The men’s cross-country team battled its way through the second meet of the season at Friday’s Spartan Invitational.
The team’s strong front pack earned the Chippewas three spots in the top-10 with sophomore Nate Ghena, red-shirted freshman Spencer Nousain, and junior Ethan Lievense sweeping fifth through seventh places.
“Overall, I thought we executed the race plan pretty well,” said head coach Matt Kaczor. “They went from about 45th place at the first mile to moving up to fifth, sixth and seventh. Those guys were patient and methodically went up the race, just like I wanted.”
Ghena ran an 8K personal best of 24:58 to ensure his fifth place, and Nousain and Lieviense finished at 25:01 and 25:07, respectively.
Kaczor hopes to include their true freshman, Sean Kelly, at the upcoming Roy Griack meet in Minneapolis, Minn. on Sept. 28.
“Once we start adding in the rest of the pieces, we should be very competitive,” Kaczor said.
Junior Tanner Pesonen and red-shirted freshman Casey Voisin brought up the second pack, taking 20th and 21st place within five seconds of each other.
“I’ll have to tinker with that second pack,” Kaczor said.
Eastern Michigan, CMU’s rival in the Mid-American Conference, competed Friday at the Mel Brodt Invitational.
“Looking at the other teams in the MAC and how they did, it’s going to take some serious work for a conference title,” Kaczor said. “But nothing matters until Nov. 2.”
The women delivered an outstanding performance at the Spartan Invitational at MSU.
“This was the best opener we’ve had in a few years,” Kaczor said. “We opened up almost everyone except Breanne (Lesnar).”
Lead runner senior Krista Parks turned out another strong performance, coming in 8th place with a 6K time of 21:32. Sophomore Kelly Schubert finished not far behind, separated from Parks by Michigan State’s Alexa Rumsey, coming in 10th place with a 21:47 time. Still, Kelly’s time was good enough for a 30-second personal best in a 6K.
Junior Abbey Kelto came in third for the team, finishing 18th with a time of 22:14, and Alyssa Dyer finished in 19th with a 22:39.
“Our 1-3 was really solid,” Kaczor said. “Alyssa (Dyer) dropped off a bit, but Abby (Kelto), a transfer from MSU, helped Alyssa move up.”
Esther Bell, a redshirted freshman, and Jacquee Overbeek, finished in 24th and 28th, respectively.
“Our 1-6 look really good. We just need our 7-10 to move up and to get closer,” Kaczor said. “When we open up Breanne, we need her to be up with Krista and Kelly. Then it’ll be a dogfight come conference.”