MSU - Michigan State Shows Success at Spartan Invite

MSU - Michigan State Shows Success at Spartan Invite

Provided by MSU

EAST LANSING, Mich. – In the lone home event of the season the Michigan State men’s and women’s cross country teams defended their home course at the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 16.

The men’s took first place in the Division I 8,000-meter race, while the women also captured first place, sweeping the competition taking the first five places in the Division I 6,000-meter bracket.

The men raced first in the 8,000-meter and the Spartans had a handful of top finishers. Senior Sherod Hardt crossed the finish line first closely followed up by sophomore Ryan Robinson and freshman Jesse Hersha. Junior Clark Ruiz and junior Nathan Burnand were also close behind the pack to help the team mark their second consecutive first place finish of the year.

“I thought we did a nice job. I thought the guys did a nice job of pack running, and they are really starting to find themselves,” said Director of Cross Country Walt Drenth. “We had a couple freshman run not in uniform, and they really look like they are going to make the team and travel with us. Overall, I thought we were poised. I didn’t really want them to press the run since we have a big meet next week, and we just needed to get our feet under us.”

On the women’s side the team took a first place finish in the Division I results with the Spartans harriers sweeping positions one through five. Senior Rachele Schulist led the pack for the women with an overall second place finish and time of 20:54 in the 6,000 meter run.

Senior Alexis Wiersma and sophomore Erin McDonald crossed the line almost side-by-side, Wiersma with a time of 21:13 and McDonald 21:15. Senior Shelby Jackson and freshman Jeralyn Poe rounded out the top five for the Division I women.

“Same for the women as the men, I thought they did a very nice job,” said Drenth. “I thought the group as a whole moved through the course really well. At the end, it was nice to see a lot of us in the top 20.”

At the conclusion of the collegiate races, the Auto-Owners Spartan Invitational welcomed more than 170 high schools and middle school to campus. More than 8,000 runners between the middle school, high school and collegiate races participated in the 2016 Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invite.

“Overall I would say today was a successful day. Both teams are good teams, and I thought they showed a lot of maturity today and a lot of poise so it was overall very good progress,” said Drenth.