Nov. 15, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Alex Gibby
On winning the regional and automatically advancing to the NCAA Championships ... "Well it isn't the Big Ten, and certainly there is a team understanding that no matter how fun and enjoyable today was, it is simply a transition meet into the NCAA Championships next weekend, and nothing happened today that will allow us to be successful at the NCAAs unless we make the same quality decisions. However, with that said, after last week where we lost a close one with Indiana in the last 800 meters, it was nice to pull one out. Regardless of whether this is the third of the three championships meets that we weight and measure, we still won it, and that part is enjoyable. I'm particularly happy that we could do something for our two senior captains, Mark Beams and Morsi Rayyan. From where we started four years ago, where we were inconsequential at the regional level to being regional champions -- I think that is the thing I'm most happy with."
On the win providing confidence and helping to mentally prepare the team for NCAAs ... "The mental aspect is half the battle. And I would probably say that for the last four to six weeks that these guys have believed that they're as good if not better on any given day. However, you certainly have to get battle tested at this level. The particulars of learning how to win a race like this are a little different than being a close second or a close third. It was nice to see our guys figure out, as a group, what they needed to do and the level of execution they needed to engage in for the entirety of the effort."
On the first time at 10,000 meters this season ... "It played to our advantage certainly. The tactics in general played to our advantage in a sense that the race set up pretty sensibly. We were able to connect and move forward as a group. What I think I was most pleased with was the execution of our upperclassmen. Morsi, Mark and Mason (Ferlic) just did what they were supposed to do, and I think they did it with very little emotional investment. It's frustrating to see Cory Glines just shy of all-region honors, because for a true freshman at 10,000 meters, that's a heck of a job. Of course, August Pappas earning all-region honors -- that was an impressive race for him. He was nowhere to be seen the past couple years, and he's made himself an indispensable piece of what we're doing."
U-M Senior Mark Beams
On winning the regional title as a senior ... "It really is great. We haven't gotten a trophy as a team since Florida State my sophomore year, so it's really gratifying to finally win something and really see the fruits of our efforts. It's really all about the process and the journey that we started as freshmen. We were way down at the bottom. It was not an enjoyable experience, and we've just been working up and up and up ever since then. To finally be at the top as a team and get a bunch of guys on the all-region podium is really a great honor, and we're looking to cap off the last race at nationals the right way."
On what went well for the team and individually today ... "We packed up early. During the first mile or two, we grouped together and worked together, hanging out in the front pack. We stayed nice and relaxed. It was a very low-key effort -- keeping things under control. We started to push probably about 5-6K to get things moving into the latter portion of the race as a team. Individually, the key was staying relaxed through the first 6K of the race."
On the first time at 10K this season ... "The entire year we train for 10K -- the end of the season races -- regionals and nationals. Our training program benefits us at those distances. It was some of the freshmen's first time racing at this distance. I think they handled it well, but there it definitely a little bit of room for improvement, which is exciting."