TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Michigan State women's cross country raced to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Saturday afternoon.
No. 5 Michigan State tallied 209 points for the sixth-place finish. No. 1 Arkansas (96 points), No. 3 BYU (102 points), No. 2 Stanford (123 points), No. 7 New Mexico (168 points) and No. 6 NC State (190 points) rounded out the top five teams.
Four of the five scoring runners placed in the top-50 to bring Michigan State to its best-team finish since capturing the NCAA Championship in 2014. The sixth-place finish was an improvement from last season's 11th ending.
"I think we were really good from start to finish," Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Walt Drenth said. "From the beginning of the year the goals have been high, their expectations of each other have been high. I just thought we were great today. I thought the women were really good; I thought Morgan was really good. We didn't hit on all seven cylinders in the women's race, but you have that happen. You just have to be the best version of us on that day, and I thought we were."
Seniors Jeralyn Poe and Annie Fuller led the Spartans on the course, earning All-American accolades with 32nd and 34th place finishes, respectively. In her last season, Poe completed her goal of becoming an All-American as she was the first Spartan across the line, clocking in at 20:40.3.
Fuller turned in a time of 20:42.4, on her way to her second-consecutive season with All-American honors.
Sophomore Jenna Magness was the next Spartan across the line, traversing the course in 20:54.6 for 46th place. Senior Lynsie Gram was close behind Magness, placing 49th with a time of 20:56.4. Junior Sarah Kettel (121st – 21:24.0) rounded out the scoring for the Spartans at the NCAA Championships. Maggie Farrell (21:29.7) and India Johnson (22:45.1) closed out the MSU runners in the final race of the season.
"I felt like we raced as best as we could today; when the gun went off, they were all in and they were making hard decisions," Drenth said.
No. 5 Michigan State concludes a dominant 2019 cross country season that included capturing a Big Ten Championship and racing to a Great Lakes Region title. This was the 19th-consecutive NCAA Championships appearance for the Spartan women.
Junior Morgan Beadlescomb competed in the men's 10k race as an individual and placed 23rd to earn All-American accolades.
Beadlescomb navigated the muddy course and cold temperatures in 31:10.9 to cap off his successful junior campaign that included All-Big Ten and All-Region honors.
Members of the Spartan men's and women's cross country teams that did not compete made the trip to Terre Haute to support the women and Beadlescomb.
"I think that having people out here is important; it's a good sign of the health of the program that they like each other to get out here and know it makes a difference," Drenth said. "I think that support is huge. I'm proud of those kids, and I think the kids that were here watching, most of them are digesting this for the idea next year they can come back here as participants."
UP NEXT: The Spartans will get back to work to prepare for the indoor track season. Michigan State track and field will begin the 2019-20 season on Friday, Dec. 6 at the GVSU Early Bird Meet.