Aden Smith Claims Historic Victory, Cross Country Teams Finish Third at Roy Griak Invitational

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MINNEAPOLIS — Led by Aden Smith’s individual victory and Katie Osika’s sixth-place finish, Michigan State men’s and women’s cross country both collected third-place team finishes at the Roy Griak Invitational Friday morning.  

“Our teams did a fantastic job today. Our mindset, will, and team effort were on display,” said Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Lisa Breznau. “Our quest to the championship portion of the season is underway and we’re only getting better from here.” 

Smith, who continues his breakout season after finishing third at last week’s Spartan Invitational, ran a personal best of 24:13 over the 8k course for the win. In 19th place at the five-kilometer mark, Smith moved up 18 spots over the final three kilometers to notch a two-second victory over Cal Baptist’s Said Mechaal. He becomes the first Spartan in history to win the Roy Griak men’s individual title. 

Graduate student Abdi-Fetah Ahmed finished third for the Spartans in 24:16, while junior Andrew Nolan placed 15th in 24:48. Graduate student John Petruno also recorded a top-20 finish for the Spartans, running 24:40 for 19th place. Graduate student Fraser Wilson rounded out the top seven for Michigan State, clocking 25:01 for 37th place.  

Senior Joshua Smith made his season debut Friday morning, running 25:03 for 38th place. Juniors Owen Huard (41st, 25:05) and Alexander Penski (44th, 25:07) recorded top-50 finishes for the Spartans. Drew Seabase (55th, 25:15), Jack Pennewell (61st, 25:21), Jeremy Kloss (68th, 25:28), and Tyler Pritchett (90th, 25:46) rounded out the Spartans’ finishers. 

No. 7 Wisconsin finished first in the team standings on Friday with 39 points, followed by Cal Baptist (70) and No. 28 Michigan State (72).  

“From top to bottom, I thought the men had an outstanding race today,” said head men’s cross country coach Aaron Simoneau. “All twelve executed their race plans and did a great job of moving through the field as the race went on. Aden Smith earning his first collegiate win at an invitational this competitive is huge for him and this program.”

On the women’s side, Osika ran 21:00 over 6k to cross the finish line first for Michigan State. The Spartans put three runners in the top-20 alongside Osika, as junior Makenna Veen finished 14th in 21:14 and sophomore Kaitlyn Hynes ran 21:19 for 19th.  

Graduate student Grace Molloy (31st, 21:39) and senior Lauren Freeland (32nd, 21:41) rounded out the Spartans’ scoring, while junior Emily Bardwell (51st, 21:54) and sophomore Sophia Lucki (57th, 22:00) finished in Michigan State’s top seven. 

Katelyn Stewart-Barnett (67th, 22:10), Taylor Visscher (71st, 22:12), Eleanor Kendell (75th, 22:14), Fatima Giron (90th, 22:30), and Abigail Lee (123rd, 23:14) also finished for Michigan State. 

No. 19 Utah claimed the team title with 85 points, followed by No. 29 Cal Baptist with 95. No. 23 Michigan State scored 102 points for third, topping No. 14 Colorado State (fourth, 104), No. 25 Ohio State (fifth, 124), and No. 13 Wisconsin (sixth, 125). 

Aden Smith was phenomenal in his historic win. Katie Osika has been a consistent leader for our team in behavior and that obviously translated in today’s performance,” said Brezanu. “We couldn’t be prouder of our entire squad. Aden and Katie’s performances are a direct result of our team’s ‘team first’ mentality.” 

The Spartans take the next two weeks off from competing before traveling to Madison, Wis. for the Nuttycombe Invitational on Friday, Oct. 14. 

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