Toeing the Line #7: Wolverines to Run at NCAAs on Monday
MGOBLUE Alex Gibby
MGOBLUE
Alex Gibby
MGOBLUE

Nov. 17, 2011

THIS WEEK
Monday, Nov. 21 -- NCAA Championships (Terre Haute, Ind.) 12:08 p.m. EDT
Webcast: NCAA.com | Meet Information

The 17th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will compete at the NCAA Championships on Monday (Nov. 21) at Indiana State University. The 10,000-meter event will kick off at approximately 12:08 p.m. at Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind., and will be streamed live on NCAA.com free of charge.

The Wolverines earned an at-large bid to the national meet after placing third at the Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 12. It will mark U-M's first appearance at the NCAA Championships since the 2008 season.

Seven harriers will represent Michigan at the NCAA Championships -- fifth-year senior Craig Forys, senior Bobby Aprill, junior Zach Ornelas, junior/sophomore Brendon Blacklaws, sophomore Morsi Rayyan, sophomore Mark Beams and freshman Mason Ferlic.

Top Wolverine Times
8,000-Meter Run 10,000-Meter Run
Craig Forys 23:47.0 Craig Forys 30:12.1
Bobby Aprill 23.48.0 Bobby Aprill 30:37.1
Brendon Blacklaws 24:26.0 Brendon Blacklaws 31:55.1
Morsi Rayyan 24:32.0 Zach Ornelas 31:55.3
Zach Ornelas 24:35.0 Morsi Rayyan 31:08.1

LAST TIME OUT: NCAA GREAT LAKES REGIONAL
Michigan utilized three top-25 performances to take third at the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, hosted by the University of Toledo on Nov. 12. All five Wolverines scorers recorded personal-best times in their first time racing at 10,000-meter this season.

Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) led the Maize and Blue to the finish line, taking third in 30:12.1. Senior Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) was U-M's second finisher in 14th, while junior/sophomore Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) and junior Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS) crossed the line back-to-back in the 25th and 26th spots. Sophomore Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) was Michigan's fifth scorer in 36th. Forys, Aprill and Blacklaws each earned All-Great Lakes Region honors for finishing in the top 25.

WOLVERINE BITES
Regional Recognition -- Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck), senior Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) and junior/sophomore Brendon Blacklaws (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) are no stranger to postseason success. The trio earned All-Great Lakes Regional honors this season for finishing in the top 25, marking the fourth all-region honor for Forys, the third for Aprill and second for Blacklaws.

NCAA Championship history -- The 2011 NCAA Championships will mark the 28th appearance for the Wolverines in program history and the first since the 2008 season. During the '08 season, U-M finished second at the Great Lakes Regional to earn an automatic bid to nationals, where the Wolverines placed 24th. Michigan has recorded 12 top-10 finishes, including a program-best fourth-place effort in 1997 and '98. Each year, the top 40 runners to cross the finish line earn All-America honors. Michigan's last runner to earn a spot on that list was Nate Brannen, who earned the honor in three consecutive seasons from 2002-2004.

An Experienced Leader -- Fifth-year senior Craig Forys (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) is the only current harrier on the roster to have prior experience at the national level. He was a member of the last two U-M teams to qualify for the NCAA Championships in 2007 and '08. The Wolverines took 24th in both of those appearances, while Forys finished in 96th and 137th, respectively. Forys also qualified individually for the NCAA Championships last season, where he placed 113th.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Alex Gibby is in his second season at the helm of the men's cross country program. Under Gibby's direction, the Maize and Blue most recently finished third at the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional and tied for third at the Big Ten Championships -- a four and five spot improvement from a year ago, respectively. He guided seniors Craig Forys and Bobby Aprill to their second consecutive All-Big Ten honors and Forys, Aprill and junior/sophomore Brendon Blacklaws to All-Region accolades. In his first season, Gibby guided the Wolverines to a seventh-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Great Lakes Regional and produced one NCAA Championship qualifier. 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.

IN THE POLLS
The Wolverines worked their way 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 Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Since the end of the regular season, Michigan has improved four more spots to No. 17, compliments of a third-place effort at both the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Great Lakes Regional. [ Poll ]

TWITTER-TASTIC
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.

Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423