Oct. 25, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country teams competed in-state on Friday as the team traveled to the EMU Fall Classic in Dexter, Mich. In their last meet of the regular season, the Spartans finished out the regular season strong at the meet with six personal-best performances.
"I'm glad Eastern Michigan continues to have this meet," said assistant coach Lisa Senakiewich. "It's always a great, competitive opportunity for those that are working towards making the varsity or ones that are redshirting. It's a great course, a short trip over and short trip home. They make the most of it while we're there. They did exactly what we wanted to and because of that we have a number of personal records on both sides. The nice thing was too that our people going to Big Tens next week were all there supporting their teammates, so that was really neat."
On the men's side, Chris Collier was the first Spartan to cross the finish line as he posted a time of 15:22 for seventh overall. He was followed by Austin Wissler (16th) and Joe Oehrli (23rd) with personal-best times of 15:38 and 15:45, respectively. In his first race of the season, Reed Payant recorded a 34th-place finish with a time 16:03.
"I think they all engaged and competed really well," said Senakiewich. "We just came there to do exactly that. It was 5,000-meters, so it's shorter than what they've raced all season. It was a good opportunity to feel a 5K again. I thought Chris Collier really engaged with the front pack later in the race and though he came off a little bit, he kept his poise. To have him in the front of a race was a big step. Austin is making a lot of progress. I think we'll see a lot of improvement with him on the track in the 800 and 1500-meter this year. Reed hardly ran at all last year or this summer, so he's really just started running again. He's always going to compete no matter what, but he's making progress and I think if he stays consistent and keeps training, he could be someone in our top-10 next fall."
Earning a big personal-best time of 17:39 was Raquel Serna as she was the top finisher on the women's side in third-place overall. Close behind in eighth-place was Alana O'Mara who also posted a personal-best time of 18:08. Molly Jeakle picked up her personal-best time of 18:15 to place 12th overall, followed by Meggan Freeland in 14th with a time of 18:22. Also placing in the top-20 was Emily Pap, who's personal-best time of 18:36 earned her an 18th-place finish.
"Raquel stayed engaged and kept competing, but she just didn't have enough to stay with the other women at the end," said Senakiewich. "Molly's made a lot of steps forward this season. The biggest one is that she's stayed healthy and she's seen a lot of distance running and training. That's the fastest she's ever run and I think she'll be a contender for our top group next fall. That was Meggan's last race in the Spartan uniform and it was a good way for her to go out. She stayed engaged the entire race and I think she had fun while she was out there. Emily Pap had a really good race. Like Molly, she's been making a lot of progress and starting to gain that confidence that you need on a team like ours to start thinking, `I want to be in that top-nine and how am I going to get there.' She's been doing that and she's continuing to make progress in that direction."
The Spartans will be back in action next weekend as they look to win back the Big Ten Championship title in West LaFayette, Ind., on Sunday, Nov. 3.