With hours of hard work and miles of training under their belts, the FSU men’s and women’s cross country teams travelled to Louisville, Ky. with a thirst to prove themselves in one of the biggest meets of the season.
The Bulldogs were presented with an opportunity to test themselves against several NCAA Division I schools at the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 1. Not allowing the level of competition to faze them, both the men’s and women’s team took second place finishes home with them.
“I was not only impressed with our guys and how much we’ve improved but also the girls and how well they did,” junior runner Ryan Chute said. “Ferris State cross-country is being put back on the map with great coaching, leadership and work ethic.”
FSU now has two Louisville Slugger baseball bats to show for their effort. The teams were awarded the bats by the meet sponsor as trophies. FSU head coach Steve Picucci plans to have his athletes sign the bats before displaying them.
The women’s team, which is currently ranked third in the NCAA Division II poll, placed second only to the University of Michigan in the women’s Gold division. FSU placed ahead of the University of Mississippi, Purdue and South Florida, respectively. In total, thirty teams competed against each other at the meet.
“I think everything just kind of came together really well on that day,” senior runner Tina Muir said. “We were able to show everyone that we deserve the recognition we’re getting right now.”
Four Bulldog women emerged within the top 50 runners from the field of 262 competitors. Muir finished second overall in the 5k women’s meet with a time of 16:59.01. Sophomore Samantha Johnson followed Muir for eighth place (17:13.83).
“Both teams have been working really hard. With our sport, hard work is not immediately rewarded, so they deserved this success,” Picucci said.
Junior Anna Rudd snagged 31st place with junior Alyssa Osika coming in 49th for the Bulldogs.
Similar to the women’s results, the men had four runners finish in the top 50 in a field of 285 runners.
Leading the Bulldogs in the 8k men’s Blue division race was Chute and junior Tyler Crossman. Chute finished in 12th place with Crossman right behind him finishing in 13th place.
“Having Tyler finish with me was awesome. He stepped up in a big way and we hugged after his finish because our team has been through a lot and we worked so hard to get where we are,” Chute said.
Freshman Andrew Harper finished 40th in 25:54.33 and freshman Spencer Gerber placed 50th with a time of 26:01.14.
Next up for FSU will be a road trip to University Park, Pa. to take part in the Penn State National meet Oct. 14.