Farrell Named Big Ten Freshman Of The Year, Ruiz and Welch Earn Sportsmanship Award
Farrell voted unanimously for the women's cross country honor.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference announced their individual award winners for the 2017 men and women's cross country season on Tuesday afternoon, unanimously naming Spartan women's runner Maggie Farrell Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Farrell, a native of Battle Creek, Michigan, earns the fourth Freshman of the Year award in program history, and the first since 2004.
At Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Oct. 29, Farrell placed 13th with a 6K time of 20:44.5, earning Second-Team All-Big Ten honors. Farrell was the first freshman in the conference to cross the finish line.
"Maggie has been steady and gotten better in every race we've contested this fall," Director of Cross Country, Walt Drenth, said. "It's a well-earned honor. It's a tribute to her talent, her persistence, her trust in us. We're really proud of her. She has a bright future ahead of her and this just a glimpse of how good we think she's going to ultimately be. We're very excited for her."
Farrell consistently placed in the top among Green and White runners this season, and her best performance came at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, where she ran to a 20:35.4 finish against several nationally ranked teams.
Michigan State's two Sportsmanship Award honorees are seniors Clark Ruiz and Kelcy Welch. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
Welch, a native of Carmel, Indiana, was a medical redshirt this year.
"She wasn't able to compete because of some chronic back problems. She was an elite runner in high school, and somebody we were excited to have as a part of our program, and we still are proud to have her as part of our program," Drenth said. "Because of the frustration of not being able to run, she could've easily just stepped away from the program and acted like it wasn't for her anymore but she's embraced everything we've done. She's been a phenomenal teammate and member of our program. It felt like our responsibility to acknowledge that. It is a sportsmanship award, and she's shown phenomenal character and sportsmanship through the course of her time here, even with the great frustration she's had."
Ruiz, a native of Big Rapids, Michigan, led the men's team at Big Ten Championships with a third place finish.
"Clark has been a model of consistency," Drenth said. "He stays positive. He takes direction. He works incredibly hard. He's supportive of his teammates and sort of exemplifies everything that we try to stand for as a program. If we could've given Co-Sportsmanship Awards, we would've also given it to Max Benoit, because he has done everything we've asked him to as well. It just came down to one or the other and that's how it worked out."
Michigan State prepares for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Friday, November 10 in Terre Haute, Indiana. The women's 6K will start at 11:15 a.m. (ET).