NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The University of Michigan men's cross country team is ranked No. 22 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Cross Country Coaches' Preseason Poll, as announced Tuesday (Aug. 26).
The announcement marks the highest preseason ranking for the Wolverines since the 2009 season, when they were also ranked 22nd, and gives U-M three consecutive years among the nation's top 30.
Overall, U-M is one of three Big Ten schools ranked in the preseason poll, joining Indiana (No. 6) and Wisconsin (No. 11).
Led by All-American junior Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy), the Maize and Blue returns four of seven runners from last year's NCAA Championships team, including sophomore Ben Flanagan (Kitchener, Ontario/St. Mary's) and juniors August Pappas (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D./Rapid City Central).
Sophomores Connor Mora (Cedar Springs, Mich./Cedar Springs) and Nick Renberg (Saline, Mich./Saline) also bring championship race experience to the squad, as both ran on the 2013 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship team.
In his first year as head coach, Kevin Sullivan looks to improve on a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships from a season ago while continuing U-M's stretch of two straight seasons with top-two finishes at both the Big Ten and NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships.
The Wolverines will open the 2014 season on Friday (Aug. 29), with the annual Michigan Open at 10:30 a.m. The 5,000-meter, non-scoring race will be held at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich.
Contact: Chad Shepard