MSU - Men's Team Captures Regional Championship, Women's Team Earns Auto Bid as Well
Provided by MSU
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The men's cross country team captured its first-ever Great Lakes Regional Championship, finishing as the best team in the region with 68 points on Friday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana. On the women's side, the team raced to a second-place finish with 87 points, upsetting regionally-ranked No. 2 Wisconsin. Both teams earned automatic bids to NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky.
"I was pleased with the way they both ran," Director of Cross Country, Walt Drenth, said. "I thought we were better than we were at the Conference meet. We were more poised. We had better purpose. Some of that is just maturity. Our top upperclassmen ran pretty well last weekend. Maggie ran well, and Jeralyn ran well. Clark, obviously, ran really well. I thought that as entire group we were better, both genders. Seeing that as a team, I thought our team preparation, our team approach to the race all was better."
On the men's side, the first Spartan across the finish line was sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb in fifth place with a career-best 10K time of 31:02.2, earning his first All-Region honors. Finishing in eighth place was redshirt senior Clark Ruiz, who clocked in at 31:04.7, followed by redshirt senior Max Benoit in 10th with a career-best time of 31:12.8, both earning All-Region honors. In 17th place, freshman Brayden Law finished with a time of 31:24.1 to earn the first All-Region honors of his career.
"We talked about trying to win. Our primary objective is always to advance," Drenth said. "That's the biggest thing, but we knew if ran well late that we'd have a chance to win. I think it was good for them. Our team, we've been good all year, and I felt like this was the first time that we've had five guys run near their capacity."
Benoit's finish puts him back in the top-10 after finishing 24th at Big Ten Championships.
"Max is a courageous guy," Drenth said. "He's a goalie at heart. He played goalie in high school. He's got this good, even temperament so he's able to move on from things. He did a really good job of that. Again, it was critical for us to do well, but it was nice to see him rebound. He's been an exceptional part of our program, and a great leader, so it was fun to watch."
Sophomore Jesse Hersha clocked in at 31:44.6, followed by freshman Joe Riordan at 32:04.6. Junior Daniel Sims completed the Spartan men's team with a time of 32:09.1.
"My hat's off to a couple people in this," Drenth said. "Jesse hasn't been able to run for a week or so because of a calf problem after the conference meet. Frankly, Brayden Law was outstanding. It was the best race he's had all year. We knew it was coming. You could see it in practice that he was gaining confidence. Those guys are critical to our success now and in the future. It was nice to see them make some progress. For Jesse, it was really courageous to see him get himself back in order."
Leading the way for the women's team in seventh and eighth place, respectively, was sophomore Jeralyn Poe with a time of 20:49.0 and freshman Maggie Farrell with a time of 20:50.6, earning both All-Region honors. Senior Kelsie Schwartz was the next to cross the finish line in 21st place, clocking in at a season-best 21:02.1 and claiming All-Region accolades. The fourth All-Region selection, in 24th place, was sophomore Lynsie Gram with a time of 21:06.9.
Rounding out the Spartan effort, junior Erin McDonald clocked in at 21:13.5, followed by senior Bridget Blake at 21:32.9 and freshman Lindsey Rudden at 21:38.6. As a team, the seven women finished within 49 seconds of each other.
"Typically, when your team does well, that cohesiveness and time from first to seventh is really important, and it's important for us because we don't have a true winner of this race, yet," Drenth said. "Seeing the growth in our group, and in the critical pieces there is great. Kelsie Schwartz was fantastic, and Erin McDonald. They both were so much better than they were in the conference meet. Just to be able to see them come up and run, it was fun. For them, it was gratifying because they were frustrated with the results from two weeks ago, so seeing a little bit of progress is good."
Michigan State will prepare for NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky. The women's race is slated to start at 10:45 a.m. (ET) followed by the men's race at 11:45 a.m.