EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - Seniors Rachele Schulist and Sherod Hardt concluded their Michigan State cross country careers with All-American honors after top performances in the NCAA Championships at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The 2016 campaign marked the 17th-straight season the women have competed at the NCAA Championships, and they finished in eighth-place as a team with a score of 314. The men raced to a 20th-place finish for a score of 504, after being led by senior All-American Sherod Hardt.
Schulist clocked in at 20:07 recording a 12th-place finish for her second All-American honor also earning the honor in 2014. She is only the third runner on the women's side in MSU history to earn multiple All-American accolades.
"Rachele has had quite the journey. For her to go through the struggles she went through and just keep positive, and stay persistent enough to give herself a chance here is something special," said Drenth. "It isn't a surprise, but her sense of purpose today was just outstanding, and I thought she was incredible."
Senior Alexis Wiersma was the next Spartan to finish with a 49th-place finish with a time of 20:30.3. Freshman Holly Bullough followed up with a 79th-place finish and a time of 20:43.1, crushing her previous season-best time by two minutes.
Senior Shelby Jackson and sophomore Jenny Rogers rounded out the Spartan top-five finishing less than a mere second apart. Jackson finished 130th, and Rogers 134th, crossing the finish-line at 20:58.0 and 20:58.5, respectively.
"It was a really good all-around job by the women. They did a really nice job of being patient, but being consistent as a group," said Director of cross country Walt Drenth. "I liked their poise, I believe they really learned a lot today as a young group, and our leadership with Shelby, Ali, and Rachele was great."
Oregon is the 2016 women's National Champions with a score of 125, while Michigan took second with a score of 126. Colorado, N.C. State and Stanford rounded out the top-5 team finishes. Michigan State concluded with 314 points to finish eighth as a team.
Hardt paced the men's team for the fourth-consecutive outing, as he raced to a 27th-place finish on a time of 30:15.4 to earn his first All-American accolade of his career.
"I am really proud of what he did. Being All-American is something that was a long time coming for Sherod," said Drenth. "He has made so much progress, and it has been nice to see his growth as a leader. He has always been a leader, but it is just nice to see him have such a great opportunity as an athlete, and I think he definitely earned it."
Sophomore Ryan Robinson and senior Nick Soeter were the next two MSU finishers, taking 120th and 133rd. Robinson crossed the finish line at 31:02.6, while Soeter finished with a time of 31:08.5. Freshmen Morgan Beadlescomb and Jesse Hersha finalized the top-five for Michigan State.
"It was a tremendous learning experience for the men. Last week we ran four guys that have never ran a 10,000-meter race before, we come back eight days later and I thought they did a very nice job. They learned a lot, and they were racing really tough," said Drenth. "We had great leadership in Sherod and Soeter, but I also feel like we are not that far young away from more top performances. I can see us coming back next year and having a legitimate shot of being a top-10 team. That should definitely be their goal as a unit."
Northern Arizona took home the men's team title with 125 points. Stanford was second with 158, while Syracuse finished third for 164 points and Mississippi and Arkansas rounded out the top-five teams at the NCAA Championships. Michigan State combined for a total of 504 to finish 20th overall.