Women's Cross Country Places Second at NCAA Regional Championships
Spartans earn 13th-straight bid to NCAA Championships.
Nov. 12, 2011
TOLEDO, Ohio - The Michigan State cross country program concluded action at the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Toledo, Ohio. The women placed second overall with 77 points, while the men finished ninth with 311 points.
"I am really proud of both teams today at the NCAA Regionals," said director of cross country and track & field Walt Drenth. "For the women, it was nice to see them finish strong after some last minute adversity prior to the start of the race. The men also had a nice performance as they have dealt with a depleted lineup for a majority of the season."
For the women, leading the team with her fourth-place finish was sophomore Sara Kroll. In arguably her best race in her career, Kroll turned in a time of 20:37.3. Classmate Julia Otwell also recorded a top 10 performance for the Green and White, as she finished ninth with a time of 20:44.4.
Junior Katie Haines was the third Spartan to finish today in Toledo, finishing in 20:59.8 for 15th-place overall. Capping off the scoring for MSU was a pair of seniors in Rebekah Smeltzer and Rachel McFarlane. Smeltzer clocked in a 21:10.0 for 22nd, while McFarlane finished 27th with a time of 21:20.6.
"First and foremost, the women were not able to run with one of our best leaders today in Carlie Green," noted Drenth. "We made the decision 10 minutes prior to the race to hold her out due to an injury, and the team really did a nice job responding to the last minute adversity. When you have one of your leaders walk away, it causes everyone to take a deep breath. So, we went out there with the mindset that we could do it without her, and the team really did a nice job responding."
Freshman Leah O'Connor clocked in a 21:27.1 to finished 33rd overall. Junior Olivia Sydow rounded out the runners for the Green and White, placing 45th with a 21:40.0.
Taking home the team crown was Michigan with 45 points. Danielle Tauro of the Wolverines finished tops in the race with a time of 20:27.9.
For the men, senior Joe Dimambro clocked in the team's top time, as he finished 30th in 31:00.7.
"Joe has really done a nice job for us all season long," said Drenth. "With a significant number of guys currently injury, he has really stepped up and helping lead this young group of guys. He has really taken our team motto to heart, "Spartans Will", and have made sure he has consistently put his best foot forward each and every day."
Wisconsin claimed the team crown with a score of 50 points. Indiana placed second with 70 points. Callum Hawkins of Butler clocked in the fastest time in the men's race, finishing in 30:01.5.
With MSU's top-two finish today at the NCAA Regionals, the women have qualified for the NCAA Championships for the 13th-straight season, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.