Cross Country Opens Season with Jeff Drenth Memorial
Sept. 2, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country program opens its 2010 schedule on Friday, Sept. 3, when it travels to Mount Pleasant, Mich., for the Jeff Drenth Memorial hosted by Central Michigan University. Racing is slated to begin at 11 a.m. at Pleasant Hills Golf Course. MSU and the host Chippewas will be joined by Saginaw Valley State and Alma.
The men enter the season ranked 21st in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Cross Country Coaches' Poll. The women find themselves 23rd in the preseason poll. Both the men and women are currently second in the Great Lakes Region.
After being led by a group of underclassmen for the past several seasons, MSU will use its experience to tackle the upcoming 2010 campaign. Director of cross country and track & field Walt Drenth enters his fifth-season at the helm of the Spartan cross country team, and looks to continue the storied success for both the men and women runners. Drenth returns each of his top-five male and female runners from the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Red-shirt seniors Patrick Grosskopf and Spencer Beatty look to lead a talented group of male runners during the upcoming season. Last year, Grosskopf posted the best individual finish for a MSU male runner since 1995 when he placed fifth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
The senior tandem will be joined by three sophomores in their quest to return to the NCAA Championships for the second-consecutive season. Red-shirt sophomores Josh McAlary and Isaiah VanDoorne and sophomore Ben Miller will round out the top-five returning runners from the 2009 campaign.
After being led by a cast of underclassmen in 2009, the men surprised many as they earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The placing marked the best team finish in program history for the Spartans. Grosskopf, Beatty and McAlary all earned All-Region honors as a result of their races. The men concluded the 2009 year with their first trip to the NCAA Championships since 2006.
Like the men, the women return all five of their top runners from a year ago. Leading the way for the Spartans is red-shirt senior Emily MacLeod. MacLeod placed first at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional with a time of 20:42.70, earning Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year recognition. She was the second consecutive Spartan to receive that distinction, and only the fourth runner to place first at a regional race. Earlier in the year MacLeod earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors with her sixth-place finish at the conference race.
Joining MacLeod is red-shirt juniors Carlie Green and Rebekah Smeltzer, junior Tiffany Abrahamian and red-shirt sophomore Katie Haines. Green became the 12th Spartan to receive USTFCCCA All-Academic honors for her work both on and off the course.
The women earned one of 13 at-large berths to the NCAA Championships to mark their 11th-consective trip to the championships race. MacLeod, Green and Smeltzer each earned All-Region honors at the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals.
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