas             24:04.7
  2. Bill Kogel, Oklahoma                 24:11.8
  3. Eric Fernandez, Arkansas             24:19.4
  4. Zach Gates, Virginia                 24:21.5
  5. Solomon Haile, Arkansas              24:24.1
  6. Mason Ferlic, U-M                    24:28.5
  7. Sean Keveren, Virginia               24:30.0
  8. Patrick Casey, Oklahoma              24:30.3
  9. Andrew Weaver, Oklahoma              24:30.4
 10. Kevin Williams, Oklahoma             24:30.4

Other Michigan Finishers

 12. Mark Beams, U-M                      24:31.3
 15. Dan Lowry, U-M                       24:34.0
 20. Morsi Rayyan, U-M                    24:46.8
 22. Zach Ornelas, U-M                    24:52.0
 33. Tony Smoragiewicz, U-M               25:24.4
 36. Nick Posada, U-M                     25:34.6
 38. Nick Kern, U-M                       25:40.7
 44. Alex Standiford, U-M                 25:49.9
 50. Scotty Albaugh, U-M                  26:02.2
 62. August Pappas, U-M                   26:31.6
 67. Alex Moran, U-M                      26:54.9


Michigan Head Coach Alex Gibby
On the team's progress over the last year ... "We're certainly a lot better than we were last year, we're a much better team overall. We ran against a good group today and it's like any other early season meet, we did some things really well and were really sloppy with some other decisions. The race went a whole bunch of different directions today and I think if we were a little sharper we'd probably finish second in this race. We're certainly better than we have been. We had a little bit of misfortune, Dan Lowry was leading the race at two and a half miles and fell and that probably affected him a little bit. Next time out, he won't be our second guy, he won't be 15th, he'll be in the top two or three like he's capable of being. The training has paid off, but it's a process. We're going to be more of an October-November team though -- that's the way our training cycle is set up."

On racing against other top-30 teams early in the season ... "It's a necessary development. They got a good idea of what racing tactics were today, between both Oklahoma and Virginia, who ran very disciplined team races. I think we're a better team, but we were a little bit sloppy and got exploited by that. But the next time they see something like that at the NCAA meet, Big Tens or at Wisconsin here in a couple weeks, we'll be better for it."

On individual performances that stood out ... "Mason (Ferlic) and Mark (Beams) in particular, they fronted our effort. Their performances are a product of the work they've done since they've been here. Both of them are much more advanced than they were last year and they'll continue to be. I was pleased with both of them, but with that, Morsi (Rayyan) and Dan (Lowry) need to be a little sharper, we need to add Brendon Blacklaws into the mix, Tony Smoragiewicz needs to get more experience and attack for the full five miles. But, it was a good effort overall."

U-M Sophomore Mason Ferlic
On the first race together for this group of runners ... "I think things went really well today. It was our first meet of the season so it was a little rust-buster. Compared to where we were last year, our whole team, our first man to our 12th man, is in a completely different position. Mentally and physically I think we pretty much have a new team identity and we're excited. Even though we didn't come home with the win today, I think it shows a lot of good things for the future. This was a good step for us."

On his personal improvement from last season ... "Last year, my freshman year of cross country, was what I deem a 'freshman season.' It was actually pretty disappointing. I felt like I was ready to go, but in races, I just couldn't put the physical and mental aspect together at the same time and that definitely showed in results. It was a huge learning curve coming from high school to my freshman year. I was thrown in with the Big Ten squad -- Coach Gibby thought I was ready and I believed I was ready, but racing results weren't what I expected. I took some time off during the winter, I came back for some races outdoor and I was kind of a new runner at that point. I had adjusted to Gibby's program, his philosophy and his training. I think I showed signs of improvement during the track season and made steps in the right direction. Coming off some great summer training this year, I felt like my fitness was exponentially higher than it was last year. Having that experience from cross country last year really helped coming into the first race today. I've been in this position before, but we had eight guys today that had never put on the Block M. Whether they were looking to me or not, I just stepped up today. I knew how to put the physical and mental aspects together and it showed today so I'm extremely happy."

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423