EAST LANSING, MICH. – The Spartan Cross County teams hold high hopes ahead of the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Friday morning on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, Wisconsin.
The men’s 8K championship race will kick off Friday’s festivities at 11:45 a.m. ET and the women’s 6K event will follow at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Entering Friday, the 2022 conference title-defending women’s team has been the highest ranked team on the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll all season, currently at No. 15, ahead of hosts Wisconsin (No. 22) and Ohio State (receiving votes). The men received votes in a fourth consecutive USTFCCCA poll on Oct. 17, sitting only behind Michigan (No. 19) and Wisconsin (No. 24).
The entire women’s lineup that won the Big Ten Championship last season is returning to Madison aims to defend that title, led by senior Katie Osika, a first-team all-conference finisher in second place overall in 2022’s edition of the race. Senior Makenna Veen was also a Second-Team All-Big Ten finisher in ninth place in Ann Arbor a year ago. The women have claimed the conference title three times in the last four years.
The men’s team will look to improve upon their fourth place finish at the 2022 Big Ten Championships with an experienced lineup with 10 of 12 runners being upperclassmen. The men’s side last won the conference title in 1971 and were last on the podium with a second place finish in 2017.