The Michigan men’s track and field team went to the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in hope of proving themselves as one of the best teams in the Big Ten — and it did just that.

Returning home with a final score of 90.5 points, the Wolverines secured their best outdoor finish since 2008 and finalized a runner-up finish at the championships. After setting the pace on the first day of competition with 15 points and sitting at second in the 13-team pool, the team scored an additional 33.5 points on the second day to maintain its position.

However, it wasn’t until the third day of competition that Michigan demonstrated what it was capable of. The team scored 42 points on the final day to set itself part from third-place Purdue to secure their spot as the Big Ten runner-up.

Fifth-year senior Mason Ferlic led the pack, finishing his Big Ten career with a win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday, making him a back-to-back champion in the event. He also won the 5,000-meter run on Sunday, doubling up on first place finishes. He is the first athlete in the the Big Ten to take home titles in both events since 2002.

“Honestly, going into this meet, I never once thought, ‘This is my last Big Ten race,’ ” Ferlic said. “I love that I’ve had the opportunity to race in the Big Ten, so for this to be the last experience I’ve had, it makes me happy. Achieving all of the goals and finishing the way I did, I couldn’t be more proud of this team and everything we have accomplished.”

Freshman Taylor McLoughlin made his Big Ten Championship debut this weekend, and also snagged a title in the 400-meter hurdles. He finished the race with a time of 49.80, the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA this year and sixth in the world in athletes under 20 years old.

With additional points coming from junior Ben Flanagan’s win in the 10,000-meter run and senior Steven Bastien’s win in the 100-meter dash and impressive performance in the decathlon, Michigan was in good standing throughout each day of the competition. The throwers also helped boost the Wolverines, as they were the only Big Ten team to score in every throwing event.

Junior Grant Cartwright stood out, scoring a 54.97 meters in discus, the fifth-best mark in Michigan history. He finished fifth in the event.

“The first thing that it boils down to is coaching,” Cartwright said. “My coach will always say it’s the athletes who do it, but we couldn’t have come as far as we did without him. The other thing is just how we carry ourselves as throwers, we’re very competitive, we strive to be leaders on the team in scoring points and setting the tone for the meet.”

The Wolverines took home enough titles to secure them a runner-up finish at the championship and achieve their best outdoor score in eight years. While they haven’t always been at the top of the scoreboard, it’s hard to ignore their recent successes and improvement.

“When I came in as an underclassman, it felt like no one took us seriously as a powerhouse program,” Ferlic said. “To watch the progression under our head coach Jerry Clayton and Kevin Sullivan, and to be a part of that kind of improvement over a short window of time is a great Michigan legacy. This is something I’ll forever be proud of.”

With Michigan’s strong performance in the Big Ten Championships, it’s looking to continue its recent domination. The Wolverines are laying down a track of success, and they plan to follow it all the way through the NCAA Tournament.

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