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      LSSU Cross country teams open season at MSU Invitational

      EAST LANSING - Sophomore Ben Deuling and freshman Casey Shafter were Lake Superior State's top finishers at the cross country team's season-opening meet hosted by Michigan State Friday.

      Deuling placed 50th in 25:55 to lead the Laker men. Taylor Heath was 125th in 27:06, followed by Anthony Silva, who was 181st in 27:59. LSSU's top five also included Ryan Rogers (197th) in 28:19 and Dan Bell (239th) in 29:38.

      Shafer was 135th in 24:51 to lead the Laker women. Jessica Allen placed 155th in 25:21, and Hannah Passino was 158th in 25:26. Rounding out LSSU's top five were Kelsey Lewis (191st) in 26:32 and Elizabeth Dachs (193rd) in 26:46.

      "This was an excellent first step for our men and women," LSSU cross country coach Grant Lofdahl said. "They were excited to get out and compete after a summer of solid training and a few weeks of early-season strength work, and they by and large took advantage of the opportunity presented to them. The competition at MSU was as good as we'll see during the entire season. The course was dry and fast, and the weather conditions were ideal."

      Host Michigan State claimed the top three spots in the men's race and top six positions in the women's race.

      "Casey Shafer was very impressive in her first collegiate race, and did a nice job of leading the women," Lofdahl said. "Jessica Allen had an excellent race as well -- this was her first time competing fully healthy in over a year, and she lowered her PR (personal record) by over a minute. For the men, Ben Deuling continues to progress and to gain an understanding of how good he can be. To set a new PR in the first meet of the season shows he's on course to do some big things this fall. True freshman Ryan Rogers and redshirt freshman Dan Bell both needed to step up with our men's team being a bit shorthanded on Friday, and they came through. It was the first race longer than 5K for both of them and they handled it well. Overall, I was very pleased with effort. We have a long way to go to get to our ultimate destination, but today was a big step in the right direction."