September 10, 2011

Bulldog Teams Run Well In Annual Home Invite

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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and women's cross country teams hosted the annual Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 10) at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids.

The meet included both collegiate women's and men's divisions along with high school boys and girls races.

Senior Tina Muir won the women's 5K race as Ferris State had four runners place among the top seven overall in the non-scoring competition. Muir clocked 17:50.38 in winning the 83-runner field.

The senior standout was followed by sophomore Samantha Johnson, who finished second (18:03.52) in the field.  Junior Anna Rudd came in sixth (18:35.27) and junior Alyssa Osika took seventh place (18:38.57).  Junior Shelby Janutol placed 16th (19:12.24) with junior Jordan McGuire finishing 18th (19:15.35) and sophomore Brittany Anderson coming in 19th (19:16.27) in leading the Bulldog women.

On the men's side, Hillsdale's Jacob Secor earned the victory with a time of 25:59.01 in the 8K field featuring 105 runners.

Junior Ryan Chute led the Bulldogs by coming in sixth overall (26:27.40). Freshman Andrew Harper was 15th (26:47.05), freshman Spencer Gerber took 19th place (27:05.28) and sophomore David Silversmith placed 33rd (27:24.55) for Ferris State. Junior Tyler Crossman finished 36th (27:29.43) with senior Steve Neshkoff taking 47th place (28:01.34) and freshman Blake Garver coming in 49th (28:05.46) in the front half of the pack for the Bulldogs.

In addition to Ferris State, the collegiate invitational field included a variety of student-athletes from other schools including Ferris, Davenport, Hillsdale, Lake Superior State, Grand Valley State, Northwood and Bellarmine (Ky.) in addition to unattached competitors.

Among the local high school teams competing were Big Rapids, Crossroads Charter Academy, Lake City and St. Louis.

Saturday's race gave collegiate participants a look at the regional site as FSU will also host the 2011 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Katke Golf Course.

The Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational was renamed last year in honor of former coach Ray Helsing, who guided the Bulldog cross country along with track and field programs from 1968-82.  Helsing was inducted into the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 and tutored more All-Americans than any coach in FSU history.  He helped produce 20 All-Americans in cross country and track from 1968-82 and was best known for founding and coaching Ferris cross country, leading his teams to a 77-17 dual meet mark and four Great Lakes Conference titles.

This year (2011) marked the 36th-straight (37th overall) running of the Bulldog Invitational and either a men's or women's collegiate event has been held each year since 1976.  Saturday's run was the 32nd consecutive women's race.

The Ferris State men's and women's cross country teams are guided by former Bulldog standout and current fourth-year head coach Steve Picucci. The Bulldog women were ranked seventh nationally in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Preseason National Rankings along with second in the Midwest Region while the men's team was listed 10th in the regional rankings.

The Bulldogs next will take part in the Michigan State Spartan Invitational on Friday (Sept. 16) in East Lansing, Mich.

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