Oct. 25, 2012
WATCH: Cross Country Preview
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country teams opens their championship season on Sunday, Oct. 28, as they host the 2012 Big Ten Cross Country Championships . Action begins at 10:45 a.m. ET with the women's 6K race, followed by the men's 8K race at 11:45 p.m. ET.
The meet will be held at Forest Akers East Golf Course. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and is free to students and children. Parking will be available in the commuter Lot 89 located off of Mt. Hope Road.
Gates will open at 9 a.m. and the only meet entrance will be at the north end of the golf course off of Mt. Hope Road near the parking lot. Handicap parking will be available at the golf course on a first come, first serve basis.
Fans unable to attend the event live can enjoy the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on television tape delayed on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. ET on BTN.
Big Ten Championships History - Men
The men have claimed 14 team titles overall. MSU enters the weekend looking for its first since winning two-straight in 1970 and 1971. Individually, the men have had four runners finish tops in the race. Gerald Young was the last Spartan to win the men's race when he finished first in 1960.
Last year, the men finished eighth as a team with a score of 191. The top individual finisher was David Madrigal who placed 24th overall with a career-best 24:27 mark. The Spartans return all but one runner from last year's conference meet.
Big Ten Championships History - Women
The women enter the weekend looking for their fifth Big Ten team title, and third in as many years. MSU won the first sanctioned Big Ten Championships race in 1981. Overall, the Spartans have seen five individuals finish tops at the conference championships, most recently Emily MacLeod won the 2010 race in a career-best time of 19.53.8.
In 2011, the women placed tops as a team with 55 points. Individually, Julia Otwell was first in the race when she clocked in at 20:30, good for fifth-place overall. MSU returns all but two runners from last year's conference meet.
Where We Rank
In the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) weekly poll, the women find themselves ranked 15th after their strong performance at the EMU Fall Classic. Regionally, the women continue to sit in second-place in the Great Lakes Region standings.
On the men's side, MSU is currently seventh in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings.
The Spartans will square off against the other 11 teams from the Big Ten Conference, excluding Northwestern which does not have a men's cross country squad. On the men's side, the field will include two teams ranked in the latest USTFCCCA top-30 national poll, No. 11 Michigan and No. 20 Wisconsin, who are the defending Big Ten Champions.
The women face a tough field, including three other teams ranked in the national poll. No. 7 Michigan, who sits atop the Great Lakes Regional poll, as well as No. 13 Penn State and No. 25 Minnesota.
Last Time Out
MSU concluded its pre-championship racing on Friday, Oct. 19 with the EMU Fall Classic in Dexter, Mich. The non-scored event was MSU's final race before the final three races of the season - the Big Ten Championships, the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and the NCAA Championships.
True freshman Alexa Rumsey, running unattached, placed third in the women's 5K and crossed the finish line in 18.09. Close behind was sophomore Melanie Brender as the top MSU finisher with a time of 18:16. 30, good for fifth place.
After a weekend off, the Spartans return to action on Friday, Nov. 9, when they travel back to Madison, Wis., for the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships hosted by University of Wisconsin. Last year, the MSU women placed second overall to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships for the 11th-straight time. Sara Kroll paced the women's squad with her fourth-place finish with a time of 20:37.30. For the men, the team finished ninth overall with a score of 311. Joe Dimambro was the top male MSU runner, placing 30th with a time of 31:00.7.