MSU - Men's Cross Country Wins Griak, Women Finish Second

MSU - Men's Cross Country Wins Griak, Women Finish Second

Provided by MSU

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The No. 25-ranked Michigan State men’s cross country team placed four runners in the top 15 to claim the team title with a score of 74 at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Spartan women took second at the event, led by a pair of top-10 finishes.

“This was a good sign of our depth,” said Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Walt Drenth. “Our pose was phenomenal throughout the race. We ran well late and did a great job of managing ourselves. They really did a good job of doing what we asked.”

Running in his first race donning the Green and White, junior TJ Carey set the pace for MSU with a seventh-place effort. Carey’s 25:08 was followed in close pursuit by freshman Ryan Robinson, also racing attached for the first time this season. Robinson posted a 25:10 to take eighth after placing second last week at the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invite.

“Ryan (Robinson) went out with the lead group, where TJ (Carey) moved up gradually before the two finished the final 2,000 meters together,” Drenth said. “Sherod (Hardt) and Max (Benoit) also found one another late and just went.”

The Spartans did an exceptional job of running off each other, as junior Sherod Hardt and sophomore Max Benoit battled to a 13th and 14th-place finish, respectively. Hardt turned in a 25:18, just eight seconds back of 10th place, and Benoit crossed in 25:20.

Junior Chris Collier rounded out MSU’s top five, recording a 25:43 for 32nd. Senior Andrew Cusmano raced to a 33rd-place finish with a time of 25:44, and junior Clark Ruiz crossed in 53rd, finishing the 8,000-meter course in 26:06.

“Andrew (Cusmano) had great race, as well as (Chris) Collier,” said Drenth. “It really is critical to run together, especially when it comes time for the NCAA Championships. It’s a sign of depth that it could be a different two guys for us every week. Adding Caleb (Rhynard) back into the mix and being interchangeable is really important, and it will allow us to be successful.”

Southern Utah took second in the team competition, amassing a team score of 88, as No. 29 California raced its way into third with a 94-team score.

The No. 6- ranked women’s program ended the day in second place after juniors Rachele Schulist and Alexis Wiersma finished in fifth and seventh, respectively, with a 21:32 and 21:36. Freshman Erin McDonald was the third Spartan to cross the finish line, clocking a 22:29 for 32nd.

“Rachele (Schulist) went out with the leaders, while Ally (Alexis Wiersma) started a little more behind and ran really well through the field,” Drenth said. “The women did a better job of being patient and maybe were too patient. They kept cutting the score in half throughout the race.”

Sophomore Kelsie Schwartz and junior Shelby Jackson stayed within four seconds of McDonald, running a 22:30 and 22:33, respectively, for 35th and 36th. Freshman Amber Way ran attached for the first time in her MSU career, finishing in 22:47 for 52nd, while sophomore Raquel Serna was 68th with a time of 23:00.

No. 20 Boise State claimed the team title on the women’s side with a score of 37. The Broncos placed four runners in the top 10. No. 26 Minnesota rounded out the top three, trailing the Spartans by 25 points with a score of 141.

“We have a young group that I am excited about,” said Drenth. “Getting Lindsay (Clark) and Katie Landwehr back in our lineup and close to where they were last year will make that women’s team very good.”

MSU will be idle next week before returning to action on Oct. 9 at the Jayhawk Invite.