EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State men’s and women’s cross country open the 2017 season at the 32nd annual Jeff Drenth Memorial race on Friday, Sept. 1 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The women’s race begins at 10 a.m. at the Pleasant Hills Golf Course.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to see the young athletes find their way,” Director of Cross Country and Track & Field, Walt Drenth, said. “For most of them, it’s good to go back to a high school distance because we go to a further distance after this. The women go to 6,000 meters and the men go to 8,000 meters. They get a little bit of familiar territory. They get used to how we prepare for a competition, to get into the frame of mind and get used to running with each other in a competitive environment. It’s really a nice kick-off, and we look forward to it every year. It’s a meet that I helped start, so it’s fun to go back and be part of the meet.”
The men’s cross country team was voted No. 3 in the Great Lakes Region by the USTFCCCA in their preseason ranking on Aug. 28, behind Wisconsin and Eastern Michigan. The Spartans came in at No. 23 in the national rankings, and finished NCAA Cross Country Championships in 20th place last year. The defending champion Northern Arizona came in at No. 1.
The women’s team came in at No. 4 in the Great Lakes Region, with Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin ahead of the Spartans. The Green and White were voted at No. 16 nationally, and finished last year’s NCAA Cross Country Championships in eighth place.
“Our expectations are kind of the same every year,” Drenth said. “Our objectives are to grow, to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be, to learn from every opportunity and see if we can apply those lessons.”