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Michigan State Women's Cross Country: 2014 NCAA Champions





























Nov. 22, 2014

Complete Results |  Photo Gallery 

Spartan All-Access Video

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.  - Led by four individual runners in the top-25, the Michigan State women's cross country team claimed the program's first ever NCAA Cross Country Championship on Saturday afternoon. Running in front of a huge crowd of MSU fans, the Spartans finished 62 points ahead of runner-up Iowa State with a team score of 85 points, the lowest total at the NCAA Championships since 2008 (Washington, 79). 

"What a great group of people. It's just so much fun to watch," said MSU Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Walt Drenth. "They really did what they've done all year. They stayed patient and they ran well late.They stepped up for each other. It was a great team effort.

"I can't say enough about the kids. I couldn't be more proud of them," stated Drenth. "The way they've handled themselves all year and the way they are a team. The way they trust each other and Coach [Lisa] Senakiewich and I. That's been as gratifying as anything. To win a national championship, it's a really proud moment. I'd really like to thank Spartan nation, that was amazing to hear that 'Go Green, Go White.' I couldn't be more proud to be a Spartan right now."

The depth of the Spartan women's team was once again on display Saturday as Rachele Schulist led four MSU runners in the top-25 and finished fourth overall with a 6K time of 19:54.30. Schulist's fourth-place finish is the best in program history at the NCAA Championships; previous best was fifth-place by Nicole Bush in 2007. Lindsay Clark was the next Spartan to cross the finish line in 11th place overall with a time of 20:16. Big Ten Women' Champion and Athlete of the Year Leah O'Connor clocked in with a time of 20:20.80 to finish 17th, followed by Julia Otwell (20:29.50) and Sara Kroll (20:56.70) in 21st and 61st, respectively. Alexis Wiersma (69th - 21:01.00) and Katie Landwehr (119th - 21:21.80) rounded out the rotation of MSU runners.

"You can't beat this. These are the best girls in the world," said Schulist. "They're just amazing. I just love our team. We work together and take care of each other and that's what makes us. There's so much love. I love it.

"We knew we put it all out there and it was so fun," added O'Connor. "It was all about the team. This is a bond that will never be broken."

Schulist, Clark, O'Connor and Otwell were each named to the NCAA All-American team following Saturday's race.  

"That's just awesome. When we were looking at it, I thought we'd do well if we got four in the top-40. To get four in the top-21 is just another great accomplishment for this group," said Drenth. 

The Michigan State men ran to a 24th-place finish with 583 points, led by Alex Wilson in 90th place with a 10K time of 31:29.20. Ben Miller clocked in with a time of 31:50.50 and finished 132nd, followed by Sherod Hardt in 136th place with time of 31:51.60. Caleb Rhynard (161st - 32:03.30) and Ben Carruthers (171st - 32:08.10) were the final scorers for the Spartans. Nick Soter (213th - 32:50.00) and Andrew Cusmano (234th - 33:35.00) made up the remainder of the field for MSU.

Saturday's races were hosted by Indiana State University at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Indiana. To view the NCAA's coverage of the event, click here.
 

 

 

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