Men's Cross Country Finishes Second At Big Ten Championships
MSU women finish fifth; three Spartans finish in the top-10.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Michigan State men and women's cross country finished inside the top-five at Big Ten Championships for the second straight year on Sunday on the IU Championship Course in Bloomington. The No. 15 men's team earned a second-place finish for the second consecutive year, with 82 points. The No. 20 women's team claimed fifth place for the second year in a row, with 119 points.
Michigan State men and women's teams have placed in the top five at Big Ten Championships for four consecutive years.
The men's team kicked off competition first, highlighted by a third-place finish from senior Clark Ruiz with a time of 24:13.5. Ruiz's finish marked his highest at Big Ten Championships, and earned him his second All-Big Ten honor. Following in fifth place was sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb with a time of 24:14.1, setting a career-best 8K time. His finish also notched him a spot as First-Team All-Big Ten, his first honor.
Sophomore Jesse Hersha was the next Spartan to cross the finish line in 19th place, with a career-best 8K time of 24:39.8. Senior Max Benoit was next in 24th, finishing with a time of 24:54.0. Freshman Brayden Law also set a career-best 8K time in his first Big Ten Championship race, at a time of 25:01.7. Freshman Joe Riordan and junior Dan Sims came next, with times of 25:14.8 and 25:17.9, respectively. Freshman Zacary Wright-Fisher (25:36.3) and Nathan Burnand (26:20.5) rounded out the Spartan effort.
"I definitely am excited about Morgan and Jesse. I thought we had a really good breakthrough race from Brayden as well," Director of Cross Country, Walt Drenth, said. "Ryan Robinson wasn't able to run this weekend. That put a huge dent in us. He was 11th last year. The guys did a phenomenal job in the race. They followed the race plan. We got closer and closer. We closed the gap by about 50 points in the first 2,000 meters to the finish line. Michigan had a good day, and we had a good day, but they were just better than us."
The women's team raced to fifth place in their 6K race, with 119 points. Sophomore Jeralyn Poe paced the Spartans with a ninth-place finish, setting a PR of 20:33.1 in her highest finish at Big Ten Championships. The finish earned Poe a spot on the Second-Team All-Big Ten, her first conference honor.
"We're seeing growth from Jeralyn every week in practice and in every meet. I saw leadership from her for the first time. I saw moxie. She ran really well last year outdoors at the end of the outdoor track season at the Big Ten Championships, which was easily her best race. It may not have been the fastest time, but she scored and I think she learned a lot. I saw those same attributes today in her. She was poised, she had a good idea of how to manage the course and when it got really hard, she was willing to stick her nose in there and just grind. I was really pleased with her performance."
Maggie Farrell was the first freshman to cross the finish line in the Championship race, in 13th place with a time of 20:44.5. Her finish earned her Second-Team All-Big Ten honors in her first-ever appearance at Big Ten Championships.
"Maggie did a nice job, too," Drenth said. "There were times when she was sort of our top person, but I felt like from my standpoint, she trusted Jeralyn a little bit. She and Jeralyn and even Erin McDonald ran together for quite a ways before Erin came off the run. Maggie's going to be really good. Being the top freshman in the Big Ten is quite an accomplishment in this conference."
The next Spartan across the finish line was sophomore Lynsie Gram, who set a career-best with a time of 20:48.9 (19th). Senior Bridget Blake and junior Erin McDonald were the next two to finish, right together with times of 21:25.5 and 21:28.5. Freshman Lindsey Rudden was just tenths of a second behind at 21:28.7. Junior Jenny Rogers raced to a season-best time of 21:29.5. Senior Kelsie Schwartz (21:36.4) and freshman Carlyn Arteaga (22:02.2) completed the Green and White runners in the race.
"Both groups tried to win. The women tried to win, and it might've cost the women a place in the meet. I don't know, but they took a big chance between 4 and 5,000 meters, and that takes a lot of courage. You're out there putting yourself out in the hardest part of the course. They were really getting after it. They really learned to race and be fearless, both teams in this Championship. That'll bode well for us as we move forward and in the next few weeks."
Up next, MSU takes on the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Friday, Nov. 10 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
"I think they learned that they're pretty good, maybe the value in being patient. Hopefully, they continue to raise their expectations. I think all those things are going to be important lessons. I think most importantly, things they've learned they're going to apply maybe in 10 days, but more importantly as they move forward in their careers. Both sides have a lot of young ones and that could make it a lot of fun."