Spartans To Run in Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational
MSU to compete among nation's top-ranked teams on Friday.
Live Results | Live Stream | Meet Information
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State cross country travels to Madison, Wisconsin, for the ninth annual Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday, Oct. 13. The No. 17 men's team will participate in an 8K race that will kick off at 1:20 p.m. (ET), followed by the women's 6K at 2:00 p.m. (ET). The meet will be streamed live on FloTrack.
The field of competition is steep, with 35 men's teams and 33 women's teams taking part in the races. Twenty out of the 33 men's teams are nationally ranked, as well as 16 of the 33 women's teams. The Spartans are prepared to take on the challenge, knowing that the experience will prepare the team for the approaching postseason meets.
"We're just trying to take steps towards the championship season. We'll talk a little bit more in terms of direct preparation after we've run the course, and we'll talk about race plans and how to manage a field size that big," Director of Cross Country, Walt Drenth said. "One of the challenges, especially for our young athletes, is getting into a really big meet where there are that many competitors and not losing your sense of purpose or your perspective. You've got to be calm in chaos."
The Spartans are coming off a two week break from competition, with their last time out being the 32nd annual Roy Griak Invitational hosted by Minnesota. At the meet, the No. 25 ranked men's team took second place with a total of 55 points. MSU beat out several ranked opponents, including No. 13 Iowa State and No. 20 UCLA. No. 18 Colorado State was the first place finisher, just eight points ahead of Michigan State. The No. 20 women's team finished in fourth place with 91 points, behind No. 8 San Francisco, No. 23 Iowa State and No. 19 Minnesota.
"I think we got better. It seems like our practices have gotten better. We've gotten a couple people back in sync, it seems like," Drenth said of their progress during the time off from competition. "I'm not apprehensive, but the proof is always in the pudding so once the gun goes off, we'll have a better sense of what kind of progress we've made. We had some objectives in practice we hadn't had a chance to meet, and we've been able to meet those in terms of some hard practices."
In the latest USTFCCCA National Coaches' Poll, the men's team jumped to No. 17 in the nation after their performance at the Griak Invitational, and is the No. 1-ranked team in the Great Lakes region. After being ranked No. 30 on Sept. 26, the women's team dropped out of the poll on Oct. 3, though the squad received 11 votes. The women's squad is also No. 6 in the Great Lakes regional rankings. The Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational gives the Spartans an opportunity to put themselves on the postseason map.
"I think momentum is the first thing. That's our biggest priority. Developing continued confidence moving towards the Big Ten, and then the regional and hopefully the national championship. That's the first thing," Drenth said. "The second thing is, frankly, points. We go to a meet like this to try and beat teams from other regions. If we can do that, then we'll give ourselves a chance to make the NCAA Championship and that's ultimately, after the Big Ten Championship, a high priority."
Following the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, the cross country teams will return to Michigan for the EMU Fall Classic on Friday, Oct. 20.