Spartans Travel To Louisville For NCAA Championships
Men and women both earned automatic bids after the Great Lakes Regional.
Meet Notes | Championship Central | FloTrack Stream
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State Cross Country travels to Louisville, Kentucky, for 2017 NCAA Championships, the final race of the season, hosted by University of Louisville at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park on Saturday, Nov. 18. The women’s 6,000 meter race begins at 10:45 a.m. (ET), followed by the men’s 10,000 meter race at 11:45 a.m. The races will be streamed live by FloTrack.
Thirty-one men’s teams qualified for NCAA Champions, including 18 automatic bids and 13 at-large bids. No. 11 Michigan State is one of two teams representing the Big Ten Conference, the other being No. 10 Michigan. The men’s team makes their sixth-straight appearance at NCAA Championships, and the 44th in program history. Only Colorado and Arkansas have more appearances than MSU, both with 45.
No. 14 Michigan State is one of 31 women’s teams to compete at NCAA Championships, and one of six Big Ten Conference teams at the meet. No. 8 Michigan, No. 10 Penn State, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 21 Minnesota and No. 29 Indiana will also represent the conference. The appearance marks the 17th-straight for the Spartan women’s team and the 19th overall.
LAST TIME OUT
At NCAA Great Lakes Regionals on Nov. 10, the men’s team captured its first-ever regional championship with 68 points, beating out the No. 1 Great Lakes Regional team and then-No. 8 in the nation Michigan. Four individuals on the men’s team earned All-Region honors. Sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb was the first Spartan finisher in fifth place with a career-best 10K time of 31:02.2, redshirt senior Clark Ruiz claimed eighth place (31:04.7), redshirt senior Max Benoit finished in 10th with a career-best time of 31:12.8 and redshirt freshman Brayden Law claimed the fourth accolade in 17th, clocking in at 31:24.1.
On the women’s side, the team raced to a second-place finish with 87 points, upsetting regionally-ranked No. 2 Wisconsin. Leading the way for the women’s team in seventh and eighth place, respectively, was sophomore Jeralyn Poe with a time of 20:49.0 and freshman Maggie Farrell with a time of 20:50.6, earning both All-Region honors. Senior Kelsie Schwartz was the next to cross the finish line in 21st place, clocking in at a season-best 21:02.1 and claiming All-Region accolades. The fourth All-Region selection, in 24th place, was sophomore Lynsie Gram with a time of 21:06.9.
DRENTH NAMED REGIONAL MEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR
Michigan State Director of Cross Country Walt Drenth was named Great Lakes Regional Men’s Coach of the Year, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Tuesday. This marks the first men’s honor of its kind for Drenth, and fifth regional accolade.
In the latest USTFCCCA rankings, the men’s team came in at No. 11 in the nation, the highest ranking this late in the season for the Spartans since 1998.
Throughout the season, the men’s cross country team has been present in the national rankings, starting the season at No. 23 in the coaches poll. The team finished second at the Griak Invitational on Sept. 23, beating out several ranked teams. The finish resulted in a jump to No. 17 for the team ahead of the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 13, where the team claimed an 11th-place finish, its highest since 2010 at the prestigious meet.
At the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 29, the then-ranked No. 15 Spartans were the conference runner-up, just 11 points out of first place. MSU emerged as the top team in the region at NCAA Great Lakes Regionals, capturing its first-ever regional championship and upsetting the No. 1 Great Lakes Regional team and No. 8 in the nation Michigan.
Director of Cross Country Walt Drenth:
On if there’s anything that makes this week different...
“Not from our preparation standpoint. I think that there’s probably a respectable level of excitement from most of the athletes and good preparation. I think that they’ve learned so much through the course of the year and applied those lessons and gotten to the point now where they’re coming in and asking the right questions as we prepare for the finals. Other than that, I don’t think that there’s been a ton of anything else that changes.”
On what he’s looking for from both teams this weekend…
“Really the same thing we look for at the first of the year. Apply the lessons, be at our best, solve the problems we have control over and don’t spend any time being distracted by things you can’t control. I think those are the primary things. We’ve got to run well as a team. We’ve got to be patient and smart, but we’ve got to be appropriately assertive. There’s a lot that goes into it - walking that fine line of being in the race properly but not over-running early, all those things are going to be components to our success.”
On how the team has grown and progressed throughout the season…
“Both teams have grown in terms of their leadership and maturity. We had really good leadership on the men’s side to start with, and I think that that’s really displayed itself with all the hiccups that we’ve had, losing one of our better guys and then having Jesse (Hersha) interrupted in training after the conference meet. All those things have really galvanized in my mind the ability to lead, really out of Clark (Ruiz) and Max (Benoit) and the resilience of the whole group. To see growth out of the young guys has been fantastic, a lot of fun to watch. Then on the women’s side, I think they’re developing into a group of leaders. They’re developing into a better team. They’ve all been individual parts of a team, but we’ve had some pretty strong leaders here, in losing Shelby Jackson and Ally (Wiersma) and Rachele Schulist last year. Those are big shoes to fill so learning to fill those shoes is something we’re still working on. I think Coach (Lisa) Senakiewich and I are seeing some good growth out of that group.”
On the men’s sixth-straight and women’s 17th-straight NCAA Championships appearances…
“It’s something we’ve strived for. I think it’s something we expect when we come here is to get in and go to the NCAA Championship. It speaks volumes of the kids that choose Michigan State. They come here with a high expectation, and then they train and behave, create a culture that allows them to meet those standards. My hats off to them. It’s not my streak, I’m just here kind of as a curator in helping them get to their best.”
On the coaching staff...
“A lot of the success that we’ve had is a direct result from Coach Lisa Senakiewich, Coach Aaron Simoneau, Chris Collier, our graduate assistant; they’ve been an integral part of the success all fall and have helped us grow. I’m certain we wouldn’t be as good if it weren’t for those people. Lisa in particular is just a phenomenal leader and outstanding.”