Thomas Earns Fifth to Lead Wolverines at EMU Fall Classic

Oct. 23, 2010

Alex Gibby Interview

Site: Dexter, Mich. (Hudson Mills Metropark)
Meet: EMU Fall Classic (10,000 Meters)
U-M Finish: Non-Scoring
Top U-M Individual: Nick Thomas, 5th (29:57)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Oct. 31 -- at Big Ten Championships (Madison, Wis.), 11:45 a.m. CDT

DEXTER, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's cross country team sent a six-man contingent to the EMU Fall Classic on Saturday (Oct. 23) in the regular-season finale at Hudson Mills Metropark. Junior Nick Thomas (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice HS) paced the Wolverines in the 10,000-meter non-scoring event, claiming fifth place with a time of 29:57 to earn the final spot on the nine-member squad that will represent U-M at next week's Big Ten Championships (Sunday, Oct. 31).

U-M boasted three individuals among the top 10. Freshman Nick Kern (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) and junior/sophomore Geoff Burns (Traverse City, Mich./West HS) joined Thomas among the leaders, claiming eighth and 10th, respectively.

After the 21-man field strung out early in the race -- which finished about 1,000 meters shy of its projected distance after the pack took a wrong turn at its midway point -- Thomas held his ground as the Wolverines' top finisher while running primarily by himself. The top-five finish was Thomas' second of the season, crossing the line with a time of 29:57.

Rounding out the U-M participants were freshmen Adam Kern (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS), Matt Popielarz (Saginaw, Mich./Heritage HS) and Garrett Cullen (Ada, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern HS), who finished 13th, 14th and 17th, respectively.

The Maize and Blue will kick off the postseason at the Big Ten Championships next Sunday (Oct. 31) in Madison, Wis. The men's 8,000-meter race is slated for an 11:45 a.m. CDT start at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.

Top Individual Finishers

 1. Corey Nowitzke, unattached      29:29
 2. Nathan Peters, unattached       29:30
 3. Joe Maki, unattached            29:37
 4. Kyle Mena, unattached           29:51
 5. Nick Thomas, U-M                29:57
 6. Curtis Begley, unattached       30:18
 7. Alex Ralston, Hillsdale         30:35
 8. Nick Kern, U-M                  30:40
 9. Joe Billian, unattached         30:45
10. Geoff Burns, U-M                30:52

Other Michigan Finishers

13. Adam Kern, U-M         31:07
14. Matt Popielarz, U-M    31:27
17. Garrett Cullen, U-M    32:01


Michigan Head Coach Alex Gibby
On today's EMU Fall Classic ... "I told them before the race that the top guy gets the spot at Big Tens, which might have been a bit of a tactical misfire since I felt like they went out and raced for that spot as opposed to racing the field. They let go of that top group about 40 percent of the way through. From a results standpoint, I wasn't disappointed with what I saw, but in terms of going forward -- months and years down the line -- we've got to make better decisions. We've got to compete not just for the last spot at Big Tens, but if there's a guy in a race wearing a different uniform, you don't concede anything to him. Overall, I was pleased with what I saw, but every week there's something we can definitely do better."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423