Nov. 21, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women’s cross country team will conclude the 2013 season with the 2013 NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind. They will join Caleb Rhynard who will represent the men’s side as an automatic individual qualifier. He will compete in the 10,000-meter race at 12 p.m. ET, while the women will follow in the 6,000-meter race to be held at 1:15 p.m. The meet will be streamed live at NCAA.com.
The Spartan women will be making the trip to the nationals for the 14th-straight season, the longest active streak in the Big Ten Conference. This is also the 15th-consecutive year MSU has had at least one individual competing in the race.
Individually, the top-40 runners in each race will receive All-America honors.
NCAA Championships History - Women
The women enter the championships looking for their first NCAA title program history. The highest the team has placed is fourth in 1981. MSU also has a fifth-place finish under its belt back in 2007. Former Spartan Nicole Bush's fifth-place showing at the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships with a time of 20:14 is the best finish by an individual at the event.
Last year, the Spartans placed 16th with a team total of 422 points. Junior Sara Kroll recorded the Spartans' top individual finish when she crossed the line in 20:24.2.
NCAA Championships History - Men
Caleb Rhynard will be the first individual to represent MSU at the NCAAs since Patrick Grosskopf qualified in 2010. He led the team that competed at nationals last season and placed 31st overall, the first time the men qualified as a team since 2009. Overall, MSU has seen one runner crowned individual champion as Crawford Kennedy placed first in 1958 with a time of 20:07.1.
Where We Rank
In the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) weekly poll released on Nov. 18, the women sit at 14th overall. The Spartan women are the second-highest ranked Big Ten team in the country, behind Michigan at eighth.
Michigan State Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Walt Drenth was unanimously voted Big Ten Women’s Coach of the Year, as announced by the conference office on Nov. 6. It marked the third conference coach of the year recognition for Drenth, as he also received the honor in 2010 and 2011. Also recognized by the conference were MSU’s Sportsmanship Award honorees, Caleb Rhynard and Megan Rodgers.
Last Time Out
Competing at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship, the MSU women finished third overall with 73 points, while the men, who entered the meet ranked seventh in the region, earned a fifth-place team finish with 151 points.
Kicking off the meet in the men's 10,000-meter race, Caleb Rhynard placed fourth overall to lead MSU with a time of in 30:12. Recording the highest finish for a Spartan since 2006, Rhynard punched his individual ticket to Nationals.
On the women's side, Michigan State finished third overall with 73 points. The Spartans were led by Leah O'Connor, who clocked a time of 20:23 to finish fifth overall. Also earning a top-10 finish was Rachele Schulist, who was the eighth runner to cross the finish line in 20:30. She was followed by Katie Landwehr, who finished 17th with a time of 20:46. Rounding out the Spartan scorers was Lindsey Clark with a time of 20:48 for 19th place, while Megan Rodgers finished 24th with a time of 20:58.
Following their performances at the regional championships, a total of six Spartans earned All-Region honors from the USTFCCCA for placing in the top-25 of the Great Lakes region. On the women’s side, Leah O’Connor, Rachele Schulist, Katie Landwehr, Lindsey Clark and Megan Rodgers all earned All-Region honors. Caleb Rhynard received All-Region honors for the men's team. It is the second regional recognition for O'Connor, Clark and Rhynard as they were also honorees in 2012.