GVSU men’s and women’s cross country sweep regionals, look ahead to nationals

Courtesy / Al Steible

Courtesy / Al Steible

D'Angelo Starks

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The Grand Valley State men’s and women’s cross country teams continued their dominant ways as they both took home NCAA Regional Championship victories on Saturday, Nov. 17.

This comes after both teams continued to dominate the GLIAC Conference Championships as the men have won 17 straight conference championships and the women have won 18 straight. The streak has now been extended to regional titles as well with the men winning 17 straight and women winning 18.

Neither team was faced with much competition when it came to final scores. The women’s team had a score of 26 they were followed by Hillsdale, Michigan Tech, Walsh and Saginaw Valley who scored 104, 116, 117 and 196, respectively. 

The men’s team finished with a score of 38 followed by Saginaw Valley, Walsh, Southern Indiana and Cedarville with scores of 92, 131, 147 and 184.

Head coach Jerry Baltes talked about what led to his teams securing victories, as the dominance of the cross country was because of multiple factors.

“I think sides executed race plans very well and I think that both our squads are set up to be challengers for the national championship in a couple weeks, I think we’re pretty darn good,” Baltes said. “We executed well from the get go, got out and established position and were able to settle in and run a controlled race for the entire time.” 

Sarah Berger was the most outstanding runner for the women’s team, as she finished first in the entire women’s field finishing the race with a time of 21:06.

Gina Patterson was not far behind and finished second with a time of 21:20.6. Allie Ludge finished in fourth at 21:39.9 and Madison Goen was the last of GVSU’s top ten finishers coming in at eighth 21:52.4. Hanna Groeber finished just outside of the top ten, placing 11th with a time of 22:07.9.

There are a lot of measures the cross country team will need to take to prepare for the upcoming national championship races.

“We will just be doing a little bit more fine tuning,” Baltes said.  “We have one more hard workout left to go and then we will get rested up and ready to go to Pittsburgh and compete.” 

Zach Panning was the top finisher on the men’s side for GVSU. Panning finished second with a time of 31:19.8. Enael Woldemichael finished right behind his teammate, coming in third with a time of 31:33.2. 

Tanner Chada was the third Laker in the top ten for the men, finishing sixth while running a 31:53.1. Two Lakers finished right outside of the top ten in Jacob Domagalski and Ben Zaremba with times of 32:14.0 and 32:14.3.

As the team prepares for the national championships in two weeks, Baltes divulged as to where the recipe of success for a title comes from.

“I think the most important thing is that we stay focused on us, race within ourselves and not try to do too much,” Baltes said. “If we’re just solid and race like we did at the conference meet and today then we will be right in the mix. We’ve got the fire power on both sides.” 

The Lakers will be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh as both of the teams look to secure national championship victories.