Mason Ferlic, the 2016 NCAA Division 1 3,000-meter steeplechase champion and an assistant coach at the University of Michigan, pulled off a huge upset in raw, wet conditions in the men's elite/college/open 8-kilometer race Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Championshipship Course in Indiana. 

Ferlic and his long strides pulled away from 2016 Olympic 5,000-meter silver medalist Paul Chelimo over the final 1,000 meters to earn an impressive victory at the XC Town USA Meet of Champions, presented by the Garrett Companies. 

Ferlic and Michigan State runner Morgan Beadlescomb clung to Chelimo, while a large pack assembled behind them. 

"That was a fun race," Ferlic said. "Morgan, Paul and I were duking it out since pretty much the first half mile. (I) felt really strong today. Paul was throwing in some surges early. I kind of expected that. It's his racing style. I just stayed patient, absorbed that and realized the guys were hurting a little bit more than I was, and opened it up and put the hammer down with about a K to go."

Although Beadlescomb led Michigan State to the team victory, with the group competing as Go Green placing five athletes in the top 32 to score 27 points, several Wisconsin individuals racing unattached had a strong performance behind the top trio, with Jack Meijer (23:54.6), Jackson Sharp (23:54.8), Shuaib Aljabaly (23:56.8) and Olin Hacker (23:57.8) finishing fourth through seventh overall.

The women's 6-kilometer race that began the two-day event featured a dramatic kick to the finis

Amy-Eloise Markovc, a former University of Washington star, surged past Huntington University (NAIA) sophomore Emma Wilson to win in 20:17.3. Wilson was second in 20:18.7.

"Honestly, it's just a really nice boost of confidence," said, Markovc, who competed in her first event since running a 5,000-meter race Aug. 22 at the Sound Running Sunset Tour in Lake Balboa, Calif.

"We're really just in fall training right now, which includes a lot of mileage and tempos and fartleks and that sort of thing, so we're not really focusing on speed. It was really nice and comforting to see that strength come through, and just knowing that my consistency over the past couple of years has really paid off."

Four years ago on the same course, Markovc placed eighth in the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Wilson also placed eighth for Greencastle High in the Indiana state final at LaVern Gibson that same fall.

The following year, Markovc took second at the 2017 Division 1 championship meet at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park in Louisville, and Wilson won the first of her two Indiana state titles at LaVern Gibson.

Michigan sophomore Ericka VanderLende, who took 25th to earn All-America honors at last year's Division 1 final at LaVern Gibson, was third Saturday in 20:28.8. Michigan State junior Jenna Magness, 46th last season at the NCAA Championships, finished fourth in 20:34.1 and Indiana senior Kelsey Harris rebounded from placing 196th at last year's Division 1 final to secure fifth in 20:42, followed by teammate Sarah Schmitt (20:53.4) in sixth after she secured 58th place at the NCAA final.

Wisconsin, competing as B1G Mack, had five athletes place in the top 30 overall to win the team competition. Lucinda Crouch led the way for the Badgers by finishing seventh in 20:58.2. Crouch took 96th at last year's Division 1 championship race. 

Concerns over the Coronavirus appeared to take some toll on the fields. Of the 112 women entered late in the week, 92 finished the race. In the men's race, 154 finished out of 178 names on the start list. Both races were populated by open competitors and college athletes running unattached.

Ferlic's kick drove him to a 10-second victory (23:43.4) over Chelimo (23:53.3), Beadlescomb (23:54.3) and four athletes from Wisconsin who broke 24 minutes. 

posted Sunday November 15th