NEW BOSTON, Mich. (WLUC) – The Michigan Tech cross country squads started the postseason schedule Friday (Nov. 4) with a third-place finish from the men’s team as the women ran to a fourth-place finish at the GLIAC Championships at Willow Metropark in New Boston, Michigan.
The No. 20 nationally-ranked men scored 75 points en route to a bronze medal performance. The top-seven Huskies were among the top 31 finishers, with the scorers among the top 25. The duo of senior Clayton Sayen and Drew Kolodge were the low sticks for the Black & Gold placing fifth and sixth, respectively. The two earned First Team All-GLIAC for their efforts. Nick McKenzie was tabbed Second Team All-GLIAC with his 20th-place finish.
“Mixed individual results led to an overall result that was a little lower than we were aiming for overall,” assistant head coach Robert Young said. “Nick McKenzie continues his solid climb in performance, earning his first all-conference spot.”
The women of Michigan Tech, 27th in the most recent national poll, scored 138 points to earn the fourth-place finish. The scorers from the Black & Gold were within the top 35 finishers, rounded out by the top seven within the top 42 finishers. Senior Michelle Bollini earned Second Team All-GLIAC with her 23rd-place finish to lead the Huskies.
“We had a solid day with some mixed individual performances,” head coach Kristina Owen said. “Our women have come together as a team this year, and we’re super happy with how they work together out on the course.”
The women took to the races first on Friday, running conservatively from the gun. At the 2k split, the Huskies were in sixth place as a team, with seniors Sam Kurkowski and Bollini in 25th and 26th respectively. The top five were among the top 55 in the field, with Jesse Jacobusse (38th), Anabel Needham (45th) and Elsa Huckels (54th).
The Black & Gold continued progressing as the race continued, with the Huskies moving to fifth place in the team standings through 4k. All five runners in scoring positions moved up in the race, highlighted by Hannah Loughlin moving from 60th place to 45th.
Moving up another spot in the team race, in the final 2k, the Huskies progressed into fourth place, with the Second Team All-GLIAC performance by Bollini, pacing the course in 22:39.21 (23rd). Kurkowski was the second runner for the Huskies, placing 30th overall (23:01.80); with a breakout race, Loughlin ran to a 32nd-place finish (23:06.87). Jesse Jacobusse and Elsa Huckels rounded out the scoring placing 38th and 40th, respectively.
Anabel Needham and Ingrid Seagren were the sixth and seventh runners for the Black & Gold placing 40th and 42nd, respectively.
“I was pleased with Hannah Loughlin’s race. She had a breakout performance to finish as our third girl today,” Owen added. “The spread of our women’s team continues to close as the gap between our fifth and first scoring position gets closer and closer.
“That helps when someone has an off day, they’ve got a teammate right there to fill the gap.”
In the men’s 8k, Clayton Sayen and Drew Kolodge continued to compete at a high level, within the lead pack for the majority of the race. Kolodge was in the lead through 2k, while Sayen was back in 13th, just a second off the leaders. The Huskies were in third through the first split in the team standings.
“Our men opened pretty gutsily,” graduate assistant Dylan Gaines said. “They took some chances, and it was a great opportunity to play with strategy leading into regionals in two weeks.”
The Black & Gold shifted places as the race progressed but remained third in the team race.
At 6k, the race began to shake up as Kolodge and Sayen were fourth and ninth, respectively. The top-five for the Huskies were among the top 22 places, with Sam Lange (15th), Nick McKenzie (21st) and Stephen Loparo (22nd) being in scoring position for Michigan Tech.
Over the final 2k, Sayen would move up four spots to overtake Kolodge for fourth place at the finish, using his miler speed to close the last 2,000m in 4:50 mile pace and complete the course in 24:38.13. Kolodge was close behind in fifth place, running 24:38.27.
Nick McKenzie was the next runner-in for the Huskies, placing 20th overall in a time of 25:31.86. Loparo and Henry Snider stepped up in the final 2k to place fourth and fifth for Michigan Tech. Loparo crossed the finish line in 25:44.85 to take 26th in the race, with Snider close behind in 29th place, running 25:56.43.
Tucker Ringhand and Kyle Samluk rounded out the top seven, placing 31st and 36th, respectively.
“We’re looking forward to heading down to Parkside in two weeks for regionals,” Owen added. “That course has more hills and is a little tougher, which suits our running style. We’ll spend the next two weeks making sure the athletes feel great for that race, so we can hopefully clinch a spot for the national championships.”
The Huskies return to action on Saturday, November 19, competing in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships hosted by Wisconsin Parkside.