GVSU Cross Country prepares for 2019 season with strong senior leadership

 COURTESY | NCAA.ORG

COURTESY | NCAA.ORG

Sean Cauvet, Staff Reporter

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Jerry Baltes, entering his 21st season as Head Coach at Grand Valley State, has won 62 GLIAC Coach of the Year Awards and groomed over 200 All-American athletes. He attributes his continued success and motivation to his competitive nature.

“I always tell all my athletes, if we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it well. I go into every year with the expectation and the hope to challenge for the National Championship,” Coach Baltes said. “We try to prepare our student athletes to be as good as they can possibly be, so I guess that is how I keep myself motivated and try to help our student athletes achieve their goals.”

Now that the GVSU Cross Country offseason is coming to a close, Coach Baltes is excited to get back into the swing of things.

“Our season is really a year-round season, but I’ve used this offseason to kind of take a breath and spend some time with the family,” Baltes said. “We’re pretty busy with recruiting and with helping Rachael Walters, Zach Panning and Sarah Berger prepare for the US Championships at the end of July. Our summer was short and quick but here we are ready for the new season to start.”

Colin Herrmann and Jacob Domagalski are runners that in Baltes’s eyes have grown and improved a lot over their four years at GVSU.

“They are both entering their fifth year in our program and have both made constant improvement,” Baltes said. “I have high expectations for both of them. Colin came back for his fifth year after a breakout performance last year. We see both of them as being factors for the team to reach our goals this year.”

Colin Herrmann picked up a second minor, which allowed him to return for one final season with the Men’s Cross Country Team. He was not highly recruited out of high school, but that didn’t stop him from having a successful career at GVSU.

“I think consistency has been the biggest thing for me,” Herrmann said. “Putting in the work for four years just knowing that eventually it will all come together was the key. Thankfully, this past year, everything came together for me.”

Herrmann and Domagalski started on the Cross Country team together as freshmen. Herrmann said that he has gotten close with his fellow running teammate over the last four years.

“I’m looking forward to an increased role as a senior leader on the team with Jacob,” Herrmann said. “We have been through a lot together and it is cool that we are both still here entering our fifth year and to see how much we’ve both improved and grown.”

Domagalski says that he will look to past seniors like recent graduate Zach Panning for footsteps to follow in.

“I’m really excited about the role I get to play for the team this year,” Domagalski said. “In previous years, we’ve always had those leader qualities coming from other people so I’m excited to take over that role now. Zach Panning had a great mentality in running but he also had the ability to make the connection to it being more than just running.”

The Men’s Cross Country team return to action on September 7 at the Knight Invitational in Grand Rapids, Michigan.