MSU - Spartan Cross Country Opens Season with Top Finishes

MSU - Spartan Cross Country Opens Season with Top Finishes

Provided by MSU

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich – Michigan State cross country began the 2017 season at the 32nd annual Jeff Drenth Memorial Race hosted by Central Michigan on Friday, Sept. 1. The women’s team placed first with a total time of 1:28:56, while the men’s team ended the race in second place with a time of 1:18:17, behind Central Michigan.

“[The race] is a chance for the younger athletes to get their feet wet in the process,” Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, Walt Drenth, said. “I was pleased with both groups and how they managed themselves.”

Highlighting the women’s team was an individual first-place finish from redshirt freshman Lindsey Rudden, who finished with a time of 17:18.7. Redshirt junior Lynsie Gram claimed fourth place with a time of 17:35.0. Spartan women took 11 of the top 15 times for the race.

“I thought the women ran well,” Drenth said. “They were patient. It was Lindsey’s first collegiate race in uniform. We thought she was ready to have a breakthrough, and she ran really well. She ran smart, she was really patient. I told her I didn’t want her to try to lead until late. I know she’s fast, so she followed our race plan really well but so did the entire group. There were a number of us up there running really well and that was our objective.”

Redshirt freshman Brayden Law led the way for the men’s team, finishing third with a time of 15:08.8. Freshmen Joe Riordan (15:12.0) and Matt Schram (15:16.9) finished next, in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

“I was really happy to see Brayden’s performance,” Drenth said. “He was probably a little too patient. He waited back and made a big charge. It was his first real race of any consequence in a couple years. He’s a real talent and we’re happy to see him get going.”

The Jeff Drenth Memorial is named for the late Jeff Drenth, brother to Michigan State's Director of Cross Country and Track & Field. Jeff, who died in 1986 while training, is a member of the Central Michigan University Marcy Weston Athletics Hall of Fame. Michigan State’s top returners did not race in Friday's competition, giving the Spartans' younger athletes an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming season.

“We talked about being a little bit more patient, being excited for the longer distance and using it to our advantage,” Drenth said of the younger runners. “Those are things that we certainly will do. The other stuff we learned is going to be individual from person to person because everybody has to make their own adjustments. It’s not a full team adjustment. Everyone is going to look at their objectives a little bit differently and try to be a little more thorough. We’ll learn what we can from this race and apply it to the next one.”

MSU will host the annual Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 15 at the Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing beginning with the women’s race at 11:30 a.m.