WSC cross country teams look promising


Experience is the key word for the Wayne State cross country teams as they open the season Friday evening at the Augustana Twilight Invitational.

The Wayne State women have 11 women runners back from last year and six are back for the Wildcat men, giving coach Marlon Brink a good dose of optimism heading into the 2023 campaign.

“We have a good mix of upperclassmen and some newcomers who will quickly make the transition to competing in the NSIC,” commented Brink.  “I think they have been working hard this summer and are excited to get back to campus and start racing again.”

The men’s team is thin with only nine runners, but six are returning competitors led by Runner to Watch Titus Kiptoo, who was the team’s top runner in three of six meets last year.

“Titus was a solid number two for us last year and had a good track season where he showed some nice improvement, including placing fourth in the 10,000-meter run at the NSIC Outdoor Track Championships,” said Brink. “He is a seasoned competitor who has a lot of experience racing at a high level. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do as a leader on the team.”

Also back for the Wildcat men are Wakefield native Gabe Peitz and Abe Schroeder, both seniors; along with juniors Brandon Mitzel and Andrew Wylie and sophomore Quentin Dreyer.

New to the men’s roster this year are freshmen Brady Franzen, Wesley Jacobs and Carter Roth.

The women’s team is loaded with veteran talent that should make them a competitive lot this season.

“We have a good mix of both veteran runners and a nice group of freshman and sophomores who I think will be pushing for a spot in the top seven,” stated Brink. “There are several runners who on any given meet could be our number one through seven runners, which will help make everyone more competitive. Overall, that sets us up well for a team that should really be looking to improve on our overall finish from last year at the NSIC Championships.”

Senior Kelsey Larsen is the team’s Runner to Watch after leading the team at regionals last year.

“She followed that up with a breakthrough season on the track, where she broke the school record in the 1,000-meter run and also set new personal best marks in all of her other track events during the indoor and outdoor seasons. Kelsey has really developed into a very versatile mid-distance/distance runner for us, who should be on course for a great senior season,” Brink said.

Also back is the team’s top runner from last year, senior Alison Steinman, along with fellow seniors Kylia Pachta, Brooke Solomon and Faith Polacek.

Junior Lindsey Stuckey was bit by the injury bug last year but is back fro her junior year.

The men are preseason-picked ninth in the conference this year, while the women are picked to finish 12th. They host the Wildcat Classic on Friday, Sept. 22.