Aprill Paces Wolverines to First at Harry Groves Invitational

Sept. 11, 2009


Site: State College, Pa. (Blue-White Golf Course)
Meet: Harry Groves Spiked Shoes Invitational (5.2 miles)
U-M Finish: 1st of Nine (25 points) Teams
Top U-M Individual: Bobby Aprill, 2nd (26:37)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Oct. 3 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 11 a.m. CDT

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Battling through a soaking rain and muddy conditions, the University of Michigan men's cross country team captured first place -- in its first scored meet of the season -- at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoes Invitational on Friday evening (Sept. 11) as all five scored runners finished among the top-10 individual placers at the Blue-White Golf Course. Sophomore Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) led the Wolverine contingent to the finish line, claiming second place overall with a time of 26:27.

As small pack of individuals strung out the race's frontrunners from the gun, the Michigan contingent stayed off the early pace, running near the rear of the field through the opening three miles. Running together, the Wolverines picked up the tempo to gradually move up through the field and erase the gap on the leaders. U-M runners gained additional ground in the final 300 meters, outkicking the competition to move all five scorers into the top eight and register their best point total in three seasons.

Freshman Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS) was the second U-M finisher to cross the line, claiming fourth place with a time of 26:37 in his first official collegiate appearance, while senior Peter Christmas (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS), freshman Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) and fifth-year senior Brandon Fellows (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island HS) finished within just three seconds of each other to round out the Wolverine scoring in fifth, sixth and eighth place, respectively.

The Wolverines continue the 2009 campaign on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis. Hosted by the University of Wisconsin, the men's 8,000-meter race is scheduled for an 11 a.m. CDT start at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.


Team Standings

1. MICHIGAN             25
2. Geneseo State        40
3. Penn State           81
4. Fredonia State      126
5. Buffalo             132
6. Messiah             139
7. Grove City          193
8. Youngstown State    196
9. PSU Track Club      212

Top 10 Individuals

1. Lee Berube, Geneseo State         26:22
2. Bobby Aprill, U-M                 26:27
3. Eddie Novara, Fredonia State      26:33
4. Zach Ornelas, U-M                 26:37
5. Peter Christmas, U-M              26:38
6. Brendon Blacklaws, U-M            26:39
7. Tim Chichester, Geneseo State     26:39
8. Brandon Fellows, U-M              26:41
9. Chris Mateer, Geneseo State       26:42
10. Jesse Berube, Geneseo State      26:42

Other Michigan Individuals

16. Sean McNamara, U-M       27:00
23. Geoff Burns, U-M         27:30




• Today's appearance at Penn State's Blue-White Golf Course provided the Wolverines a preview of the 5.2-mile course that will be used for the 2009 Big Ten Championships in November. The length of the course is slightly longer than the standard 8,000 meters -- approximately an 80-second difference.

• Sophomore Bobby Aprill crossed the line as Michigan's top finisher for the second time in his career, previously achieving the feat at last season's EMU Fall Classic. His second-place performance also matched his best individual finish and was the fourth top-10 showing of his career.

• Michigan's 25 points marked its lowest score since registering 24 en route to first place at the 2006 Spartan Invitational (Sept. 15, 2006).

• U-M has claimed at least one team title in each of the last four seasons.

• Two individuals among Michigan's scored top-five finishers -- freshmen Zach Ornelas and Brendon Blacklaws -- earned team points for the Maize and Blue for the first time in their careers.


Michigan Head Coach Ron Warhurst
On the team's performance ... "It was a great effort today, and I'm very pleased with this performance. The plan was to go out comfortable and move up slow, and that's what we did. It was a downhill start, and I didn't want to start too fast. It was a tough course -- very hilly -- and they ran mostly in the rough, which was quite muddy today. But it was about a 20-second improvement than a week ago, so we're looking good and headed in the right direction. They stayed in the group, and they ran comfortable. So, I'm quite happy."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423