Toeing the Line #3: U-M to Race at Virginia on Saturday
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Sept. 18, 2012

THIS WEEK
Saturday, Sept. 22 -- at Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational (Earlysville, Va.) 10 a.m.

The 21st-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will travel out of state for the first time this season to compete in the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 22) in Earlsville, Va. The men's 8,000-meter race will begin at 10 a.m.

Wolverines in Action
Twelve Wolverines will compete for Michigan at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational -- Scotty Albaugh, Mark Beams, Mason Ferlic, Nick Kern, Dan Lowry, Alex Moran, Zach Ornelas, August Pappas, Nick Posada, Morsi Rayyan, Tony Smoragiewicz and Alex Standiford.

Top Career Times
8,000-Meter Run 10,000-Meter Run
Brendon Blacklaws 24:26.00 Brendon Blacklaws 30:50.50
Morsi Rayyan 24:32.00 Zach Ornelas 30:55.30
Zach Ornelas 24:35.00 Mark Beams 31:02.60
James Yau 25:10.00 Morsi Rayyan 31:08.10
Nathan Karr 25:18.00 Mason Ferlic 31:43.60

WOLVERINE BITES
Last Time on the Course -- The Wolverines traveled to Michigan State for the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 14 to face their first competition of the season. The meet was held at Forest Akers Golf Course, which will also be the site of this year's Big Ten Championships on Oct. 28. Junior/sophomore James Yau (Troy, Mich./Troy) was Michigan's highest finisher for the second straight race, finishing the 8,000-meter course in 25:27 to earn 22nd place.

Career Debuts -- Two Wolverines made their collegiate career debuts at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 14. Sophomore/freshmen Trevor Denton (Henderson, Mich./Chesaning) and Justin Krauss (Perry, Mich./Perry) each redshirted during the 2011 season and debut as 8,000 meters at Michigan State. Denton finished 108th in 26:40, while Krauss placed 124th in a time of 26:54.

The 'A' Team -- For the first time this season, Michigan's top runners will be in uniform at Virginia. Five returners from last year's varsity squad will be in the lineup, including junior Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg), sophomore Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy), senior Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge), junior Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) and sophomore Alex Standiford (Kalamazoo, Mich./Mattawan). Those five helped Michigan to a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships last season -- its best finish at the conference meet since 2008.

First Time in Maize and Blue -- Four Michigan runners will run their first collegiate race in a Maize and Blue uniform on Saturday at Virginia. Senior transfer Dan Lowry (Philadelphia, Pa./ La Salle College) was an All-American a year ago for Brown University and will compete for U-M during his senior year. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D./Hamilton) highlights the group of freshman expected to contribute. He was a two-time South Dakota state champion and won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Junior Triathlon Championships. Freshman Alex Moran (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) will also compete for the Maize and Blue. Moran was a two-time PIAA AAA all-state selection in cross country. Sophomore/freshman August Pappas (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea), who redshirted during cross country, indoor and outdoor track last season, will also make his career debut for Michigan.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Alex Gibby in his third year at the helm of the men's cross country program. In 2011, Gibby guided Michigan to its best season in three years, highlighted by the team's first trip to the NCAA Championships since 2008. The Wolverines' 20th-place finish at the national meet came after taking third at the Great Lakes Regional and Big Ten Championships. Gibby wasted no time taking the program to the next level as the Wolverines made drastic improvements from year one to year two. In his inaugural campaign in 2010, Gibby's squad finished eighth at the conference meet, seventh at regionals and sent just one individual at the NCAA Championships.

Annual Results During the Gibby Era

YearBig TenRegionalNCAA
20108th7th--
2011T3rd3rd20th

In the Rear View Mirror -- Last season, Michigan constructed its most successful season since 2008, improving its finish at each postseason meet. The Wolverines jumped five spots at the Big Ten Championships, finishing in a tie for third and moved up four positions at the Great Lakes Regional to third place. The Maize and Blue capped the season with a trip to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2008, finishing 20th overall.

IN THE POLLS
The Wolverines dropped one spot to No. 21 in the NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Sept. 18) by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Wolverines have appeared in the top 30 in each of the first three polls. In 2011, U-M did not crack the top 30 until the third regular-season poll, where they were ranked No. 28. U-M also dropped one spot to No. 4 in the Great Lakes Region poll.

GET SOCIAL
Michigan men's cross country is on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganmenstrack. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@umichtrack) for up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Friday, Sept. 28 -- at Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend, Ind.), 5 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 12 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis. ), 12:45 p.m. CDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423