Last weekend, the Spartan men and women took to Grand Woods Park for some early morning cross-country action. In a seven-team invitational featuring the Spartans, Wolverines, Fighting Irish, Chippewas, Lakers, Rockets, and Ramblers, the Spartan men and women both showed out in a big way on the 5k course. Overall, the men finished second and the women took home first place honors as teams.
The men kicked off the day after a rousing National Anthem sung by our own Lucas Werner. After the whistle started the race, yells of “Go Green! Go White!” and “Club or Die!” sounded over the opening 100 meters from Spartan men clad in retro uniforms. Jacob Young paced the Spartans early, followed closely by Paul Salach and Lucas Werner. As the race spread out, it became apparent that the Wolverines and Spartans were the top two teams, with the Wolverines pack placing ahead of the Spartan Pack and winning the meet 19 points to 55 points. Race highlights included Ben Lambert good for 7th on the team, running 17:48, and freshman Jacob Broman running 18:04 and placing 9th on the team. The Spartan top five included three medalists: Young, 6th overall (16:32), Salach, 11th overall (16:44), and Werner, 12th overall (16:45). Fourth man Riley VanPelt finished just out of the medal race in 16th (16:53), and Wes Diener (17:15) was 27th overall as the fifth man.
After a short delay, the women took the course for a rousing race. The Spartan women, unranked by NIRCA, were looking to show those folks down at the University of Illinois that they were for real, and boy, did this team deliver. At the whistle, the women got out hard, evidenced by Erin Zimmer and Tarah Thompson being 2nd and 3rd respectively at 800 meters, positions they would not relinquish. A solid pack followed shortly thereafter, and held throughout the duration of the race. All in all, the Spartan women finished ahead of the 4th ranked Wolverines, 26 points to 50 points. The entire women’s top seven medaled, led by Zimmer (18:57) finishing 2nd overall. Zimmer was followed by Thompson (19:14) in 3rd, Charlotte Etienne (19:34) 5th, Amanda Montgomery (19:54) 7th, Erin O’Donnel (19:58) 9th, Nicole Mosteller (20:03) 10th, and Bailey Montgomery (20:29) 15th.
Overall, 64 Spartan men and women raced, leading to a first place finish for the women and second for the men. Congratulations to all who competed, and a big thank you to Ben Lambert, Natalie Whise, and Paul Salach, as well as the rest of the executive board, for putting on a wonderful race!