Toeing the Line #1: U-M Hosts Michigan Open to Begin Season

Aug. 31, 2010

Friday, Sept. 3 -- host Michigan Open (Dexter, Mich.), 4:30 p.m.

The University of Michigan men's cross country team will kick off its 2010 season on Friday (Sept. 3), hosting the annual Michigan Open at Hudson Mills Metropark. The 5,000-meter race is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start in Dexter, Mich.

Top Returning Times
8,000-Meter Run 10,000-Meter Run
Craig Forys 23:55.2 Craig Forys 31:07.73
Bobby Aprill 24:30 Bobby Aprill 31:32
Brendon Blacklaws 24:53.4 Brendon Blacklaws 31:56.75
Zach Ornelas 25:11.6 Zach Ornelas 32:50.05
Dan Tyler 25:56.7
Geoff Burns 26:08.9

Bobby Aprill, Junior
One of only three Michigan upperclassmen, junior Bobby Aprill will be called upon to step into a leadership role on the 2010 Wolverine squad. Aprill paced the Maize and Blue in a pair of events last season and boasted three top-10 finishes as a sophomore, including a runner-up showing at Penn State's Harry Groves Invitational, but wrapped the season on a sour note, finishing 30th at the Big Ten Championships before failing to finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. He will look to establish himself among Michigan's front runners in 2010.

Familiar Faces -- While the 2010 Wolverine lineup includes no seniors and just three juniors, U-M returns eight letterwinners from last season's squad, including two All-Big Ten selections in senior/junior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck HS) and sophomore Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College). Other returning Wolverine letterwinners include junior Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS), sophomore Dallas Bowden (Hastings, New Zealand/Nelson College), junior/sophomore Geoff Burns (Traverse City, Mich./West HS), junior/sophomore Derek Henning (Alanson, Mich./Petoskey HS), sophomore Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS) and sophomore Dan Tyler (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven HS) -- all Big Ten meet participants.

Introducing the Newcomers -- The Wolverines added 14 new faces -- 13 freshmen as well as an addition from the track and field team. Among the newcomers are a trio of local freshmen -- Nathan Karr (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS), Adam Kern (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) and Nick Kern (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) -- who all posted back-to-back top-30 finishes to guide Pioneer High School to the 2008 state title and 2009 state runner-up. On the track, freshman James Yau (Troy, Mich./Troy HS) is a two-time high school All-American, placing in the distance medley relay and 4xMile at the Nike Indoor Nationals, while junior Nick Thomas (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice HS) joins the harriers from the Wolverine track team; Thomas was a Nike Outdoor All-American in 800m during his high school tenure.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Alex Gibby was announced as the eighth head coach in Michigan men's cross country program history on July 29, 2010, and enters his first season with the Maize and Blue. As head coach of the William and Mary men's cross country and track and field programs (2003-10), Gibby paced the Tribe to four straight top-16 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, three NCAA Southeast Region titles and seven CAA cross country titles. Last fall, Gibby was honored as the Southeast Region Coach of the Year for the third time in his career (2005, '08, '09) after leading William and Mary to fifth place at the NCAA Championships -- the second-best showing in Tribe program history -- and three individual All-Americans. He is also a seven-time CAA Coach of the Year recipient.

Michigan cross country/track is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (michigan_track) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

The Wolverines enter the 2010 campaign just outside the top 30 in the NCAA Division I cross country preseason poll, released Tuesday (Aug. 31) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. U-M owns the seventh spot among the Great Lakes Region.

Saturday, Sept. 25 -- at Cowboy Jamboree (Stillwater, Okla.), 9 a.m. CDT
Saturday, Oct. 2 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 11 a.m. CDT

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423