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Cross Country Travels to NCAA Great Lakes Regional Campionships in Toledo

Junior Isaiah VanDoorne

Nov. 11, 2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State cross country team will continue its championship season on Saturday, Nov. 12, when it travels to the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships in Toledo, Ohio. Action begins at noon with the men's 10k race, followed by the women's 6k race at 1:15 p.m. ET.

The meet will be contested on the campus of the University of Toledo at the Ottawa Park Golf Course.

The top-two teams from each of the nine regionals automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, which are held November 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. 13 at-large teams will also receive qualifying bids.

Individually, the top-four student-athletes that are not part of a qualifying team will receive invitations to compete in the NCAA Championships, along with two at-large selections. Also, the top 24 runners in each race will receive All-Region honors.

NCAA Regionals History - Men
The men enter the weekend looking for the first regional win in program history. Last year, MSU finished fifth at the regional race, led by then-senior Patrick Grosskopf's 13th-place finish. Overall, MSU has placed second once, third four times and fourth twice.

Last year, Grosskopf placed 13th overall with a time of 30:39.1. Grosskopf earned all-region honors for the second-consecutive year and earned a berth in the NCAA Championships race as an individual.

NCAA Regionals History - Women
The women have claimed five regional titles in program history. Most recently, the women claimed their first crown in 2010 after back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2001 and 2010, the last two times MSU won the Big Ten Championships, the Spartans also ran to a first-place finish at the regional. Michigan State claimed its first ever win in 1981, the first year the race was sanctioned by the NCAA.

Last year, Emily MacLeod recorded the Spartans' third-consecutive first-place finish with her time of 20:42.70. MacLeod became the first Spartan in program history to win the regional race in back-to-back years. She also earned USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year honors for her performance for the second time in as many years. As a result of the team's success, MSU earned an automatic bid to its 12th-consecutive NCAA appearance.



Post Season Honors
Director of cross country and track & field Walt Drenth was named Big Ten Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the second-straight year, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Additionally, freshman David Madrigal was tabbed Big Ten Men's Freshman of the Year for only the fourth time in program history, and first since 2000.

Where We Rank
In the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) weekly poll, the women find themselves ranked 12th after winning the Big Ten Championships. Regionally, the women continue to sit atop the Great Lakes Region standings, while also holding the best national ranking in the Big Ten Conference. This marks the highest ranking for the Green and White since Nov. 4, 2008, when the Spartans found themselves ranked 10th nationally.

On the men's side, MSU is currently eighth in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings.

Conference Recognition
Junior Shaka Dukes and sophomore Olivia Sydow of the Michigan State cross country team were both been named Big Ten Cross Country Runner of the Week by the conference office on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Both individuals finished tops for the Spartans at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships to earn All-Michigan honors.

Last Time Out
The women captured their second-straight Big Ten Championship on Sunday, Oct. 30 in Urbana, Ill. The win marked the team's fourth conference crown, and second in as many years. MSU posted a team score of 55 to better Michigan's 61 by six points, the sixth narrowest margin of victory in conference history.

Sophomore Julia Otwell paced the women individual with her sixth-place finish. Otwell turned in a personal-best time of 20:30. Otwell was joined by classmate Sara Kroll and senior Carlie Green for most of the race. As a result of Otwell's finish, she earned first-team All-Big Ten honors.

For the men, freshman David Madrigal paced the Green and White with his time of 24:37, placing him for 24th overall.

As a team, MSU placed eighth overall with a score of 191. Claiming its 13th-straight conference crown was Wisconsin with 17 points.

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