Nov. 3, 2013
Site: West Lafayette, Ind. (Boilermaker Cross Country Course)
Meet: Big Ten Championships (8,000 Meters)
U-M Finish: 2nd Place of 11 Teams (66 points)
Top U-M Individual: Mason Ferlic, 9th (24:36.2)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Nov. 8 -- at Hoosier Invitational (Bloomington, Ind.), 4 p.m.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The 16th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team put its five scorers in the top 20 within a 14-second split to finish in second place with 66 points at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday (Nov. 3) at Purdue's Boilermaker Cross Country Course.
Indiana won the team title with 51 points, ending Wisconsin's run of 14 straight Big Ten titles, as Wisconsin finished third with 71 points.
From the gun, Michigan held a strong presence in the lead pack, with junior Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy) and senior Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) leading the race at the two-mile mark. Freshman Ben Flanagan (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada/St. Mary's HS) and senior Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) were also part of the large lead pack that remained intact through about the four-mile mark when the muddy conditions of Purdue's course caused the pack to start breaking up.
Despite Michigan's quartet of top-20 finishers, but Indiana put four across the line in the top 10 and its fifth runner was 21st.
Ferlic was Michigan's first finisher, taking ninth in 24:36.2, while Rayyan and Flanagan crossed the line in 11th and 12th, respectively, with times of 24:38.8 and 24:39.4. After Beams took 15th (24:45.5), junior/sophomore August Pappas (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) held off Wisconsin's Alex Brill and Indiana's Evan Esselink in the last 20 meters to place 19th in 24:52.0 and grab U-M's final scoring position.
Ferlic, Rayyan and Flanagan each earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team for his top-14 performance.
Fellow freshmen Cory Glines (Canton, Ohio/St. Thomas Aquinas) and Connor Mora (Cedar Springs, Mich./Cedar Springs HS) occupied the Maize and Blue's sixth and seventh spots, respectively, in their Big Ten Championships debut. Glines ran 25:10.4 to take 32nd, while Mora stopped the clock at 25:10.9 to place 33rd.
Select members of the team who will not compete at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional will wrap up their season at the Hoosier Invitational on Friday (Nov. 8) before the Wolverines continue the championship portion of their season at the regional meet, hosted by the University of Wisconsin on Nov. 15 at 12:15 p.m. CST.
1. Indiana 51 2. MICHIGAN 66 3. Wisconsin 71 4. Minnesota 136 5. Illinois 140 6. Purdue 163 7. Michigan State 170 8. Ohio State 182 9. Penn State 209 10. Iowa 275 11. Nebraska 314
Top 10 Finishers
1. Malachy Schrobilgen, Wisconsin 24:16.9 2. Matt McClintock, Purdue 24:17.9 3. Matt Fischer, Penn State 24:19.7 4. Caleb Rhynard, Michigan State 24:21.0 5. Jason Crist, Indiana 24:24.9 6. Jannis Topfer, Illinois 24:31.6 7. Rorey Hunter, Indiana 24:34.7 8. Carl Smith, Indiana 24:34.9 9. MASON FERLIC, U-M 24:36.2 10. Matthew Schwartzer, Indiana 24:36.2
Other Michigan Finishers
11. Morsi Rayyan, U-M 24:38.8 12. Ben Flanagan, U-M 24:39.4 15. Mark Beams, U-M 24:45.5 19. August Pappas, U-M 24:50.4 32. Cory Glines, U-M 25:10.4 33. Connor Mora, U-M 25:10.9 47. James Yau, U-M 25:25.6 61. Tony Smoragiewicz, U-M 25:35.9
N O T E S
Michigan has finished second place in each of the last two Big Ten Championships.
Mason Ferlic has been Michigan's top finisher in each of the three races that the varsity squad has competed in this season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Alex Gibby
On his overall thoughts on the race today ... "This is the first time we've ever entered this meet with an opportunity to win since I've been at Michigan and there is a learning experience there. The dynamics of running for one spot as opposed to second or third -- those moral victories -- it's a different environment and our kids haven't been through it yet. We had three very good races out of August Pappas, Ben Flanagan and Morsi Rayyan, and that's not to say Mark Beams and Mason Ferlic didn't run their hearts out, it's just a heck of a course and it caught up to them at the wrong moment. Hats off to Indiana -- they were outstanding over the last half mile and I think that was the first time we were out of the lead. That's frustrating going forward, but we still have a regional and national championship to contend for. This is a good group. We've believed in ourselves all year. I think that was evident today and we want to see that proven in even more of a concrete manor."
On moving forward to the regional and national championships ... "We're going to spend the next couple of days processing this intellectually and emotionally. We've got to go flat a little bit and back to the day-to-day routine and preparation. We've got a few efforts that we've got to nail down if we're going to be effective at 10,000 meter, two times, over eight days. We'll look for a very workman-like effort at the regional and then we're going to look to put the pieces together. The best seven guys we have are going to go on the line at the NCAA Championships and capitalize on the promise of what we've worked hard to achieve."
On helping to bring Michigan back into the mix the best teams in the country ... "It's where Michigan should be. We went through a little flat period, but now we're certainly getting consistence with our presence at the conference meet. If we do what we're supposed to do in the next two weeks, we'll have a three-year NCAA qualification streak to reflect upon. It is very hard during the process to objectively analyze where we are. Certainly we're pleased with little things, but we're still looking for that concrete marker that says we've arrived. We were hoping that moment would be the Big Ten Championships, regional championships and NCAAs -- that wasn't the case. As adults, we shift our focus a little more to the other two championships now. This is going to sting for a little bit -- as it should -- they're competitors. They didn't sign up for second place. We've got outstanding leadership. We'll get over the sting of this one because of the quality of our peer leadership and we'll move forward."
U-M Senior Morsi Rayyan
On finishing second for the second straight year ... "Honestly, I've never been so crushed. The whole team really wanted it today. Beating Wisconsin was nice, but that wasn't the ultimate goal. We're walking away definitely satisfied, but knowing that there was a lot more that we could have done."
On how the race played out today ... "We weren't sure if anyone was going to take it out at any sort of fast pace today and nobody ended up doing that. The pace we ended up going out at was pretty manageable for Mason (Ferlic) and I up front. We were in the front of that group up front and we were doing fine. Going into it, coach Gibby knew that the 3-4 mile stretch was going to be the one that was going to make or break the race because it's really flat in that area and we knew we had to take it out and stay focused. I think we did that well. We just didn't close as well as we needed to."
On helping the team move forward for regionals and nationals ... "Through the years, Coach Gibby has emphasized squelching any overly emotional feelings down when they don't need to be present so we'll probably just get back to the grind of training for the next two weeks or so. Hopefully that will allow us to forget about this and focus on the next two competitions."
U-M Freshman Ben Flanagan
On his thoughts on the team's finish ... "We can't help but be a tiny bit disappointed because we knew we had an opportunity to come out here and win and it didn't quite end up in our favor. I think in general we're pretty satisfied with our effort -- we all tried our best and we all went for it, which is important. Considering how young we are, this is a really good sign. I think we're going to bounce back from it and focus on regionals and nationals. It's going to sting a little bit but at least we know we did everything we could."
On what he learned from his Big Ten debut ... "This was the first race I actually felt not like a freshman. The first couple of races were just about adjusting to the atmosphere and this is the first time I felt like I did in high school -- I felt comfortable and myself again, which was really nice. The thing that was the most different that I've never experienced before, was that I really learned how it feels to run for the team -- that's what carried me through the last two miles. Every time I saw a Maize and Blue team inside our outside the crowd, it was so motivating and today I learned how powerful that can be in the middle of race."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423