Nov. 12, 2013
Friday, Nov. 15 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), Noon CST
The 16th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will compete in its second of three championship meets at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Friday (Nov. 15). The University of Wisconsin's 10,000-meter Zimmer Championship Course will be the site of the regional event for the second straight year, and the event will kick off at noon CST, with the women's 6K following at 1:15 p.m. CST.
Roundtrip spectator shuttles are available for $5 from Blackhawk Church, which is located five miles north of Zimmer Course. [ More Information ]
The 16th-ranked Wolverines will be joined by three other nationally ranked programs at the regional meet, including No. 11 Indiana, No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 22 Notre Dame. The four nationally ranked teams also occupy the top four spots in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region poll in the same order.
Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin are extremely familiar with each other, as the three went 1-2-3, respectively, at the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 3, ending Wisconsin's streak of 14 straight conference titles.
There are six Big Ten teams in the Great Lakes Region, which are all ranked among the top 10 in the USTFCCCA regional poll, including No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Purdue, No. 7 Michigan State and No. 8 Ohio State.
Michigan previewed the regional course at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 19, finishing ninth in a field where 19 of the 35 teams were ranked in the nation's top 30. Junior Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy) paced U-M's five scorers to the finish line within a 48-second split.
With 30 teams in the Great Lakes Region and each squad consisting of seven runners, the regional field will be made up of a little more than 200 student-athletes.
Wisconsin has won the last 11 regional titles (2002-12). In 2007, the Badgers shared the regional crown with Michigan.
Michigan has won two regional titles (1997 and 2007, t-1st) since the inaugural meet in 1993.
The top two teams at each of the nine regionals around the country earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships (Nov. 23), while another 13 receive at-large bids based on their regular-season and postseason performances. Michigan has qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of the last two seasons, earning an at-large bid in 2011 after finishing third at the Big Ten Championships and Great Lakes Regional and grabbing one of two automatic spots last season with its runner-up finish at regionals.
Michigan returns two of its five All-Great Lakes Region performers from a year ago, including seniors Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) (13th) and Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) (19th). The top 25 finishers earn all-region recognition.
In addition to Mark Beams and Morsi Rayyan, Mason Ferlic is the only other member of U-M's regional squad with collegiate racing experience at 10,000 meters. Ferlic was a member of Michigan's regional and national team as a freshman in 2011 but missed the postseason in last year due to injury.
Head coach Alex Gibby has helped Michigan improve its finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional each year during his tenure. After finishing seventh in 2010 with the group he inherited, his 2011 squad placed third, and last year's team ran to a runner-up finish.
The Wolverines finished second at the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, which was the program's highest finish since 2008. Michigan's 73 points finished second to Wisconsin, which won its 11th straight conference title with 43 points.
Mason Ferlic has been Michigan's top finisher in each race where its varsity squad has competed this season. Ferlic finished eighth at the Cowboy Jamboree (Sept. 28), 12th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 19) and ninth at the most-recent Big Ten Championships (Nov. 3).
Finishing second at the Big Ten Championships (Nov. 3) helped Michigan remain at No. 16 in the most-recent USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll released on Nov. 5. The Wolverines dropped out of the poll during the week of Oct. 8 (week 4) for the first time since the third regular-season poll of the 2011 season.
Seniors Mark Beams and Morsi Rayyan, as well as junior Mason Ferlic, were announced as Michigan's tri-captains for the 2013 season on Oct. 14. Beams and Rayyan are each serving as captains for the second straight season.
THE GIBBY FILES
Head coach Alex Gibby is in his fourth year at the helm of the men's cross country program. In 2012, Gibby guided Michigan to its best season in four years, highlighted by runner-up finishes at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Great Lakes Regional. He also helped Michigan qualify for the NCAA Championships as a team for the second straight year. Gibby has wasted no time taking the program to the next level as the Wolverines have improved their conference and regional finishes each year under his guidance. The 2012 season marked the first time since 2008 that the top five finishers at the regional meet all earned All-Great Lakes Region honors. At the 2012 Big Ten Championships, Gibby also produced three All-Big Ten performers for the first time since the 2008 season.
Annual Results During the Gibby Era
Saturday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), Noon
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423