No. 25 Men's Cross Country Finishes Second, No. 20 Women Take Fourth At Roy Griak Invitational
Spartans earn top finishes against top-ranked teams in the nation.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - On an unseasonably hot Saturday in late September, Michigan State cross country ran in the 32nd annual Roy Griak Invitational at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The Spartans pushed through, claiming top spots in both men's and women's competition.
The No. 25 men's team kicked off Division I competition, with the 8,000 meter race pushed up to 11:20 a.m. due to the sweltering temperatures plaguing the Midwest this weekend. As a team, the squad finished in second place, totaling 55 points for the Green and White, and improving on their fourth place finish at last year's Griak Invitational. MSU beat out several ranked opponents, including No. 13 Iowa State and No. 20 UCLA. No. 18 Colorado State was the first place finisher, just eight points ahead of Michigan State.
"I thought we ran well. We followed our race plan. The people that followed the race plan really just trusted it and ended up running pretty well," Director of Cross Country Walt Drenth said. "I think that a couple of people got a little impatient and they probably didn't run as well as they are capable of running. That's part of our learning process, and we've got a couple more weeks before we race again so we can sort ourselves out. I'm always looking for ways for us to grow. This is going to give us a chance to assess some of that. As a team, we ran well. We were really patient because of the heat. It was very difficult, so we started kind of in the middle. We started back a bit, and ran through the field."
Leading the way for the men, redshirt seniors Clark Ruiz and Max Benoit and sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb were the first Spartans to cross the finish line, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. Ruiz earned his career-best finish at the Griak with a time of 25:07.3. Benoit also earned his career-best Griak finish with a time of 25:12.7. Beadlescomb improved from last year's Griak Invitational, finishing at 25:15.2.
"Max, Clark and Morgan ran well through four. Ryan can run better if he's a little more patient. Jesse is getting better every week, so I'm pretty confident he's going to come around," Drenth said.
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Robinson finished in 14th with a time of 25:40.5. Sophomore Jesse Hersha crossed the finish line at 26:00.9 (26th). Sophomore Zacary Wright-Fisher (26:07.2) and freshman Joe Riordan (26:07.8) finished in 30th and 31st, respectively. Freshman Brayden Law finished with a time of 26:00.9 and redshirt junior Justine Kiprotich finished at 27:55.0.
On the No. 20 women's side, redshirt junior Erin McDonald earned her best finish at the Griak in seventh place with a time of 21.44.9. In her first appearance at the Griak invitational, redshirt sophomore Jeralyn Poe finished 21.45.9. In a steep competition, freshman Maggie Farrell was not far behind with a finish of 22:10.3, but placed 20th.
The team finished in fourth place with 91 points, behind No. 8 San Francisco, No. 23 Iowa State and No. 19 Minnesota.
"The women followed a similar race plan. They were a little further back. I wanted them a little closer to the front, but they did a very nice job. [Jeralyn Poe] and Erin [McDonald] ran really well together. Maggie Farrell came off the run a little bit, and Lindsey [Rudden] dropped out with about 1,000 meters to go. She was running very well but then sort of came off the run. Kelsie Schwartz was outstanding. She wasn't able to run with us last week, because she was a little bit banged up. This was her first race of the season, and I thought it was exceptional."
Senior Kelsie Schwartz finished right behind Farrell in 21st with a time of 22:14.1. Senior Jessica Goethals crossed the finish line at 22:44.4 (34th), redshirt junior Jenny Rogers ended with a time of 22:47.2 (39th) and junior Lauren Jenkins followed with a time of 22:49.0 (42nd).
Redshirt sophomore Lynsie Gram (22:52.3), senior Bridget Blake (23.17.5) and freshman India Johnson (23:27.6) also ran for the Spartans.
The cross country team will take some time off before the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday, Oct. 13.
Roy Griak Invitational - Final Results
Men's Team 8K
4. Clark Ruiz (25:07.3)
5. Max Benoit (25:12.7)
6. Morgan Beadlescomb (25:15.2)
14. Ryan Robinson (25:40.5)
26. Jesse Hersha (26:00.9)
30. Zacary Wright-Fisher (26:07.2)
31. Joe Riordan (26:07.8)
51. Brayden Law (26:00.9)
100. Justine Kiprotich (27:55.0)
Women's Team 6K
7. Erin McDonald (21:44.9)
9. Jeralyn Poe (21:45.9)
20. Maggie Farrell (22:10.3)
21. Kelsie Schwartz (22:14.1)
34. Jessica Goethals (22:44.4)
39. Jenny Rogers (22:47.2)
42. Lauren Jenkins (22:49.0)
46. Lynsie Gram (22:52.3)
67. Bridget Blake (23:17.5)
76. India Johnson (23:27.6)