MSU Women Take First At Roy Griak Invite

MSU Women Take First At Roy Griak Invite

Provided by MSU

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Following a two-week break from competition, the Michigan State men's and women's cross country squads were back in action on Saturday afternoon at the Minnesota Roy Griak Invitational. The No. 3 ranked Spartan women's team recorded 66 points on their way to a first place finish in the 6K event, while the MSU men came in fourth overall with 153 points in the men's 8K race.

"This was a good early test for our group. They were persistent and overcame some adversity today against some good teams," said Michigan State Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Walt Drenth. "I saw some good progress on both sides today, but we've still got some room to grow and improve going forward."

The Spartan women were once again led by Rachele Schulist and Leah O'Connor, who finished fifth and ninth respectively. Schulist (20:50) finished 15 seconds behind winner Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State. O'Connor (21:30) was followed by Lindsay Clark (21:33) and Sara Kroll (21:46) in 12th and 18th place, respectively. Alexis Wiersma (21:52) was the final scorer for Michigan State in 22nd place. Julia Otwell (22:09) and Katie Landwehr (22:19) were also in the mix for MSU.

"The girls were patient and really ran well late in the race. It was very close between us and Iowa State with about 1,500 meters left and we turned it on over the last five to six minutes," said Drenth. "Rachele (Schulist) ran really well and helped pick Leah (O'Connor) up a little bit. I thought Julia Otwell and Katie Landwehr showed some of the progress they have made as well."

Junior All-American Caleb Rhynard led the way for the Spartan men for the third straight meet, finishing third overall with a time of 24:49. He was followed by Ben Carruthers (25:34) and Alex Wilson (25:42) in 25th and 35th place, respectively. Sherod Hardt (25:46) and Ben Miller (25:56) rounded out the scorers for Michigan State in 39th and 51st, respectively. Max Benoit (26:10) and Andrew Cusmano (26:13) also competed for MSU. Southern Utah claimed first place in the race with 142 points, followed by Colorado State (146 points) and Minnesota (149 points) making up the top three.

"Good effort on the men's side. We finished just 11 points out of first, so we'll look to keep gaining momentum from races like this. Caleb (Rhynard) ran hard and really grinded today, which we've come to expect from him," stated Drenth. "Ben Carruthers had another good race and I was thrilled with how Alex Wilson ran today. This was by far his best race so far this year. We can still be better as a whole, but we showed some good growth as a group."