Cross Country Heads to Bloomington For Big Ten Championships
No. 15 men’s team and No. 20 women’s team prepare for first postseason race of the year.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State cross country is set to compete in Big Ten Cross Country Championships hosted by Indiana in Bloomington on Sunday, Oct. 29. The men’s 8K will begin at 10:45 a.m. (ET), and the women’s 6K takes place at 11:45 a.m.
The field is competitive, with four men’s teams ranked in the USTFCCCA top-30 and six women’s teams. On the men’s side, ranked teams include No. 13 Michigan, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 18 Minnesota and No. 30 Penn State. Ranked women’s teams are No. 9 Penn State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 20 Michigan State and No. 29 Indiana.
Director of Cross Country, Walt Drenth, has prepared the No. 15 men’s team and No. 20 women’s team for this event all season.
“It’s kind of cliche, but our preparation started, frankly, in the summer,” Drenth said. “I think, you know, at this point we’re just going to make sure that they’re rested and have their legs under them, feel excited about the competition, feel sharp. Those are the things that I think are our primary objectives, and have a good sense of what they’re physically up against, how the course will run, what to expect from other teams. Those are the sort of the things we’re trying to prepare for now.”
In its last meet, Michigan State fared well at the EMU Fall Classic on Oct. 20, highlighted by a first place finish from sophomore Mackenzie Weiler on the women’s side. Her 17:51.7 5K time earned her Big Ten Athlete of the Week, her first weekly honor and the first Spartan honor for the women’s team since junior Erin McDonald on Sept. 9, 2015. The men’s performance saw four runners finish in the top-20, including junior Brian Kettle with a third place finish to lead the Spartans.
The IU Championship Course hosts Big Ten Championships for the first time since 2006, and has not hosted a postseason race since 2009.
“We’ve been preparing (for the course). It’s the first time for them, but I’ve been on the course a number of times so having an idea of how it lays out, the footing, how you have to run it to run it well, I think those are things we have a decent handle on, providing everyone follows the race plan,” Drenth said. “I don’t think that them not seeing it will be an issue. We’ll get to run over it on Saturday morning and that will help us in preparation as well in terms of getting ready for Sunday.”
The cross country team hopes to continue their momentum from the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 13, when the men’s team took 10th place and the women’s team placed 11th.
“Momentum is really just staying well, and making sure that you do all the little things - rest and nutrition, and all the little things necessary to be really good,” Drenth said.
Following Big Ten Championships, MSU will continue its postseason run at the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals on Friday, Nov. 10 in Terre Haute, Indiana.