GVSU cross country teams claim GLIAC Championship

GVL / Courtesy - GLIAC

GVL / Courtesy - GLIAC

D'Angelo Starks

The Grand Valley State men’s and women’s cross country teams turned in a dominant performance this past weekend at the GLIAC Championship Saturday, Oct. 21. 

Both teams finished with the best score and took home the GLIAC Championship. The women’s team finished with 17 points, which was by far the best score as the second-place Northern Michigan University team finished the event with 62 points. On the men’s side, it was a very similar story as the team finished first with 20 points and the second-place team, Saginaw Valley State, finished with 76 points. 

The individual results show just how big this performance was for the Lakers. For the women, GVSU had seven of the top 10 finishers, including the top four overall for the women’s side in the 6K. Those top four finishers were Gina Patterson, Stacey Metzger, Allie Ludge and Madison Goen. The other top-10 finishers for the Lakers were Kelly Haubert, Megan Caltagirone and Rachel Bendewald. Times for GVSU runners were as follows: Patterson (21:47.3), Metzger (21:47.9), Ludge (21:52.6), Goen (21:53.9), Haubert (22:05.8), Caltagirone (22:10.3) and Bendewald (22:15.7).

Patterson, the first-place finisher for the women, talked about how the team’s performance helps build confidence heading into regionals. 

“The GLIAC has always been known as a good conference,” she said. “I think being able to have our top seven in the top 10 is a blessing. It gives us the confidence that we are a deep team overall and that it could have been any one of us crossing the line first today. So, I think that gives us courage and confidence going into regionals and nationals.”

On the men’s side of the tournament, GVSU also had seven top-10 finishers for the men, the only difference being they did not have the top overall finisher in the 8K. The seven top finishers for the Lakers fell in the second-place-to-eighth-place range. 

These runners were Wuoi Mach, Enael Woldemichael, Zach Panning, Abe Visser, Brady Selner, Josh Steible and Trevor Sharnas. The times for the runners were as follows: Mach (24:40.4), Woldemichael (24:51.9), Panning (24:52.5), Visser (25:08.2), Selner (25:13.0), Steible (25:16.4) and Sharnas (25:19.3). 

Senior Selner talked about how this performance helps the team moving forward in the season. 

“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” he said. “It’s the first step of a three-race process, and there’s nothing better than being able to run with teammates that you trained with and spend a lot of your time with. It just makes racing a lot of fun because you’re running alongside your best friends.”

GVSU cross country coach Jerry Baltes talked about what stood out to him in Saturday’s performance. 

“We did a good job of packing it up and rolling together in a group, helping each other out throughout the whole race,” Baltes said. “The last 1,000 to 2,000 meters they got after it and spread out a little bit. I’d say what we did best was working together as a team.”

Baltes talked about his expectations for his team heading into the regional tournament. 

“We always have three goals for the regional championship,” he said. “First and foremost is to qualify for the NCAA Championships and move on. Second, run it as controlled as possible, in doing so to hopefully come out healthy and ready to get back to one last good week of training. Third, hopefully compete to win. That’s what our focus is going in.” 

The Lakers will face a short break before the NCAA Regional Championships, which take place Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. in Cedarville, Ohio.