Toeing the Line #4: U-M to Face Final Test of Regular Season
James Yau

Oct. 11, 2011

Friday, Oct. 14 -- at Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.), 1:40 p.m. CDT
Meet Information

After three weeks off from competition, the No. 26-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will face its final test before Big Tens at the adidas Wisconsin Invitational on Friday (Oct. 14). Twenty of the top 30 teams in the nation will be represented at the University of Wisconsin's third annual 8,000-meter event. The meet will be the last of the regular season for the Wolverines and is slated for a 1:40 p.m. CDT start at Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.

The meet will also feature 10 of the 11 Big Ten men's cross country programs (all except Penn State) -- four of which are ranked in the top 30. Michigan is currently sitting in the 26th spot in the recent USTFCCCA Division I national poll. Other Big Ten schools on the list include No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 7 Indiana and No. 17 Minnesota. Following the adidas Wisconsin Invitational, the Wolverines will have just two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championships.

U-M will send an 11-man squad to Wisconsin -- fifth-year senior Craig Forys, senior Bobby Aprill, senior/junior Derek Henning, junior Zach Ornelas, sophomore Nathan Karr, junior/sophomore Brendon Blacklaws, sophomore/freshman James Yau, sophomore Morsi Rayyan, sophomore Mark Beams and freshmen Mason Ferlic and Alex Standiford. Standiford will make his collegiate racing debut.

adidas Wisconsin Invitational Field

Air Force Illinois Nebraska Purdue
Arizona No. 7 Indiana No. 25 New Mexico No. 4 Stanford
No. 23 Arizona State Iowa No. 13 Northern Arizona No. 21 Syracuse
No. 6 BYU Iowa State No. 29 North Carolina Texas
California Kansas No. 9 NC State No. 27 Texas A&M
Clemson Lamar Notre Dame No. 22 UCLA
No. 28 Florida Marquette Ohio State No. 19 Villanova
No. 16 Georgetown No. 26 Michigan No. 10 Oregon Washington
Georgia Michigan State No. 14 Princeton William & Mary
Harvard No. 17 Minnesota No. 24 Providence No. 2 Wisconsin


Top Wolverine Times
8,000-Meter Run 10,000-Meter Run
Bobby Aprill 23.50.9 Craig Forys 30:29.14
Craig Forys 23:55.2 Bobby Aprill 30:49.56
Zach Ornelas 24:35.0 Brendon Blacklaws 31:56.75
Brendon Blacklaws 24:46.0 Zach Ornelas 31:58.17
Morsi Rayyan 24:55.4 Morsi Rayyan 32:05.12


On a great racing opportunity at Wisconsin ... "After a three-week break, we are excited to return to racing. I think the adidas Invitational will provide a racing opportunity from a depth and quality standpoint that we have not seen since I've been at Michigan. If we execute our race plan in the fashion intended, this weekend should provide a good precursor to the NCAA Championships."

Michigan captured the team and individual titles at the Florida Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 24. Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) led the field across the finish line in his season debut with a time of 24:35.55. Michigan topped the host school, No. 28 Florida, and No. 30 North Carolina, along with 14 other teams, in the 8,000-meter race. It was the first time the Maize and Blue won a team title since the Michigan Intercollegiate on Oct. 9, 2009.


Flashback: 2010 Wisconsin Invitational -- Eighteen of the 21 teams that competed at the 2010 adidas Wisconsin Invitational will return to this year's race. The Wolverines finished 20th last year with a team comprised of five rookies. Indiana took the team title last season, followed by Wisconsin, Princeton and Syracuse -- all top-30 teams the Wolverines will face this weekend. Sophomore Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) paced U-M, finishing 103rd with a time of 24:55.4. Fellow sophomore Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) was also a member of last year's squad at Wisconsin and will run for U-M again this weekend.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Alex Gibby is in his second season at the helm of the men's cross country program. With one solid year of experience under his belt, Gibby's expectations for the team have elevated. Under Gibby's direction, the Maize and Blue finished eighth at the 2010 Big Ten Championship and seventh at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. In his first season, Gibby produced one NCAA Championship qualifier and guided two harriers to All-Big Ten honors. Prior to coming to Michigan, Gibby served as the head coach of the William and Mary men's cross country and track and field programs from 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. In 2009, 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 Wolverines moved into the NCAA Division I cross country top 30 for the first time this season on Sept. 27 at No. 28, as announced by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. In a repeat poll from last week, the Maize and Blue improved two places to No. 26. U-M also moved up two spots to No. 3 among the Great Lakes Region.
[ Poll ]

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.

Sunday, Oct. 30 -- at Big Ten Championships (Champaign, Ill.), 10:45 a.m. CDT
Saturday, Nov. 12 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Toledo, Ohio), Noon

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423