Update: Cross-country teams finish below Willie Randolph's expectations Friday in East Lansing



This story has been updated to correct inaccuracies 

Sophomore Kyle Stacks and junior Krista Parks recorded top finishes for the Central Michigan cross-country teams Friday for the second-straight weekend.

Stacks finished ninth (25:07) in the 8k for the men's team, followed closest by senior Jason Drudge (25:20), who finished 19th overall.

Parks led the way for the women, finishing the 6k in 21:55 – ranked 22nd overall at the annual Spartan Invitational.

“We have had two hard weeks of training, but I’m feeling the best I have since coming to CMU,” Drudge said.

Overall, the Chippewas did not contend as well as they did last week in Wisconson.

“We ran alright, slower than expected, but we didn’t have a bad finish,” Drudge said. “The course was difficult, with tough conditions, and we’re all feeling a bit tired from workouts.”

Director of cross-country Willie Randolph said his teams did not perform collectively in the manner he had imagined.

“These are tests that you must see through until the end (of the season),” Randolph said. “We ran OK, but it was not what we were expecting.”

Although CMU's trip to East Lansing did not go completely as planned, the team had a good feeling about the competition today.

“We felt relaxed; we had confidence; we had great work-outs, but what you end up doing at the race is a whole other ball game,” Randolph said.

Randolph said his teams are beginning to figure out their issues before reaching the more prominent competitions on their schedules.

“We definitely know we will have to take one step at a time,” Randolph said. “We must focus, and we have to put together the mind and body.”

Having only three top-25 finishes between both teams was not what Randolph had in mind, but there was good leadership among the upperclassmen and promise from the younger runners during the competition.

Drudge said he knows his role on the team is to act on his experience to help his teammates in every way possible.

“It’s huge, especially with upperclassmen," he said. "It’s important to run well with these guys and help everyone get along toward the end of the race."

On the other side of the spectrum, freshman Bailey Parmelee finished second among the women Chippewas.

“I’m excited," Parmelee said. "I didn’t know what to expect, and I ran the best that I could. I felt better than I thought I’d feel, and it felt good.”

Randolph and his team will continue their traditional routine as they get ready for more intense competition.

“We have strong plans for our workouts and our focus on working together,” Randolph said.

The cross-country team will compete again Saturday at the Northwood Open in Midland.


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