MSU - Spartans Shine at Prestigious Roy Griak
Provided by MSU
East Lansing, Mich. - The men's and women's cross country team shined at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24. The race was in Minneapolis, Minn. on the Les Bolstad Golf Course, place of competition for the 2016 Big Ten Championships.
In the 6,000 meter race the #9 Michigan State women's team took second place with a final team score of 127. The men took a fifth place finish in the 8,000 meter for a final tally of 161 points.
We did a nice job staying persistent throughout the whole course," said Director of Cross Country Walt Drenth. "It is a muddy and hilly course but they pushed through and I thought they did a really nice job there. The key was to stay patient and consistent and we did a good job of that, and we need to take away from that throughout the season."
Running in her first race this season as a Spartan, freshman Holly Bullough led the women's cross country team with an 11th place finish. Bullough's 22:08 finish was closely followed by senior Alexis Wiersma who took 14th with a time of 22:11. Senior Rachele Schulist was the third Spartan to cross the finish line, marking a time of 22:19.
Sophomore Erin McDonald and senior Shelby Jackson did a good job of running off each other, crossing the finish line just seconds a part. McDonald and Jackson helped round out the top five for the MSU Spartans.
"I thought we did a nice job, and to have seven people in the top 50 is critical," said Drenth. "There are some things we did really well. I thought Allie (Wiersma), Holly (Bullough), and Erin (McDonald) did a really nice job and marched through the field."
Portland won the overall women's race with a final score of 71, followed by Michigan State's finish of 127. Penn State, Boise State, and Michigan rounded out the rest of the top five.
On the men's side, sophomore Ryan Robinson was the only Spartan to cut the top five threshold on Saturday, concluding with a fourth place finish and a time of 25:14. Senior Sherod Hardt was the second Michigan State finisher, with a time of 25:32.
"Ryan (Robinson) is doing much better this season understanding how to pace the season," said Drenth. "He has done a really good job, understanding how to apply pressure in different places and being a little less urgent all the time."
Portland claimed the first place team title on the men's side with a score of 69. Iowa State and Boise State picked up second and third place, and the Spartans concluded the day with 161 points, only four shy of fourth place finishers, Michigan.
Michigan State will be idle next week before resuming competition at the Wisconsin Under Armour Invitational in Madison, Wisc. Race day is set for Friday, Oct. 14, and the men are set to kick off the invitational at 12 p.m. ET.