DEXTER — The Michigan Open wasn’t much of a first race for the Michigan men’s cross country team.
It was more like a glorified 10-kilometer practice.
The Wolverines dominated Eastern Michigan, taking the top seven spots.
“There was a lot of maize and blue up front,” Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said.
Michigan entered the tune-up race after a week of conditioning in Leelanau, Mich.
“We got into a couple (intense workouts) up there,” senior Lex Williams said. “But nothing too crazy. It’s been pretty low key so far, just getting back into the groove. Today was probably the hardest workout so far, which was what the plan was going out.”
Williams hit his stride early and took the top spot (31:40) in the non-scoring meet.
“I expected to go out and take the lead from the start,” Williams said. “That was my mindset going into the race, just to drag my teammates along.”
For the first half of the race, freshman Bobby Aprill kept pace with Williams. But by the sixth kilometer, Williams began to open up a lead.
Aprill hung on for second place (32:16) in his first collegiate meet.
“Bobby Aprill was a pleasant surprise,” Warhurst said. “I knew he was going to be good, but he’s just a racer, which is what you need to be at this level.”
Aprill joins a team that returns 13 letterwinnners from last year. Last year’s Wolverines finished 24th at the NCAA Championships and never finished lower than fourth in a race.
Michigan has one goal this season — to win a Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines host the meet this season and will be a favorite to win its first conference title in 10 years.
“We should be pretty good,” Warhurst said. “But to see how it goes in a month or two will be something different.”