Aug 30, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country teams opened up the 2013 season at Jeff Drenth Memorial on Friday morning. Several Spartan underclassman showed progress as three women and two men finished top-five in the first race of the season.
"I thought we did a nice job," said director of cross country/track & field Walt Drenth. "We had some good performances. It's an open meet, so there are no team scores. It was pretty hot. We did a nice job, so I was really pleased with the race. It was good to get rid of the first-time nerves. It's nice to be able to run that race and get the cobwebs out in terms of re-familiarizing the racing process. It was a good re-introduction to competition for the freshman that we think we're going to lean on."
On the women's side, redshirt freshman Rachele Schulist took first place honors in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 17:52.40. Placing third overall was redshirt freshman Shelby Jackson, who stopped the clock in 18:16.00. Competing unattached, freshman Raquel Serna finished fourth overall with a time of 18:30.60. Also placing in the top-10 for the Spartans was freshman Alana O'Mara (18:54.30, seventh) and redshirt senior Meggan Freeland (19:35.60, ninth).
"Rachele Schulist won the women's portion of the race, so we're really pleased with her run," Drenth said. "Alexa Rumsey and Shelby Jackson both ran really well. It was their first time in uniform, so that's a big deal. It was good to get rid of the first-time nerves. We had three of the top-four women finish for MSU, both competing in uniform and unattached. It was a good first race for us."
Freshman Luke Johnson was the top finisher on the men's side, competing unattached and placing third overall with a time of 15:59.90. Next to cross the finish line for Michigan State was freshmen Max Benoit (16:12.40) and Nick Moon (16:13.70), both competing unattached and finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. The top MSU finisher in uniform was redshirt freshman Josh Kersjes, who placed seventh overall with a time of 16:21.40. Rounding out the Spartans in the top-10 was redshirt freshman Nick Soter, who finished ninth with a time of 16:24.20, followed by Ryan Konen in 10th with a time of 16:28.80.
"On the guy's side, we had a whole bunch of guys in the top-12, including a lot of redshirt kids. It was good for them to get out there and be in the front of the race. For the most part, it's a good start for us. I'm certain that at the end of the season, Nick Soter and Ryan Konen, Rachele Shulist, Alexa Rumsey and Shelby Jackson will be really important parts of our varsity team."
The Spartans will be back in action as they host the 2013 Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational at Forest Akers East Golf Course on Friday, Sept. 13 at 12 p.m.