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Walt Drenth Named National Women's Coach of the Year

Nov. 25, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. - After leading the Michigan State women's cross country team to the first national championship in program history, head coach Walt Drenth was recognized as the Peter Tegen Women's National Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA on Tuesday afternoon. This is the first time in his coaching career that he has received the award.

The Spartan women enjoyed a dominant season under the guidance of Drenth in 2014, earning the program's first-ever No. 1 ranking in the USTFCCCA national coaches' poll and going undefeated in major competitions. MSU began the year with a statement win at the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Sept. 5, defeating No. 2-ranked Oregon by 48 points (20-68). The Spartans traveled to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota on Sept. 27 and came away with a 66-point victory over runner-up Iowa State (66-102). MSU continued to build momentum with a win at the Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 17, finishing 104 points ahead of second-place Arkansas (87-191).

The Spartans took over the top spot in the national polls on Oct. 21 and claimed their second straight Big Ten Championship on Nov. 2 in Iowa City. MSU placed four runners in the top-10 and recorded 26 points at the event, the third-lowest total in Big Ten Championship history. The Spartans turned in an equally impressive performance with seven top-25 finishers and 28 points at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships, defeating sixth-ranked Wisconsin by 64 points. That set the stage for the NCAA Championships this past weekend in Terra Haute, Indiana. Led by four runners in the top-25, Drenth and the Spartans bested a deep and competitive field with 85 total points, the lowest NCAA Championship score since 2008.

There were plenty of individual accolades for Drenth and the Michigan State throughout the 2014 season as well. Following the win at the Big Ten Championships, Drenth was named the conference's women's coach of the year for the fourth time in the last five seasons. He also added his fourth Great Lakes Coach of the Year honor after the Spartans captured the regional championship.

MSU had a total of six runners earn all-conference accolades as Leah O'Connor, Rachele Schulist, Lindsay Clark and Julia Otwell were named first team All-Big Ten, while Sara Kroll and Alexis Wiersma were second team selections. Those same six individuals along with junior Sara Stassen were named to the Great Lakes All-Region squad. O'Connor took home top individual honors at both races and was named the Big Ten and Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year. Schulist, Clark, O'Connor and Otwell were selected to the All-American team to close out the season at the NCAA Championships.

Drenth and MSU will get their 2014-15 track and field season underway on Friday, Dec. 5 at the Central Michigan University Classic in Saginaw, Michigan. 



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