Michigan Tech Men tenth at cross country nationals

Sayen, Kolodge earn All-America honors
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 12:24 AM EST
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UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (WLUC) - The No. 18 nationally-ranked Michigan Tech men’s cross country team ran to a program-best finish placing 10th among the nation’s best at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships at the Chambers Creek Regional Park, on Friday morning.

Colorado School of Mines won the team race with an impressive 43 points, Wingate, in their second-ever Cross Country Championships earned the runner-up finish (177 points) with Colorado Christian rounding out the podium finishers (191 points).

The men of Michigan Tech earned a top-10 finish scoring 327 points, seven points shy of the eighth-place team in Charleston.

“I am so thrilled with how our men performed,” head coach Kristina Owen said. “This is a historic result for our program, and I am so proud of our men who gave it absolutely everything they had out there.”

“You could see the body language on our team was all positive and they were excited to race and be successful,” assistant head coach Robert Young said. “I thought coming into this race if everyone had their best race we would be a top-10 team and I’m very proud of their performances.”

The race was highlighted with two All-America performances, senior Clayton Sayen (30:13.7) and sophomore Drew Kolodge (30:21.8) placing 16th and 28th, respectively.

Sayen, a native of Houghton, had the best finish in Tech history with his 16th-place finish.

“I set a goal at the start of the season to be the highest individual finisher in school history and I’m proud to say I accomplished that today, Sayen said. “Also securing our team goal of a top 10 finish is awesome to experience with the guys. Sights set now to a successful track season.”

The duo stayed among the top-30 for the entirety of the race, completing the final 1k in times of 2:54.3 and 3:01.7, respectively.

“All-American was my long-term collegiate goal, and to do it in my second year is crazy,” said Drew Kolodge. “I knew I had a shot coming into the race, but nothing is guaranteed at the biggest stage in the nation.

“This whole season has been a mind-blowing experience being a frontrunner and a factor in every race. Couldn’t be happier with my season accomplishing all my goals: First Team All-GLIAC, top-10 in the region, and most importantly All-American”

Sophomore Sam Lange was among the best third runner among the teams in the field, just shy of earning All-America status with his 49th place, running 30:45.4.

Lange, a native of Washington, Illinois, ran a smart race, picking up 73 runners from the 2k mat to four-mile marker.

The fourth runner for the Huskies, Tucker Ringhand, moved up nine spots from the 4.6k mark to the finish line, clocking in at 31:43.8 and 139th place in his National Meet debut.

Junior Nick McKenzie stayed in relatively the same position through the entirety of the race, moving up seven spots in the final 1k and improving on his performance last year, finishing in 149th place (31:52.5).

Similar to most of the Huskies, Stephen Loparo in his first NCAA Cross Country Championships, moved up throughout the race to place 189th, running 32:23.3. Also making his NCAA Championship debut was Kyle Samluk, who ran a majority of the race with Laparo, finishing in 32:40.7 and 209th place.

The team’s average time was 30:59.5 with a spread of 1:38.8.