Oct. 12, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country team traveled in-state on Friday to compete at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships at Hillsdale College. Both the men and women placed second as a team with 75 points and 63 points, respectively.
"Everyone competed well for the most part," said assistant coach Lisa Senakiewich. "Like anything else, there are things that we can change for the next time we get an opportunity to race. I think it was a sign of progress."
Repeating his success from the same meet in 2012, redshirt sophomore Andrew Cusmano turned in a second-place overall finish as the first MSU runner to cross the finish line in 25:56.77. Close behind was redshirt freshman Joe Oehrli finished 12th overall with a time of 26:51.42 followed by redshirt sophomore Reed Payant with a time of 27:05.15 for 16th place. Rounding out the top-five for MSU was redshirt freshman Austin Wissler (27:17.92, 21st) and redshirt freshman Josh Kersjes (27:29.68, 25th).
"They did great," Senakiewich said. "The men's team finished as the second Division I team behind Eastern Michigan. They are pretty good and were running a lot of their varsity runners. I think they performed well. It's a tough course. You could definitely tell that the training is starting to help just by the rhythm they were able to get into. They did a really nice job of trying to find each other. Joe and Reed ran together for quite a bit of the race and were trying to help each other. The same thing goes for Josh and Austin. Andrew sat back early in the race and then took the lead around two miles in and maintained it for quite a while. But they did a good job."
On the women's side, redshirt freshman Natalie Smith stepped into the top spot for MSU and finished second overall with a time of 18:30.60. Redshirt freshman Molly Jeakle was the next finisher for the Spartans, placing 10th overall with a time of 19:07.94. With back-to-back finishes, redshirt senior Meggan Freeland clocked a time of 19:24.12 for 14th and redshirt junior Devan John placed 15th with a time of 19:13.75. Rounding out the top-five for the Spartans was redshirt freshman Emily Pap who placed 22nd overall with a time of 19:42.69.
"The women were second overall and the first Division I program," said Senakiewich. "Natalie did a nice job, she competed well and she was coachable. Molly Jeakle might have run her cross country personal record, which is great because the course was pretty tough. It wasn't overly hot, but it wasn't typical fall weather."
The Spartans will be back in action next weekend at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The meet will be held at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course on Saturday, Oct. 19 with the men's 8K race set for 11 a.m. and the women's 6K at noon.