Mason Ferlic (L) and Mark Beams
Nov. 20, 2013
Fresh off its victory at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, the 13th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will bring the season to a close at the NCAA Championships on Saturday (Nov. 23). This year's national meet will return to Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 10th time and first since 2011. The men's 10K will kick off at noon, with the women's 6K following at 1:15 p.m.
A live webcast of the national championships will be streamed on NCAA.com.
The championship field features 31 teams, including the top two teams from each of the nine regions around the country, as well as 13 additional teams that earned an at-large bid. An additional 38 runners also qualified individually by recording the four highest finishes on teams that did not qualify at their respective regional meet. [ Championship Field ]
The 13th-ranked Wolverines will be joined by two other Big Ten programs at the national meet, including No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 20 Indiana.
Under head coach Alex Gibby's direction, Michigan has now advanced to the NCAA Championships as a team in each of the last three years. The Wolverines earned an at-large bid in 2011 after finishing third and automatically qualified in 2012 and 2013 as a result of their second- and first-place performances, respectively.
The NCAA Championships return to "Cross Country Town, USA" for the 10th time and first since 2011 after being hosted by the University of Louisville a year ago. Terre Haute, Ind., was first home to the national event in 2002 and was again awarded the meet from 2004-11.
The top 40 individual finishers at the NCAA Championships earn All-America honors. Michigan's last All-American was Nate Brannen in 2004.
Michigan has not competed in Terre Haute, Ind., since the 2011 NCAA Championships. Morsi Rayyan (179th), Mark Beams (204th) and Mason Ferlic (252nd) were each members of U-M's NCAA squad that placed 20th in 2011, and the trio will return to lead the Wolverines as tri-captains this year.
Oklahoma State has won three of the last four national championships (2009, '10, '12), with Wisconsin claiming the title in 2011. Oklahoma State is currently ranked second in the nation, while Northern Arizona owns the top spot.
Michigan returns three members of its NCAA Championships squad from 2012, when the Wolverines finished 23rd overall. Mark Beams (101st), Tony Smoragiewicz (132nd) and Morsi Rayyan (196th) were U-M's first, third and sixth finishers, respectively. The race was Smoragiewicz's collegiate debut at 10,000 meters. August Pappas started the race but was unable to finish due to injury.
Michigan will have two true freshmen in its lineup at the NCAA Championships, Ben Flanagan (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada/St. Mary's) and Cory Glines (Canton, Ohio/St. Thomas Aquinas). Glines finished one spot shy of All-Great Lakes Region honors, placing 26th in his collegiate debut at 10,000 meters. Flanagan sat out the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and will make his collegiate debut at 10,000 meters at the national meet.
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 Big Ten Championships (Nov. 3) and most recently helped U-M win the NCAA Great Lakes Regional with his third-place performance (Nov. 15).
Winning the NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Nov. 15) helped Michigan jump three spots to No. 13 in the most-recent USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll released on Nov. 18. 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, but have maintained their presence in the national poll in each of the last three polls.
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.
This season, Gibby expanded upon that success, leading U-M to its first NCAA Great Lakes Regional title since 2007, and first outright crown since 1997, as well as its third straight automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.
Annual Results During the Gibby Era
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423