U of M Men - Toeing the Line #8: U-M to Compete for Regional Title Friday

U of M Men - Toeing the Line #8: U-M to Compete for Regional Title Friday

Nov. 7, 2012

Friday, Nov. 9 
-- at NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Madison, Wis.), 1:15 p.m. CST

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Race Day Information: Meet Information 

The 12th-ranked University of Michigan men's cross country team will resume the championship portion of its season at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, which will be hosted by Wisconsin on Friday (Nov. 9) at 1:15 p.m. CST. The regional course will jump to 10,000 meters for the first time this season.

Wolverines in Action
Seven Wolverines will make up Michigan's regional squad -- Brendon BlacklawsMark BeamsDan LowryZach OrnelasAugust PappasMorsi Rayyan and James Yau. The top five finishers will count toward U-M's team score and the top 25 overall finishers will earn All-Great Lakes Region honors.


• The NCAA Great Lakes Regional and NCAA Championships jump from an 8,000-meter to a 10,000-meter course.

• Six of the 15 teams in the Great Lakes Region hail from the Big Ten Conference. Michigan is ranked No. 2 in the region heading in to Friday's race and will be joined by No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 3 Indiana, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 11 Purdue.

• Four Great Lakes Region teams are ranked in the USTFCCCA Division I National Coaches poll heading into the regional meet, including No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 12 Michigan, No. 20 Indiana and No. 28 Notre Dame.

• Wisconsin has won the last 10 regional titles (2002-11). In 2007, the Badgers shared the regional crown with Michigan.

• U-M finished third at last year's NCAA Great Lakes Regional -- a four-spot improvement from 2010.

• Michigan has won a share of two regional titles (1997 and 2007) since the inaugural meet in 1993.

• Four members of this year's regional squad competed for the Wolverines at the 2011 regional meet -- junior Mark Beams, senior/junior Brendon Blacklaws, senior Zach Ornelas and junior Morsi Rayyan. Blacklaws was an All-Great Lakes honoree in 2011, finishing 25th overall.

• Michigan has finished in fifth place or better in 13 of 19 NCAA Great Lakes Regionals since the meet originated in 1993.

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


 Morsi Rayyan 
Dewitt, Mich.

On being named a team co-captain ... "It means a lot to me. Being named co-captain with four other guys that I can relate to and we all share the same goals, it definitely means a lot."

On how Coach Gibby's system has helped them improve each year ... "Coach Gibby's approach is a pretty long one. I don't think anyone was really expecting to see vast improvements right off the bat. It's a long-term approach and every year we get more fit and more used to the system and the results indicate that."

On what it means to help U-M regain respect on the national scene ... "It's nice for all of us to get some recognition nationally because we have been working so hard at it for so long. With the guys we have, everyone has bought in and we really deserve it. It means a lot to everybody to be on people's radars again."

On the 10K course benefitting the team ... "Like I said, Coach Gibby's approach is long term in most aspects. Since the summer, we've been training for this part of the season, not the early parts where we run 8Ks -- we've really been training for the 10K because this is when it matters. We've put in the work for it so it's a matter of execution now."

On how much experience will help the team at the regional meet ... "Now that the team is getting older, a lot of us have been here before and we really know what to do. Some of the younger guys will definitely have to look toward us and use us as models on how to race the 10K because many of them have never done one before. I think our nice blend of experience and youth will work pretty well the next two meets."

Michigan finished second at the Big Ten Championships (Oct. 28) -- its best finish since 2008. Senior Dan Lowry(Philadelphia, Pa./La Salle College) was the Wolverines' top finisher in fifth place, earning All-Big Ten first team honors. Juniors Morsi Rayyan (Dewitt, Mich./St. Johns) and Mark Beams (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) finished 13th and 14th, respectively, landing spots on the All-Big Ten second team.

Saturday, Nov. 17 -- at NCAA Championships (Louisville, Ky.), 1:15 p.m.

Contact: Whitney Dixon