Cross Country Set For NCAA Great Lakes Regionals
Spartans to compete with 33 teams in the region in Terre Haute, Indiana.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State Cross Country embarks on the NCAA postseason at Great Lakes Regionals on Friday, Nov. 10 hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute. The meet will be streamed live on FloTrack.
The women's 6K championship race begins at 11:15 a.m. (ET) and will feature competition from 33 teams and 297 individual runners. The Spartans sit at No. 3 in the region and No. 21 in the nation, facing nationally and regionally ranked Michigan (No. 1/8) and Wisconsin (No. 2/17). Ohio State is the fourth-ranked team in the region, and No. 25 in the nation. Fifth-ranked Eastern Michigan is also nationally ranked, tied for No. 27.
In the men's 10K championship race at 12:15 p.m., 30 teams will vy for bids to Nationals, with 268 individual competitors. MSU is ranked No. 2 in the region, coming in at No. 15 in national rankings. The Spartans face two other nationally ranked opponents in No. 8 Michigan (No. 1 in the region) and No. 25 Wisconsin (No. 3 in the region).
Director of Cross Country Walt Drenth on Great Lakes Regionals...
"We're not going to spend a lot of time talking about or worrying about making Nationals. We're going to spend most of our time talking about how we can be at our best and let the chips fall where they fall. We've done, through the course of the year, what we need to do to give ourselves a chance to go to Nationals, and now we just have to be competitive. If we're smart, if we race well, if we run the last couple kilometers well, both sides will have an exceptional chance to make the Nationals. We'll go back to the process and make sure we do the things we can control well. I thought at the conference meet, we made a couple of errors. We were maybe a little aggressive in a couple spots, and we didn't do a very good job of managing problems. If we can problem-solve and not get too excited early, I think we'll be okay."
On the advantage of the men's race opening up to a 10K...
"We've got a mature group, and they know how to run the distance. If you look at the trends at the conference meet, we were getting closer and closer to the front of the race as that race progressed. We did a really nice job of being patient, and I think 2,000 more meters will be to our benefit. We're not running to win; we're running to be at our best. I think we have a shot to win, but I think Wisconsin and Michigan and even Eastern Michigan have a chance to be pretty good."
On building off of Big Ten Championships...
"Problem-solving a little bit with 1,000 meters to go, making sure that if we run into a problem, we stay calm and sort it out and then we get back to being at our best. Being patient - we got a little impatient feeling good in the middle of the race, and we can't get antsy. If we're calm and we run together as a group, it'll go well for both sides. You'll see us running a couple people at the front, and then a couple people not far off the front, then we're in good shape. If we're spread out, in both instances, it'll be a little bit more challenging for us to be good."
On learning to manage problems...
"We focused on that here in our office. We talked through - `What's in your skill set, and what didn't you use?' We went back to the things that we've learned and said, how do we apply those more effectively? That's how we've managed this."
LAST TIME OUT
At Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Oct. 29, the men's team raced to a second-place finish among the conference's best for the second consecutive year. Redshirt senior Clark Ruiz was the top Spartan finisher in third place, earning his highest finish of the season and picking up first-team conference honors. Sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb also earned conference honors from his fifth-place finish and season-best time of 24:14.1.
The women's team claimed a fifth-place finish in a tight race, marking a second consecutive fifth-place finish for the squad. Redshirt sophomore Jeralyn Poe took the highest Spartan finish in ninth place, claiming the first conference honors of her career and setting a PR 6K time of 20:33.1. Maggie Farrell's 13-place finish was the first of all conference freshmen. Her time of 20:44.5 awarded her Second-Team All-Big Ten honors.
Michigan State men and women's teams have finished inside the top-five for four consecutive years, consistently fielding squads among the best in the Big Ten.
NAMES TO LOOK FOR
Redshirt senior Clark Ruiz was the first Spartan to cross the finish line in third place at Big Ten Championships, clocking a 24:13.5 in the men's 8,000-meter race and earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. Ruiz, a native of Big Rapids, Michigan, set a career-best 8K time this season at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, finishing at 23:56.1. At last year's NCAA Regional, Ruiz took All-Region honors with his 14th-place finish.
On the men's side, sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb ran to a season-best time of 24:14.1 at Big Ten Championships, claiming a fifth-place finish and notching first-team All-Big Ten honors, the first of his career. From Algonac, Michigan, Beadlescomb has placed in the top-10 at both the Spartan Invitational and Roy Griak Invitational 8,000-meter races this season.
Max Benoit's redshirt senior campaign started off by earning the Spartan's top finish at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 15, taking second in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 24:48.0. Benoit, a native of Royal Oak, Michigan, claimed a season-best 8K time of 24:20.5 at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational and took his personal highest finish at Big Ten Championships in 24th place.
Maggie Farrell was the first freshman to cross the finish line at Big Ten Championships in 13th place with a 6,000-meter time of 20:44.5. The feat earned her B1G Freshman of the Year as well as second-team All-Big Ten honors. Farrell, from Battle Creek, Michigan, set a season-best at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational with a time of 20:35.4.
Erin McDonald began her redshirt junior season as the top female finisher at the Spartan Invitational, claiming second place with a time of 21:23.9 in the 6,000-meter race. McDonald, a native of Dow, Michigan, set a season-best at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, racing to a time of 20:41.2.
Redshirt sophomore Jeralyn Poe claimed a ninth-place finish at Big Ten Championships, the top Spartan finish on the women's side. Poe's season-best 20:33.1 finish time earned her second-team All-Big Ten honors, the first of her career.
NCAA Championships are slated for Saturday, Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky. The women's race will begin at 10:45 a.m. (ET) and the men's race will follow at 11:45 a.m.