By Nathaniel Clark, Daily Sports Writer
Published June 3, 2014
Even though they were only the preliminary rounds, the Michigan men’s track and field team raced as if they were the championships.
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Three Wolverines scored well enough at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. A few others also came close to qualifying but fell just short.
“Our goal was to get three or four guys into championships,” said Michigan coach Jerry Clayton. “There were a few missed chances, but overall I felt it was a good weekend for us.”
Redshirt junior Morsi Rayyan was the first to qualify for Michigan with a 12th-place finish in the 10,000-meter run on Thursday (30:05.24). He nearly made it in the 5,000-meter race but just missed as he came in 18th.
Redshirt sophomore Derek Sievers topped off his NCAA Championship berth in the shot put with a new career-best and school-record 18.85 meters. It was good for 12th place in the event.
But it was fellow redshirt sophomore Mason Ferlic who had the most impressive performance for the Wolverines. He won the 3,000-meter steeplechase ahead of 47 other racers with a personal-best 8:38.74. Like Rayyan, Ferlic participated in the 5,000-meter run, but came up just shy of a championship berth, finishing 16th with a time of 14:50.04.
Redshirt junior James Yau also set a new career high in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 8:55.73, but he failed to qualify for championships as he came in 23rd.
Despite strong performances in both the javelin and long jump events, Michigan did not advance anyone to championships from either event. Sophomore Stephen Burk placed 39th in the javelin at 58.91 meters, while redshirt junior Patrick Cochran was 31st in the long jump (7.13 meters).
In the hammer throw, sophomore Brad Bolton came in 25th at 60.80 meters, while fifth-year senior Ethan Dennis could only muster 35th place with a distance of 57.58 meters.
“I felt bad for Ethan because he’s a senior and this was his last shot to qualify,” Clayton said.
Fellow fifth-year senior Bradley James saw his college career end in the same fashion. He notched 24th place in the high jump at 2.10 meters.
Clayton and the Wolverines have their work cut out for them with championships starting next June 11. However, they feel confident in their ability to succeed and are enjoying the current schedule, where there is one meet roughly every two weeks.
Clayton also noted that it was the first time several of the runners competed at the preliminaries, but he praised their performances given the challenge they faced.