Sept. 27, 2013
WATCH: Cross Country Preview
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country program returns to action this Saturday, Sept. 28 for the 28th-annual Roy Griak Invitational hosted by Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. Competition will be held at the Les Bolstad Golf Course with the men's 8,000-meter race to begin at 1:20 p.m. ET, followed by the women's 5,000-meter race at 2:10 p.m.
In total, three men's teams (No. 4 BYU, No. 24 NC State and No. 29 Arizona State) and eight women's teams (No. 5 Arizona, No. 12, Michigan State, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 20 Vanderbilt, No. 21 NC State, No. 26 Iowa State, No. 27 BYU and No. 29 Butler) ranked in the USTFCCCA national coaches' poll are slated to participate in the two races.
Where We Rank
In the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) weekly poll, the women moved into 12th after their strong performance at the Spartan Invitational. Regionally, the women continue to sit at the top of the Great Lakes Region standings for the third-straight week.
On the men's side, MSU is receiving votes in the national coaches' poll and is currently fifth in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings.
Last Time Out
The Michigan State cross country team hosted the 24th-annual Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 13 at Forest Akers East Golf Course. The event, which hosted nearly 6,500 athletes ranging from college to middle school, began with the two collegiate races that were mostly dominated by green and white.
Junior Leah O'Connor won her first collegiate race, pacing the field for the entire 6K, and finishing 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, including redshirt freshmen Shelby Jackson (21:05) and Rachele Schulist (21:06) who crossed side-by-side to take second and third, followed by sophomore Lindsey Clark (4th, 21:09), redshirt sophomore Katie Landwehr (5th, 21:16) and senior Megan Rodgers (6th, 21:19).
On the men's side, sophomore Caleb Rhynard finished second overall, but was first among Division-I student-athletes, with his career-best time of 24:10. Juniors Ben Carruthers (24:43) and Alex Wilson (24:49) also had top-10 showings on the day, placing fifth and seventh, respectively.
Redshirt junior Leah O'Connor and redshirt sophomore Caleb Rhynard of the Michigan State cross country team swept the Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors, as announced by the conference office on Sept. 17. Both individuals earned their first weekly honors after finishing tops for the Spartans with an outstanding first race of the season when MSU hosted the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational.
The Spartans will be back in action on Oct. 11 as they make the short trip to Hillsdale, Mich. for the Michigan Intercollegiates. Hosted by Hillsdale College, racing begins at 4:45 p.m. at Hayden Park.