Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #31 Michigan State

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

Michigan State
Head Coach: Walt Drenth (8th Season)
2012 National Finish: 31st

Key Returners from 2012
  • Caleb Rhynard (So., 13:57)
  • David Madrigal (Jr., 14:02, 30:15)
  • Ben Carruthers (Jr., 14:19)
  • Alex Wilson (Jr., 8:25 open 3k, 14:15)
  • Impact Recruits/Transfers
    • Nathan Burnand (Fr., 4:16, 9:08)

Season Preview

An amazing Great Lakes Regional race allowed the Spartans to make their first trip as a team to NCAAs since 2009. After seemingly peaking at the regional meet and with some disappointing races Michigan State finished the 2012 season out in the same place they start the 2013 season – ranked #31st in the country.

With a last place finish at NCAAs at first it might be difficult to see how they would be making another appearance to nationals with only four members of the ’12 squad returning. But looks can be deceiving. 

Caleb Rhynard returns as the team leader coming off of an outstanding freshman campaign placing 158th individually at NCAAs and being the Spartan’s no. 1 runner. Also returning is Alex Wilson, who although had a poor showing in Louisville, was the no. 1 runner at the regional.

Leadership from departing seniors Josh McAlary and Ben Miller will be missed, but the wonderful outdoor season Rhynard had in ’13, he comes into this XC season as the team leader.  

Nathan Burnand is the lone impact recruit the Spartan’s have for 2012 (according to milesplit.com) and therefore will be depended on to make an impact on Michigan State’s traveling squad.

Other possible options of scoring members for Michigan State in 2013 are: Fr. Reed Payant (8:44 open 3k, 14:37) and Austin Wissler (3:48).

Another bid for a championships qualification is definitely doable with a depleted Wisconsin team and Indiana losing their 1-2 punch. If Rhynard can be the low-stick the Spartan’s so desperately need, this team will be back at the national meet in Terre Haute in November.

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