Toeing the Line #7: Michigan Goes to Bloomington for NCAA Regional

Nov. 10, 2009

Saturday, Nov. 14 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Bloomington, Ind.), Noon
Meet Sites: NCAA | Indiana

The University of Michigan men's cross country team will resume competition at the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Saturday (Nov. 14) in Bloomington, Ind. Hosted by Indiana University, the 10,000-meter men's race is slated to begin at noon at the IU Championship Cross Country Course.

Michigan's Big Ten lineup will include sophomore Bobby Aprill, freshman Brendon Blacklaws, freshman Dallas Bowden, senior/junior Peter Christmas, fifth-year senior Brandon Fellows, fifth-year senior Sean McNamara, freshman Zach Ornelas.

Scouting the Field at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional
Thirty-one teams will compete at the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, including No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 26 Butler and No. 28 Ohio State, along with Big Ten rivals Indiana and Michigan State. The top two teams and top four individuals that are not members of the top two teams (providing they finish in the top 25) will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. On Sunday (Nov. 15), the NCAA will select 13 at-large teams and two at-large individuals from the NCAA's nine regions. Thirty-one teams and 38 individuals will qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships.


Dallas Bowden, Freshman
Freshman Dallas Bowden (Hastings, New Zealand/Nelson College) made his official collegiate debut at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago (Nov. 1), claiming 26th place in his first scoring performance. The Wolverine rookie was U-M's fourth runner across the line, registering a career-best 26:06.4.

Michigan claimed runner-up honors at last season's NCAA Great Lakes Regional, placing all five scored runners among the top 25, to net an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Lex Williams led the way for the Wolverines, placing eighth in 31:42.5, and was followed by Ciaran O'Lionaird, Craig Forys and Sean McNamara, who finished consecutively ninth (31:42.6), 10th (31:42.7), and 11th (31:42.7), respectively. Seth Thibodeau crossed the line in 32:05.0 to place 25th and finish the scoring for the Maize and Blue. O'Lionaird and Thibodeau both set new 10,000-meter personal bests.

The Wolverines took fifth place at the Big Ten Championships (117 points), scoring five runners in the top 30 last Sunday (Nov. 1) at Penn State's Blue/White Golf Course. Freshman Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) led the way for the Wolverines for the first time this season, covering the 5.2-mile course in 25:44.3 en route to 14th place and All-Big Ten second team honors in his first appearance at the annual conference meet. Michigan's next three -- senior/junior Peter Christmas (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS), fifth-year senior Sean McNamara (Elmhurst, Ill./York HS) and freshman Dallas Bowden (Hastings, New Zealand/Nelson College) -- essentially crossed the finish line together, claiming 23rd, 24th and 26th 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.

Aprill Showers -- Sophomore Bobby Aprill has crossed the line as Michigan's top finisher twice this season. Most notably, Aprill claimed a runner-up performance at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoes Invitational (Sept. 11) to match his best individual finish, and was the fourth top-10 showing of his career. Aprill also paced the Wolverines at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 3), taking 35th place with a time of 24:49.2.

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 four 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 a few weeks ago -- 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 three 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.

The Wolverine remained just outside of the top 30 in the most recent NCAA Division I cross country poll, released Tuesday (Nov. 3) by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association. Michigan owns the fifth 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-1 260 1
2. Oklahoma State Midwest-1 343 3
3. Oregon West-2 341 2
4. Northern Arizona Mountain-1 318 5
5. Colorado Mountain-2 315 4
6. Alabama South-1 300 6
7. Portland West-3 278 8
8. William & Mary Southeast-1 277 9
9. Iona Northeast-1 249 11
10. Wisconsin Great Lakes-1 241 15
11. Syracuse Northeast-2 240 14
12. New Mexico Mountain-3 236 19
13. Arizona State West-4 215 16
14. BYU Mountain-4 213 7
15. Georgetown Mid-Atlantic-1 202 10
16. NC State Southeast-2 172 30
17. Washington West-5 151 13
18. Oklahoma Midwest-2 144 20
19. Virginia Southeast-2 138 12
20. Villanova Mid-Atlantic-2 126 22
21. Florida State South-1 107 21
22. Arkansas South Central-1 98 28
23. Providence Northeast-3 78 17
24. Louisville Southeast-3 64 25
25. Auburn South-2 62 24
26. Butler Great Lakes-2 61 NR
27. Iowa State Midwest-3 60 23
28. Ohio State Great Lakes-3 58 NR
29. Minnesota Midwest-4 36 NR
30. Duke Southeast-4 33 26

Monday, Nov. 23 -- at NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.), Noon

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423