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Spartan Women’s Team Claims 14th Place at NCAA Championships

Nov. 18, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Michigan State cross country sent both its men’s and women’s teams to 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships, highlighted by a 14th-place finish from the women’s team. The men’s team showed resiliency, finishing in 25th place after two of the Spartan runners fell in the 10K championship race.

The women’s team claimed a 14th-place finish with 395 points in the team’s 17th-straight appearance at NCAA Championships.

“On the women’s side, I thought they were outstanding. I thought they were a little far back, maybe a little too patient early, but they did an amazing job at just keeping at it,” Director of Cross Country, Walt Drenth, said. “They were 26th at 2,000 meters and to get to 14th, it’s really a testament to their persistence. We told them if they just keep running, it’s going to go well and they did a nice job of that. I think they learned a lot.”

Freshman Maggie Farrell was the first Spartan across the finish line, which was the first time a true freshman led the Spartan women’s team since Danette Doetzel in 2004. Farrell’s 64th place finish made her just the sixth freshman across the finish line out of all individuals, clocking in at a 6K personal record of 20:26.1.

“She did a great job. I felt like she was passing people almost the entire way, which was really a testament to her will and talent,” Drenth said. “I think she’s going to learn a lot from that and take away from that an opportunity to be a multiple time All-American. I don’t see any reason why she can’t. With the run she had in her legs late, I think if she had gotten out a little harder, she would’ve been okay. This course isn’t really conducive to that. It’s kind of flat. There’s not a lot of challenges until the last kilometer or so, and it’s really only one kilometer and then it’s back down, flat and downhill. I’m pleased with her run. I’m pleased with the entire team’s run and I thought she did a nice job.”

Redshirt sophomore Jeralyn Poe was the next Spartan across the finish line at 20:41.8 (99th), followed by redshirt junior Erin McDonald at 20:47.7 (111th). Redshirt sophomore Lynsie Gram took 116th place with a time of 20:50.7. Redshirt senior Bridget Blake claimed 133rd with a time of 20:58.1, a career-best. Redshirt freshman Lindsey Rudden (21:22.7) and senior Kelsie Schwartz (21:41.2) rounded out the Spartan women’s team.

On the men’s side, the team finished in 25th place with a score of 590 in their sixth consecutive appearance at NCAA Championships.

“I thought our effort was pretty good. We had a little bit of struggle on the men’s side at the start. We had some of our top guys go down. Both Max (Benoit) and Morgan (Beadlescomb) fell about 600 meters into the run and they went from where they needed to be to right at the back. They did a good job of making up ground and when I looked at the results briefly, we kept climbing,” Drenth said. “We got closer and closer to where we belong. We just never got the momentum we’ve had in the last couple of meets. We’ll go back to the drawing board. On the guys side, again, I thought they fought hard, but they just didn’t get in a position early enough to make a big difference in the meet.”

Sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb was the top Spartan finisher, in 91st place with a time of 30:35.4, a personal best 10K time.

“We just needed to be closer to the front. My hats off to Morgan for falling and getting back up and really just continuing to be persistent. We could’ve all followed his lead a little bit,” Drenth said. “Maybe the fall took a little wind out of our sails. I don’t know. I’ve liked the grit of that team all year. I’m sorry for them it didn’t go as well as we thought it could, but at the same time, I’m watching them race and there’s a high effort. That’s the part you’ve got to applaud them for.”

Redshirt seniors Clark Ruiz (30:56.5) and Max Benoit (30:57.9) were the next MSU runners across the finish line, in 126th and 130th place, respectively. Benoit’s time marked a career-best. Redshirt Brayden Law finished next with a time of 31:18.1, followed by freshman Joe Riordan, clocking in at 31:25.0. Redshirt sophomore Jesse Hersha (31:49.8) and redshirt junior Dan Sims (32:29.9) rounded out the Spartan effort.

“It’s exciting for both groups because there’s some young ones in there. Morgan, Jesse and Brayden on the guy’s side and nearly all the women - all of our top four are coming back. We’ve got a good group that didn’t make the trip this weekend. For both sides, it looks good. From my standpoint, you come back and there’s only one person in each race that feels good when they leave. Everybody wants to win.”

New Mexico won the women’s title, and Northern Arizona took the men’s title. New Mexico’s Ednah Kurgat won the individual championship, and Syracuse’s Justyn Knight claimed the men’s individual title. This event concludes the 2017 cross country season.

 

 

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