By Bridget O’Donnell

For the Daily

With four runners in the top-10, the Michigan men’s cross country team opened its season looking dominant against a field of 11 squads at the non-scoring Spartan Invitational on Friday. Led by a pack of newcomers, No. 27 Michigan captured six of the top-15 spots at Michigan State’s Forest Akers Golf Course in East Lansing. Freshman Justin Switzer led the Wolverines, placing fourth overall with a time of 25:00. Senior Andrew Bauer followed close behind, clocking in at 25:02.

“The race went well,” Bauer said. “I tried to get off with the lead group. We all got a good start.”

The Wolverines kept a good pace throughout the meet running closely together in a tight pack towards the front. Among the top-15 finishers were freshman Lex Williams, senior Andrew Ellerton, sophomore Victor Gras and freshman John Black, who placed seventh, ninth, 13th and 14th, respectively.

“We all worked together,” Switzer said. “It was a team effort.”

The meet wasn’t scored and Michigan didn’t trot out its full lineup. Sophomore standout Mike Woods, who placed second overall at the Spartan Invitational last year, was one runner who sat out. But the race was just the beginning of the season to come.

“It was our first meet, and we’ve still got a ways to go,” Switzer said.

Nevertheless, the Wolverines were pleased with the results. Bauer attributed the Wolverines’ success on Friday to team practices.

“Our workouts have been going as planned,” Bauer said. “We work out in a pack.”

The race was indeed a good start for the Wolverines, who hope to begin the season anew after a disappointing 26th-place finish at the NCAAs last year. With seven freshmen and 11 returning veterans on the squad, Bauer is optimistic for the new season.

“The freshmen have done nicely,” Bauer said. “We didn’t run all of the people we wanted to, but we did pretty good.”

Switzer said: “We are a young team. Hopefully, everyone can step up and have bigger roles.”

The Wolverines head to Minnesota next Saturday for the Roy Griak Invitational.

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