Leah O’Connor

Women’s Cross Country Finishes Undefeated Season as NCAA Champions

The women of Michigan State cross country ended a perfect season today in Terre Haute, Indiana as NCAA Champions.

This is the first national championship win in program history, finishing with 85 total team points, 62 points less than runner-up Iowa State.

The win is not only monumental for the program, but also for MSU. It is the first team national championship since 2007 when hockey won the title. It is only the second national championship win for a women’s team in school history. Read More…

Cross Country on the Last Leg of the Season

Michigan State’s cross country team is down to the last leg of the season, literally (and no pun intended). The No. 1 ranked women and No. 17 ranked men ran last week in the Great Lakes Regional meet to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country National Championship this Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana.

While this is the race that it all comes down to, according to head coach Walt Drenth the teams have already met the outcomes they put forth in the beginning of the year. Read More…

Cross Country Runs a Straight Path to Nationals

Michigan State cross country carved a clear path to nationals this Friday at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The women placed first and men second in their races to receive automatic bids to the NCAA National Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Indiana next week.

The No.1 ranked women ran to a first-place finish in the 6K race with 28 total points. This is the team’s sixth regional title. Read More…

Athlete of the Week – Leah O’Connor

Two weeks ago at the Cross Country Big Ten Championship, Michigan State was not only able to claim the team title but also the individual champion, Leah O’Connor, as their own.

O’Connor has a history of success both on the cross country course and the track, and last week was named the Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year. She is also currently the 2014 national champion in steeplechase. Read More…

A Team Win in More Ways than One

The women’s cross country team can now mark the Big Ten Championship off their list as champions for the second year in a row. Not only that, but conference weekend is done and the Spartan women still claim the No. 1 spot in the nation.

The team not only claimed the overall champion, Leah O’Connor, as their own, but was also the only team to put all five scorers in the top 11. This put the Spartans at a score of 26, the third-lowest in Big Ten history and half of what second-place University of Wisconsin received at 55 points. Read More…

Cross Country Runs to Top of Big Ten Championship

Redshirt senior Leah O’Connor led Michigan State women’s cross country to its second straight and fourth Big Ten title in five years this weekend in Iowa City, Iowa. The Big Ten Championship was the first leg of the postseason competition for MSU.

The women came in first place with 26 total points and the team put four runners in the top ten, more than any other team. The score is the third-lowest in Big Ten history. Read More…

A Home-Grown Team: MSU Cross Country

To an outsider, a team’s success is most often seen in the numbers. A No. 1 national ranking, four invitational team wins and consistently placing multiple runners in the top-15 can weigh heavy in the books, but for the Michigan State University women’s cross country team, success in numbers is not the only reason to feel triumphant.

The state of Michigan is finding itself at the center of collegiate cross country, and is home to two nationally ranked top-five teams. MSU and the University of Michigan have danced around each other in the polls since the beginning of the year. Read More…

Cross Country Competes at Spartan Invite

Cross country is not a sport where each play can be planned out. The coach gets one shot to discuss the race plan, and from there it is all up to the athletes who rely on each other more than anything.

After a fast and intense race last week in Oregon, the Michigan State cross country team went in with a much different plan for the Spartan Invite on Friday, Sept. 12.

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Women Win Oregon’s Bill Dillinger Invite, Men Finish Second

The Michigan State cross country team started their season like they never had before, in Eugene, Ore.

Battling not only a nationally ranked team but also 90-degree temperatures, the Spartans found themselves up for the challenge.

The women took home first place in the five-team portion of the 6K event with top three individual finishers, while the men placed second behind Oregon in the 8K race.

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Cross Country Has Good Showing Oregon Bill Dillinger Meet

The Spartans competed at the ninth annual , Friday, Sept. 5 against a small batch of teams including: University of Oregon, University of Portland, Portland State and American University.

In the women’s 5K race, the Spartans came out on top, sweeping the top five with Rachele Schulist in first at 19:38 at a 5:16 mile pace, Leah O’Connor in second at 19:53 and 5:20 pace and Lindsay Clark in third at 20:11 and a 5:25 pace.

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Cross Country to Run against Oregon Same Weekend as Football

The No. 8 Michigan State Spartans’ Sept. 6 football matchup against the No. 3 Oregon Ducks has received plenty of hype over the past summer, but another MSU team will also be making the trip out to the University of Oregon.

On Friday Sept. 5, the Spartan runners will find themselves on Pre’s Trail (named after famed Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine) for the Bill Dellinger Invitational, running against some of the top runners on the west coast.

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Spartans Return from NCAA Outdoor Championship

In a sport like track and field, you win some and you lose some. In a place like Eugene, Ore., home of this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championship, it is hard to not go in with high expectations.

Michigan State track and field saw five of their top athletes take on the nation’s best this past week at the Outdoor Championship. Junior Leah O’Connor was the star of the week, with a well-planned first place finish in the 3,000m steeplechase on Friday. Since her last visit to Eugene for the 2013 Outdoor Championship, she has made it her goal to stand on the podium and take part in the “victory lap” tradition.

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Last Leg – #8 – 6/10/14

Alexa McCarthy, host of Last Leg, is back just in time for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship this week in Eugene, Oregon.

McCarthy runs through all five of MSU’s athletes who will be attending the Championship and talks with the women making their way to nationals: Leah O’Connor, Rachele Schulist and Tori Franklin. With them, she covers everything from motivational rituals, first time jitters and teammate bonding.

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And Then There Were Five

Michigan State track and field just got a lot smaller after this past weekend’s NCAA Eastern Regional meet in Jacksonville, Fla.

The team had five athletes place in the top 12 of their event to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Ore.

Qualifiers include Antonio James in the shot put and discus, Leah O’Connor in the 3,000m steeplechase, Tori Franklin in the triple jump and Rachele Schulist in the 5,000m. Kurt Schneider previously posted a qualifying mark in the decathlon.

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Spartans Head South and Think Straight before Regionals

Classes have been out for a month, but Michigan State track and field is still hard at work.

The team has been in Jacksonville, Fla. for the past week, preparing for the NCAA Eastern Regional meet that will take place this weekend.

Skilled thrower Antonio James does not put it lightly when asked what it takes to do well in this meet.

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Progress Made and Lessons Learned for Track and Field

The way head track and field head coach Walt Drenth sees it, having a presence is better than none at all.

The Spartans ended their weekend at the Big Ten Outdoor Championship with a total of 10 medals and lessons learned. The women finished sixth with a total of 85 points and the men finished 11th with 37.

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Track and Field Looking to Keep Their Momentum This Weekend

The school year may be quickly coming to a close, but Michigan State track and field athletes are just getting started.

For the third weekend in a row, the team will be splitting up competition in three different locations. The Spartans will be represented at the Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa), the GINA Relays (Hillsdale, Mich.) and Ashland University Alumni Open (Ashland, Ohio). Each location was picked specifically for certain events, in an effort to find the best competition in preparation for the Big Ten Outdoor Championship taking place May 16-18.
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Track and Field Sees Progress over the Weekend

Michigan State track and field head coach Walt Drenth has said that the sport does come with many surprises; it is all about waiting for a breakthrough.

This weekend, MSU track and field saw some of the breakthroughs they have been waiting for (and needing) since the indoor season.

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Track and Field Stays Home This Weekend for Spartan Invite

For most athletes, the “home court advantage” saying is tired and true. But for MSU track and field athletes, they only get one chance to reap the benefits of their own facilities.

This weekend, MSU’s track and field program welcomed close to 1,200 athletes at the Spartan Invite, with competition taking place at Munn Field, Jenison Field House and Ralph Young Field.

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Spartans Return from NCAA Indoor Championships

A little altitude never hurt anybody, right?

When it comes to running and competing altitude can definitely be a factor and something that six MSU track and field athletes had to face this past weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championship in Albuquerque, N.M.

By looking at their times and marks you would think that the athletes had an off weekend, but track and field is not about winning and losing. Rather this weekend was about handling adversities and spotlighting some things to work towards in the upcoming outdoor season.

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