CMU Men 4th, Women 5th At Michigan State

CMU Men 4th, Women 5th At Michigan State

Provided by CMU

Nate Perry,

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The Central Michigan cross-country teams got their first "big meet" experience of the 2016 season on Friday at the Spartan Invitational.

Along with the host Spartans, Mid-American Conference foes Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan were competed at Forest Akers East Golf Course, as well as runners from several schools in Divisions II and III.

With the top five Chippewa women not competing, CMU coach Matt Kaczor was able to evaluate the team's youth and get a look at who might contend for the sixth and seventh slots on the team, positions that will become crucial at the MAC Championships in late-October.

"Today, the focus was to get these women some experience, figure out our depth, and get them ready for the end of the season," he said. "Early in the season, it's not so much about how you finish, as much as it is (about) development."

Fifth-year senior Kelly McNeely, running in just her second collegiate race due to myriad injuries throughout her career, led the women's team with a 6K time of 23 minutes, 45 seconds, which was good enough for 94th place. The race comprised some 400 runners.

Jamie Madrigal, a fellow senior who is coming off an ankle injury sustained over the summer, was the second Chippewa across the finish line, coming in 102nd in 23:51. Esther Bell rounded out the top three for CMU at 23:59 and 111th place.

Kendra Foley of Grand Valley State won the women's race in 20:54.

Spencer Nousain led the way for the Chippewa men, finishing the 8K race in 26:14. He was 65th. CMU's Joseph Emmanuel, who ran alongside Nousain for much of the race, came in 77th at 26:18.

CMU freshman Bransen Stimpfel placed 115th in 26:49.

Alec Omell, another promising Chippewa runner, ran well in the early going but was forced from the race due to illness.

Zach Panning of Grand Valley State won the men's race in 24:43.

"Right now for the guys in uniform it's about closing gaps and running together and getting that spread down to about 30 seconds," Kaczor said. "Today we were right around one minute (spread), and it probably would have been close to 45 seconds had (Omell) been able to finish."

The Chippewa men finished fourth with 129 points among Division I teams. Michigan State was first with 29.

The CMU women were fifth with 122. Michigan State was first with 15.

The CMU women's team will be in action next week at the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota, while the men will get that weekend off before taking part, along with the women, in the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30.