Toeing the Line #3: Wolverines Ready for Wisconsin Invite

Sept. 28, 2010

Saturday, Oct. 2 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 11:45 a.m. CDT

The University of Michigan men's cross country team will continue competition at the second annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Saturday (Oct. 2) at Wisconsin's Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, Wis. The 8,000-meter men's race is slated for an 11:45 a.m. CDT start.

U-M will send eight runners to the race -- freshman Mark Beams, junior/sophomore Geoff Burns, freshman Garrett Cullen, freshman Adam Kern, freshman Matt Popielarz, freshman Morsi Rayyan, junior Nick Thomas and sophomore Dan Tyler. All five freshmen slated to compete will be making their collegiate debuts.

Among the teams slated to appear at the Wisconsin meet are Florida, Georgetown, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Providence, Purdue, Princeton, Syracuse, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. For more information about Wisconsin adidas Invitational, including a course video tour, please visit

On the goal for this weekend's race ... "We decided to split the team between Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, and between them, we'll get a debut sense of where we are. It gives both groups an opportunity to compete against phenomenal competition and at a great venue. At an individual level, we're really looking to audition our personnel that we're going to use going forward into the Big Tens and beyond. We'll run 12 guys at NCAA Pre-Nationals -- some guys from Oklahoma State and some guys from Wisconsin. While the team goals aren't as concrete as they will be in the weeks to come -- that applied to last week as well -- we really just want to figure out what we have. Between last weekend and this weekend, it will be the first time I get to see the whole team compete in uniform and see where they are."

Michigan earned runner-up team honors (110 points) in its first scored meet of the 2010 season at the annual Cowboy Jamboree (Saturday, Sept. 25) at Oklahoma State's OSU Cross Country Course. Senior/junior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck HS) led the Wolverine contingent to the finish line in his first cross country race in two seasons, claiming 11th place overall with a time of 24:50.31. Three members of Michigan's scoring five made their season debut and crossed the finish line in an 82-second spread. In addition to Forys, junior Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) and sophomore Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS) saw their first competitive action, finishing 21st and 31st, respectively, with times of 25:20.57 and 25:49.70.

May the Forys Be With You -- Despite a one-year layoff due to injury, senior/junior Craig Forys picked up where he left off in his return to cross country competition, turning in a solid 11th-place finish to pace the Wolverines at the Cowboy Jamboree. It was the second time in his career that Forys crossed line as U-M's top finisher, adding to a seventh-place performance at the 2007 Big Ten Championships. The Wolverine junior owns 11 top-15 showings in his collegiate career, including four finishes among the top five.

Phenomenal Freshmen -- Three Wolverines made their collegiate debut last Saturday (Sept. 25) at the Cowboy Jamboree. Freshman Sean Bone (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion HS) led the trio with a 49th-place finish (26:17.98), while freshmen Nick Kern (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) and Nathan Karr (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) also competed.

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 remain just outside of the top 30 in the latest NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Sept. 28) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. U-M owns the eighth spot among the Great Lakes Region.

Saturday, Oct. 16 -- at NCAA Pre Nationals (Terre Haute, Ind.), 11 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 10 a.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423