Sept. 29, 2012
Louisville, Ky. - The Michigan State cross country team traveled to Louisville, Ky., on Saturday to race in the Greater Louisville Classic for the first team-scored event of the season. Overall, the Spartans were the first Big Ten teams to finish as the women placed third with 135 points, while the men finished eighth with 249 points.
"I thought the men made a lot of progress today," said Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Walt Drenth. "They ran really well as a team. I think the women made a lot of progress. I'm excited for that and it's fun to see them make progress the way we think they should. Both teams accomplished a fair amount this weekend."
The men opened up the day for the Spartans with the Men's 8K Gold Competition. Leading the Green and White in the race was redshirt senior Josh McAlary. The Jackson, Mich., native posted a season-best time of 24:30.91 to finish 34th overall. Redshirt sophomore Ben Carruthers crossed the finish in 24:37.78 for 44th place, also a season-best time.
"Josh [McAlary] did a phenomenal job, running a patient race and really trying to bring his teammates along," Drenth said. "They did a good job of staying together. I thought they raced the second-half of the 8K really well."
Redshirt freshman Caleb Rhynard tuned in his season-best time of 24:45.18, crossing the line in 53rd overall. Following Rhynard by less than a second, redshirt sophomore Alex Wilson finished in 24:45.99 for 55th place. Redshirt sophomore Drake Veitenheimer rounded out the Spartans top-five finishers, as he placed 73rd with a time of 24:57.27.
Claiming the team crown was eighth-ranked Iona with 47 team points. 28th-ranked Columbia (110 points) and Georgia (143 points) rounded out the top-three finishers. Lawi Lalang of Arizona won the event in 22:33.57.
The women had a strong showing in the Women's 5K Gold Competition. Junior Sara Kroll was the first Spartan to cross the finish line in 16:57.13, good for fourth-place. Redshirt sophomore Leah O'Connor had a top-20 finish with a time of 17:14.14 for 18th-place.
Redshirt senior Rachel McFarlane and redshirt freshman Lindsey Clark were the next to cross the finish line for MSU in 31st and 39th, respectively. McFarlane turned in a time of 17:27.32, while Clark clocked a 17:30.16. Redshirt junior Olivia Sydow also finished the top-50, as she turned in a time of 17:33.48 for 43rd-place.
"On the women's side, it was a loaded field and I think we did a really nice job," said Drenth. "Sara [Kroll] did fine; we think she's become one of the better people in cross country. She was vying for a win in today's race. I thought Leah O'Connor did great; she made a lot of progress in just two weeks. Rachel McFarlane did a nice job and Lindsey Clark made a lot of progress as well."
12th-ranked Arizona picked up the team title, tallying a score of 71 points. Top-ranked Washington finished second with 80 points.
Elvin Kibet from Arizona placed first overall for the women with a time of 16:51.71.
Michigan State returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 13, when members of the team travel to the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships in Grand Rapids, Mich., with competition slated for 4 p.m. ET.