The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 11   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Kitchener, Ontario, native Ben Flanagan is entering his senior season for the Wolverines' men's cross country and track teams this fall. Flanagan is a multi-year captain of the two teams and was one of eight United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic team members from the two men's teams, earning the honor for the third time. "I was a little nervous at first because I didn't really know what to expect," Flanagan said of his switch to the United States for college. "I didn't have any American friends to ask about the academics. "Once I got there I found out the differ- ence wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I entered with some credits and it helped. It was a pretty smooth transition." While modest about his accomplishments — last fall, he helped the men's team cap- ture its first Big Ten cross country tile since 1998, take first at the Great Lakes Regional and finish ninth at the NCAA Championships — Flanagan works hard to be successful. "I never really thought of myself as an all-star in the class- room or on the field," Flanagan said. "I just take my academ- ics and athletics very seriously. "The wonderful thing about the NCAA and Big Ten is that it honors and motivates kids to do better not only on the field, but because of the academics. " The reason I ended up at Michigan is because of the historic program both ath- letically and academically. Through great coaches and great professors, I've been able to accomplish a lot." Flanagan is ready to lead the way for the Michigan runners in 2016-17. "It's a huge honor to be a captain of the team because we have the athletes vote for them. You get the feeling that your team- mates respect you … it's a humbling feeling," he said. "We're a strong, talented and re- spectable team, and we have a great group. "My first priority is to lead by example, and that means we are all accountable for our actions. My second priority is to help guys who are hurt or freshmen making the transition. I have to show the guys I have faith in them and confidence in the team. We have a solid group of five to 10 guys that are leaders." Flanagan will enter his final year as a student at the uni- versity's School of Kinesiology, where he is a movement science major. — Brandon Justice Flanagan is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten and United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic per- former. 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