Toeing the Line #5: Five Set to Race at EMU Fall Classic

Oct. 20, 2009

Friday, Oct. 23 -- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 4 p.m.

The University of Michigan men's cross country team will close out the regular-season portion of its 2009 schedule, sending five runners, including three slated to compete unattached, to the annual EMU Fall Classic on Friday (Oct. 23) in Dexter, Mich. Hosted by Eastern Michigan, the men's 8,000-meter race is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start at the Hudson Mill Metropark.

Appearing for the Wolverines will be sophomore/freshman Derek Henning and freshman Dan Tyler, while freshman Dallas Bowden, freshman Ramses Dukes and junior Craig Forys will likely compete unattached.

Battling wet and muddy conditions, the Wolverines boasted four top-10 individual finishers, including three among the top five, to claim first place at the Michigan Intercollegiate (Oct. 9). After sitting out the previous week's meet with illness, senior/junior Peter Christmas (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) claimed top individual honors, winning the 8,000-meter race with a time of 25:07.8. Fifth-year senior Sean McNamara (Elmhurst, Ill./York HS), who also missed the previous event, crossed the line just a few steps behind in third place (25:13.4), while freshman Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) and sophomore Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) earned top-10 finishes -- the third of the season for both -- in fourth and ninth place, respectively.

Merry Christmas -- Senior/junior Peter Christmas nabbed the Wolverines' first Big Ten Runner of the Week accolade of the 2009 season in recognition of his performance at the Michigan Intercollegiate. The performance marked Christmas' first collegiate cross country win and his third top-five finish in as many appearances this season. The Big Ten weekly honor was the second for Christmas in his career; he previously claimed distinction on Oct. 19, 2007, after pacing the Maize and Blue at the EMU Fall Classic with a fourth-place performance.

Carrying the Torch -- The Wolverines picked up where they left off last season, capturing team trophies at the Michigan Intercollegiate (Oct. 9) and Harry Groves Invitational (Sept. 11). Michigan owns three consecutive top-10 finishes in scored meets this year. U-M has claimed at least one team title in each of the last four seasons. Last year, Michigan placed among the top 10 at every scored event leading into the NCAA Championships, including a first-place effort at the Br. Doyle Meet of Champions and back-to-back postseason runner-up showings at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Great Lakes Regional.

Fantastic Freshmen -- Six different Wolverine newcomers have made their collegiate debut this season. Freshmen Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS) and Brendon Blacklaws crossed the line among Michigan's top-five finishers at all three scored meets of the season.

Late Additions -- The Wolverines added a pair of runners to the 2009 roster last week -- sophomore/freshman Derek Henning (Alanson, Mich./Petoskey HS) and freshman Ramses Dukes (Detroit, Mich./Mumford HS). Henning, who has represented the Wolverines at their last two events, was a two-time cross country all-region selection in high school, while Dukes earned all-city honors in his final three seasons.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Ron Warhurst is in his 36th season as the head coach of the Michigan men's cross country team. During his U-M tenure, Warhurst has produced seven Big Ten Conference championships teams (1974-75-76-80 (tie)-93-97-98) and guided 12 squads to top-10 performances at the NCAA Championships. Individually, Warhurst has coached 21 different student-athletes to 39 NCAA All-America citations while at Michigan. Over this tenure, Warhurst has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year four times and the NCAA Regional Coach of the year three times, most recently in 2007.

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.

Despite capturing the Michigan Intercollegiate team title in their latest appearance (Oct. 9), the Wolverines remained just outside of the top 30 in the latest NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Oct. 20) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. Michigan owns the fourth spot among teams in the Great Lakes Region.

USTFCCCA Men's Division I Cross Country National Poll
Ranking Team Region/Rank Totals Previous
1. Stanford West-1 358 1
2. Oregon West-2 337 7
3. Oklahoma State Midwest-1 332 4
4. Colorado Mountain-1 324 4
5. Northern Arizona Mountain-2 315 2
6. Alabama South-1 309 3
7. BYU Mountain-3 291 6
8. Portland West-3 265 8
9. William & Mary Southeast-1 263 9
10. Georgetown Mid-Atlantic-1 241 10
11. Iona Northeast-1 232 12
12. Virginia Southeast-2 228 15
13. Washington West-4 209 14
14. Syracuse Northeast-2 202 11
15. Wisconsin Great Lakes-1 200 13
16. Arizona State West-5 184 19
17. Providence Northeast-3 169 16
18. Indiana Great Lakes-2 142 17
19. New Mexico Mountain-4 141 21
20. Oklahoma Midwest-1 116 23
21. Florida State South-1 111 28
22. Villanova Mid-Atlantic-2 96 24
23. Iowa State Midwest-2 84 18
24. Auburn South-2 80 NR
25. Louisville Southeast-2 74 NR
26. Duke Southeast-3 50 26
27. Washington State West-6 50 NR
28. Arkansas South Central-1 47 25
29. Tulsa Midwest-3 45 27
30. NC State Southeast-4 27 21

Sunday, Nov. 1 -- at Big Ten Championships (State College, Pa.), 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Bloomington, Ind.), 12 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), 12 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

Visit the 'M' Zone for Features, Video and More!