Sept. 17, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Redshirt junior Leah O’Connor and redshirt sophomore Caleb Rhynard of the Michigan State cross country team have both been named Big Ten Cross Country Athletes of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday. Both individuals finished tops for the Spartans this past weekend as MSU hosted the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational.
Rhynard earns the first weekly honor of his career after he was first among Division-I student-athletes and second overall in the men’s 8,000-meter race with his time of 24:10. With a great first showing of the season, it was a career-best time for the Shepherd, Mich., native in the 8,000-meter race. Rhynard was the 2012 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award representative for Michigan State.
This also marks the first weekly Big Ten honor for O'Connor as she kicked off the 2013 season in a big way, winning her first collegiate race. She paced the field for the entire women’s 6,000-meter race, and finished in a time of 20:54. O'Connor crossed 11 seconds ahead of a pack of five Spartans, who garnered the next five spots on the leaderboard. O’Connor received first-team all-conference honors after placing fourth overall at the 2012 Big Ten Championships.
After a week off, the Spartans will return to action as they travel to the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Minneapolis, Minn. The meet will be held at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course with the men’s 8,000-meter race set to begin at 12:20 p.m., followed by the women’s 6,000-meter at 1:10 p.m.