MSU Cross Country Study
University of WaterlooMSU Track and Field Alumni Association, The Finish Line Club
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Upcoming cross country meets involving Michigan State
|August 31, 2012||Jeff Drenth Memorial (Mt. Pleasant)|
|September 14, 2012||Auto Owners Spartan Invitational (East Lansing) @ Forest Akers East|
|September 28, 2012||Louisville Invitational (Louisville, KY)|
|October 5, 2012||at Hillsdale|
|October 12, 2012||Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Madison, WI)|
|October 13, 2012||Jayhawk Invitational (Muskegon)|
|October 19, 2012||EMU Fall Classic (Dexter)|
|October 28, 2012||Big Ten Championships (East Lansing) @ Forest Akers East||Women 2nd, Men 7th|
|November 9, 2012||NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships (Madison, WI)|
|November 17, 2012||Grand Finale (Lansing)|
|November 19, 2012||NCAA Cross Country Championships (Louisville, KY)|
Another Champion! Junior Sara Kroll crests the final hill en-route to capturing medallist honors and leading Michigan State to second place overall in the 2012 Big Ten Championships. Sophomore Leah O'Connor also ran an excellent race, finishing fourth in the individual standings (MSU Athletic Department photo).
Spartan Cross Country in the News (Fall 2011)
Race report from Eric Zemper: Congratulations to the MSU Women’s Cross Country Team for successfully defending their Big 10 title yesterday in Champaign, IL. As expected, it was a tight race with any of four teams given a chance to win (MSU, Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State). MSU’s women pulled it off with a demonstration of excellent pack running and team effort, and executing a smart race plan with major moves made in the latter stages of the race (credit good coaching and preparation). At the finish MSU looked good with three runners in the top nine (6th, 8th and 9th), with their fourth and fifth runners not too far behind in 15th and 17th. But Michigan had four runners in the top 12, including the 3rd and 4th place finishers. However, MSU finished their sixth and seventh runners ahead of Michigan’s fifth runner, which helped make the difference as MSU scored 55 points to UM’s 61 to take the crown. Penn State finished third with 71 points and Wisconsin was fourth with 89 points. MSU’s one to five split was only 18 seconds, which is excellent, but the one to seven split was even more critical, being only 30 seconds. You can see all the results at the MSU XC website:
Coaches Drenth and Senakewich with Michigan State's
2011 Big Ten Conference Champions!
Photo source: MSU Cross Country Home Page
Also as expected, the men’s team did not fare as well as would have been expected before a couple of weeks ago when they had two of their top runners injured during a major fall at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. They finished eighth out of eleven teams, which on the face of it is not too good, but under the circumstances the team ran a gutsy race. Senior Aaron Simoneau was one of the injured runners and did not compete yesterday. Junior Isaiah VanDoorne was the other injured runner, who did compete yesterday, but didn’t appear to be at full capacity. He still managed to be the fifth Spartan across the line. My feeling is that if everyone had been healthy they could have ended up no worse than fifth or sixth. The encouraging thing is that there were two freshmen who were MSU’s number one and number four finishers, as well as another one finishing as the sixth runner. These freshmen, combined with a couple of returning juniors and at least two strong freshmen being red-shirted this year, make the picture for next year look quite a bit better (if they can all stay healthy).
The weather for the races was just about perfect, with a nice, crisp fall day, but with some brisk winds from the south that the runners had to run into much of the time. The University of Illinois course was in an arboretum on the edge of the campus. Two of my team-mates from the 1963 Big 10 championship team, Ron Berby and Dick Sharkey, joined me in Champaign on the 48th anniversary of our win at the University of Illinois’ golf course. We were expecting a very flat course such as we ran on all those years ago (“flat as a billiard table”), and that was mostly the case for this year’s course. But there was one hill in the course that had to be climbed twice by the women and three times by the men. It was not terribly high, but there was a gradual incline approaching the main hill, which had a particularly nasty increase in grade as you approached the top. As a runner (and a coach), I’m a strong advocate of hilly cross country courses, since I feel cross country should be a challenge to the runner (if you want to run a fast time, run on a track). But there should be multiple hills and a rolling terrain, rather than an almost completely flat course with one isolated hill that completely disrupts the rhythm of the race.
This was the first appearance of Nebraska as the Big 10’s newest member. Their men’s team was given a rather rude welcome when they finished last of the 11 teams in the race. Their women’s team fared a little better, finishing seventh out of 12 teams. Which reminds me of an arcane piece of Big 10 cross country trivia. Which team won the very first Big 10 cross country championship in 1908? It was Nebraska, believe it or not. Up until 1926, the Big 10 meet was open to pretty much any school that wanted to send a team. MSU actually competed in the meet for several years from 1920 to 1925. Starting in 1926 the meet was closed to all but conference schools. See if you can win a beer with that trivia question.
Next up for the Spartans is the NCAA regional meet for the Great Lakes region. The race will be hosted by the University of Toledo on Saturday, November 12, at the Ottawa Park Golf Course. The men’s 10Km race will start at noon and the women’s 6Km race will start at 1:15 p.m. If you can get there, come and cheer the Spartans on! And on the day before, watch the Big 10 Network’s broadcast of yesterday’s Big 10 meet, on Friday, November 11, at noon eastern time. GO GREEN! -- Eric D. Zemper, PhD, MSU XC 1962-66, MSU Track 1963-67, MSU Track and Cross Country Alumni, MSU Finish Line Club
Spartan Cross Country in the News (Fall 2010)
Coaches Drenth and McGreevy with Michigan State's
2010 NCAA Great Lakes Region Champions!
Photo source: MSU Cross Country Home Page
Coach Dave Smith (MSU XC (1988-1992) led the Oklahoma State men to NCAA titles in 2009 and 2010. The Cowboys finished second to Wisconsin in 2011.
Photo source: OSU Cross Country Home Page
Web sites of interest
Michigan State University Cross Country Home Page
Spartan Women win 2010 Great Lakes Region
Spartan Women win 2010 Big Ten Championship
Spartan Women 6th at Pre-Nationals; Men 18th
MSU Finish Line Club Newsletters