The Wolverine

September 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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66 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2019 BY DAVID ALLEN C lasses may not get going until September in Ann Arbor, but the fall sports season will be in full swing by the end of August. At U-M, Olym- pic sports teams will be vying for Big Ten titles and setting their sights on holding a NCAA championship trophy come December. Here is a preview of the volleyball, field hockey, men's and women's cross country, and men's and wom- en's and soccer teams, with a look at each squad's top student-athletes, chances at the Big Ten crown and the national title, and much more: MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY First Event: Aug. 30, Michigan Open (at Dexter, Mich.) Big Ten Predicted Finish: Third NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Top 20 Coach's Expectations: "Our overall goals on a year-over-year basis are to be a championship-contending team at the conference level … and at the national level we want to make sure we are a national qualifier," head coach Kevin Sullivan said. "With this particular team, I think we have one of the stronger teams we have had in a number of years, so depending on the health of our team I think we can set some pretty ambitious goals." Top Runner: Jack Aho had a career year in both track & field and cross country in his sophomore season, and is expected to keep that up going into his junior campaign. Aho earned All-America and All-Region honors while being the top runner for the Wolverines at the NCAA Champi- onships (finished 35th) and NCAA Great Lakes Regional (10th). The Grayslake, Ill., native was the only runner to finish as Michigan's top performer more than once in 2018. "At the conference level, we could see a step up. He was a mid-twenties performer at the conference level and we would — and he would — like to see himself in an All-Big Ten posi- tion," Sullivan noted. "For a NCAA All-American level athlete, being in the top 14 in the conference should be something that he is looking to do." Athlete To Watch: Ryan Robinson is a fifth-year senior transfer from Michigan State who will make his debut in maize and blue this fall. As a Spartan, Robinson was a second- team All-Big Ten and an All-Region honoree in 2016. Due to intra-Big Ten transfer rules, he sat out the 2018-19 season, but he did run the Michigan Open unattached and won the indi- vidual title. "We expect a huge contribution from him," Sullivan said. Don't Miss: The Nuttycombe Wis- consin Invitational Oct. 18, where Michigan will travel to Madison to take part in one of the premier events in the nation. More than 30 teams will participate, including 17 of the top 25 squads at the NCAA Champi- onships a year ago. WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY First Event: Aug. 30, Michigan Open (at Dexter, Mich.) Big Ten Predicted Finish: First NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Top five Coach's Expectations: "We have a couple things we have to shore up … we return an All-American in Ca- mille Davre and the Big Ten Fresh- man of the Year in Anne Forsyth, so that's a good start right there," ex- plained Mike McGuire, who is a 12- time Big Ten Cross Country Coach of the Year. "I think us [contending for a national title] would be a process of putting it all together as we go along. "I don't think we are going to come out of the gate as the fourth- or fifth- best team in the country." Top Runners: The aforementioned Davre and Forsyth are coming off im- pressive seasons. The redshirt sopho- more Davre placed 29th at the NCAA Championships a year ago, while Forsyth earned All-Region honors and has since competed in several international competitions for Team AMBITIOUS AUTUMN Michigan's Fall Olympic Sports Set A High Bar   OLYMPIC SPORTS FALL PREVIEW Junior cross country runner Jack Aho earned All-Region honors in 2017 and 2018, and also received All-America accolades last year after finishing 35th at the NCAA Championships. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETICS

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