Oct. 18, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country team will return to the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 19. Hosted by the University of Wisconsin, the meet will be held at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course on the campus. The championships races will begin at 12 p.m. ET with the men’s 8,000-meter race, followed by the women’s 6,000-meter race at 1 p.m. ET.
“Like most other meets, we’re looking for progress,” said director of cross country/track & field Walt Drenth. “We want to come out better than our last competition. I think we’re ready. We’ve had three weeks of good practice. We’re taking everybody on the line. It’s an exciting time. This is the type of meet that prepares you for the conference, regionals and national championship. We’re excited to see what happens.”
In total, 18 men's teams, including No. 5 BYU, and 17 women's teams, including No. 1 Providence, ranked in the USTFCCCA national coaches' poll are slated to participate in the two races.
“I think the field is even deeper than the Roy Griak Invitational,” Drenth said. “There are a lot of ranked teams, so it will be a really good test. It’s probably better preparation for nationals than even our next two meets, because of the quality and depth of the field is so high. Those are experiences we need in order to be prepared to do our best in November.”
Where We Rank
In the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) weekly poll, the women moved up to ninth after their strong performance at the Roy Griak Invitational. Regionally, the women continue to sit at the top of the Great Lakes Region standings for the fourth-straight week.
On the men's side, MSU is receiving votes in the national coaches' poll and is holding onto fifth in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings.
Last Time Out
The Spartans traveled in-state on Oct. 11 to compete at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships at Hillsdale College. Both the men and women placed second as a team with 75 points and 63 points, respectively.
Repeating his success from the same meet in 2012, redshirt sophomore Andrew Cusmano turned in a second-place overall finish as the first MSU runner to cross the finish line in 25:56.77. Rounding out the Spartans in the top-20 was redshirt freshman Joe Oehrli who finished 12th overall with a time of 26:51.42 followed by redshirt sophomore Reed Payant with a time of 27:05.15 for 16th place.
On the women's side, redshirt freshman Natalie Smith raced to the top spot for MSU and finished second overall with a time of 18:30.60. Redshirt freshman Molly Jeakle was the next finisher for the Spartans, placing 10th overall with a time of 19:07.94. With back-to-back finishes, redshirt senior Meggan Freeland clocked a time of 19:24.12 for 14th and redshirt junior Devan John placed 15th with a time of 19:13.75.
With a second-place overall finish at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships, redshirt sophomore Andrew Cusmano was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week on Tuesday. He lead the Spartans to a second-place team finish with his time of 25:56.77, a 5:13.17 one-mile pace, and finished more than 12 seconds ahead of the next-fastest runner in the field of 98 competitors.
Crossing the finish line first for the MSU women at the Roy Griak Invitational, redshirt freshman Rachele Schulist was named Big Ten Cross Country Co-Athlete of the Week on Oct. 1. Her ninth-place time of 21:07 in the women's 6,000-meter race helped lead her team to a runner-up team finish among a field of 28 teams, 10 of which were ranked in the top-30 of the USTFCCCA poll.
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 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.
Michigan State will travel to Dexter, Mich., for the EMU Fall Classic on Oct. 25 hosted by Eastern Michigan University.