Toeing the Line #6: U-M Men to Conclude Regular Season Friday at EMU

Toeing the Line #6: U-M Men to Conclude Regular Season Friday at EMU

Provided by U of M

Oct. 16, 2012

Friday, Oct. 19 
-- at EMU Fall Classic (Dexter, Mich.), 5 p.m.

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Race Day Information: Meet Information 

The 11th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will compete in its third in-state meet of the year to wrap up the regular season with the EMU Fall Classic on Friday (Oct. 19). The 5,000-meter race is set to begin at 5 p.m. at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich.


• Michigan jumped 13 spots to No. 11 in the USTFCCCA National Coaches Poll, announced Oct. 16, after finishing third in a field of 20 ranked teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 12) last weekend. The Wolverines topped all other Big Ten teams in action, as well as seven teams with a lower national ranking.

• Michigan's No. 11 national ranking is its highest since 2008 when the Wolverines were ranked as high as No. 8 on Sept. 30.

• Michigan bypassed Wisconsin and Indiana to move to No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region poll, released on Oct. 15 by the USTFCCCA. At the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the Wolverines topped both Big Ten teams, which were ranked No. 1 and No. 16 in the nation, respectively, at the time.

• All seven of Michigan's scorers at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational ran personal-best 8,000-meter times.

• U-M has been ranked in the top 30 in each USTFCCCA Division I National Coaches poll this season.

• The EMU Fall Classic will mark the last regular-season meet of the season, as the Wolverines will begin the championship portion of their season on Oct. 28 with the Big Ten Championships, hosted by Michigan State.

• The Wolverines also competed at Hudson Mills Metropark in the 5,000-meter Michigan Open 
to kick off the 2012 season.

• Michigan's 'B' squad will be in action this weekend, as its 'A' team prepares for the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 28.


 Zach Ornelas 
Cedar Park, Texas

1. On his transition into a leader on and off the course... "The team has doubled or even tripled since my freshmen year and there is more of a need for leadership and a lot more voices in the locker room. I was a team captain in high school and I already had a lot of experience helping guys stay motivated and that's probably the most important aspect of leadership. Not every race is going to go well -- I had a pretty bad freshman year in terms of performance and I was able to let a lot of the guys know that I had 'been there, done that' and it's not the end of the world. As I've progressed running wise, I've continued to give advice to some of the younger guys on what to do and what not to do. I've learned a lot of lessons the hard way, but they ended up being positives because I could help express what I did wrong and help other guys avoid that."

2. On the importance of running a solid race last weekend at Wisconsin... "It was a major benchmark for all of us. I was pretty surprised to see the clock -- it ran pretty fast that day all around for the field. I think it's a really nice thing to have under my belt going forward. Coach Gibby has been telling us that our season doesn't start until Big Tens -- our season goes from Big Tens to nationals, so we can't get too excited about mid-season races. But it's definitely really nice to know that the speed is there and I'm in the best shape I've been in. When I get to the line next time, I won't be as nervous and I'll know that I have the ability."

3. On the team being confident they can compete with anyone in the country... "It was great, on the cool down after the race at Wisconsin everyone was really happy. We were pretty elated on our cool down and it's was a really cool thing to see that we are where Coach Gibby has been telling us that we are. He told us we didn't race perfectly and although we raced well and felt good about it, that we still have things we can fix and be even better at. So that's what we talked about today at practice, it was a great result, but if we had fixed just a few things, we'd be even higher ranked right now. We're ranked No. 11 and we think we're even better than that. It's almost a new experience to be ranked so high and be so strong at this point in the season."

4. On what is allowing the team to have more success this season... "I guess it's just that as the years go on, we're getting more and more guys that get the program, that get what it takes. And we have more guys in the locker room, as compared to previous years, that are completely bought in and that are at a higher level of performance. The success of a few spreads pretty rapidly over the years and people feed off of that success -- it creates a much better environment. The improvement of the group moving forward each year is getting stronger and stronger."

5. On being at the EMU Fall Classic to support the guys in uniform... "I know we're going out there to cheer on Bobby (Aprill), who doesn't have eligibility remaining and is running unattached, so that's going to be cool to watch him get to race. He's been pretty sad and excited at the same time watching our success from the sidelines. He's let us know every weekend that we're doing really well and to take advantage of opportunity. We'll support him as he trains to really be able to help us out in track. As far as for the younger guys, I'm sure it will be really cool to have us out there yelling at them because sometimes they don't get to go to meets like Virginia to do that for us. It's really cool for some of us older guys like me, since this is my last year, to see the young guys as they make decisions during races that will benefit them in the future. It's great to see their potential for success."

Last Time Out
Michigan finished third in a field of 20 ranked teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday, Oct. 12. Senior Dan Lowry was the Wolverines' top finisher for the second straight meet he's competed in, finishing 11th overall. U-M finished ahead of all other Big Ten schools in actions, as well as seven teams ranked higher in the national rankings.

Sunday, Oct. 28 -- at Big Ten Championships (East Lansing, Mich.), 11:45 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 9 -- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), 1:15 p.m. CDT

Contact: Whitney Dixon