LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's and women's cross country teams opened the 2019 season at the 2019 MSU Spartan Invitational Friday afternoon from Lansing, Michigan. The men's team secured a third-place finish, with Braden Reichl and Matt Pahl both finishing among the top 10.
An All-American during the previous cross country and outdoor track & field seasons, Reichl finished sixth with a time of 25:10.4, narrowly missing out on setting a new personal best in an 8K race. He was joined in the top 10 by Pahl, who also earned All-America honors during the track & field season. Pahl placed ninth with a time of 25:17.4, beating his previous personal-best time of 25:43.8 set during the 2016 GLIAC Championships.
Sophomore Clayton Sayen also put in a great performance in the season-opening race by placing 14th with a time of 25:27.2, smashing his previous personal-best time in an 8K race of 25:59.3. Senior Brendan Klynstra clocked in at 25:47.4 to finish 28th, and he was followed by junior Nathan Carey in 37th (25:56.7) in the top 50. Juniors Chase Scheel (61st, 26:27.2) and Robert Beggs (73rd, 26:36.9) also scored points for the Huskies, while sophomore Ben Passolt (93rd, 26:59.4) and junior Robbie Watling (100th, 27:04.3) raced for the Black and Gold.
The men's team netted 76 points to finish third, just four points behind defending national champions Grand Valley State and 55 points ahead of GLIAC rival Saginaw Valley State.
"Today was a really great day for the men," head coach Jake Isaacson said. "The focus and determination that we have kindled on the men's side early this season is alive and well, and we need to continue to stoke the flames."
Senior Emily Byrd clocked in as the highest-finishing Husky in the women's race with a 44th-place finish in a time of 23:00.9. Sophomore Sam Kurkowski crossed the line next for Tech in 53rd with a time of 23:17.3, and sophomore Gabrielle Feber clocked a time of 23:41.4 to take 74th. Freshman Lauren Konkol secured a finish of 90th with a time of 24:05.7, and senior captain Julia Manzano broke the tape at 24:26.6 to finish 114th.
Also running for Michigan Tech on the day was freshman Mady VanWieren (128th, 24:49.3), sophomore Michelle Bollini (131, 24:52.0), freshman Abby Martin (138th, 25:02.3), freshman Katelyn Feldpausch (147th, 25:05.9), senior Madisyn Estkowski (161st, 25:24.1), sophomore Theresa Passe (177th, 25:48.9), sophomore Zoe Reep (191st, 26:03.8), freshman Molly Greene (193rd, 26:05.7), freshman Jess Illg (237th, 27:38.3), and freshman Charlotte Wilkes (271st, 30:06.2).
"Our inexperience showed quite a bit during the toughest parts of the race," Isaacson said. "Individually we had some breakthroughs, but we need our whole crew together if we want to be our best."
The next competition for the Huskies will be the Roy Griak Invitational on September 28. Hosted by the University of Minnesota from the Les Bolstad Golf Course, the men will run first at 11:10 a.m. CST, followed by the women at 12:10 p.m. CST.