Men’s, women’s teams cruise to GLIAC cross-country titles

GVL / Archive
Senior Stephen Fuelling (88) competes in a race earlier this season.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Senior Stephen Fuelling (88) competes in a race earlier this season.

Bryce Derouin

The Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s cross-country teams weren’t only racing for themselves when they competed for the GLIAC Championships in Midland, Mich., but also for the alumni who helped develop the cross-country program into the powerhouse that it is.

GVSU upheld their strong cross-country GLIAC tradition as the women captured its 13th-straight GLIAC title with a team score of 25 and the men secured its 11th-consecutive GLIAC conference title with a team score of 29.

“It’s definitely nice to keep the streak alive for all the alums and this group did their part,” said head coach Jerry Baltes, who was named both men’s and women’s GLIAC Coach of the Year. “It’s very exciting for both teams to keep that going.”

The Lakers managed to finish one-two in both the men’s and women’s division. Sophomore Allyson Winschester won the Women’s Varsity 6K, coming in with a time of 20 minutes, 48.8 seconds.
Freshman Jessica Janecke was right behind her, timing in with a time of 20:50.2. The women held four of the top six spots including sophomore Hannah Osborn who finished fifth in 21:19.6 and junior Courtney Brewis finished sixth with a time of 21:24.8.

“I felt we competed pretty well on both sides,” Baltes said. “Late in the race we just really buckled down and finished strong.”

On the men’s side, senior Stephen Fuelling was victorious in the Men’s Varsity 8K with a time of 24:22.0 and sophomore Alan Peterson came away in second place in 24:28.2 seconds. Junior Brent Showerman came across in seventh in 24:35.9, and senior Jake Isaacson came in ninth in 24:40.1, while redshirt freshman Joe Duff rounded out the top 10 with a time of 24:41.7.

“Being a senior, it’s really about keeping the tradition going,” Fuelling said, who was also named Men’s GLIAC Cross Country Athlete of the Year. “It means a lot to continue the legacy and it feels great to be a part of that tradition.”

One key factor that has been vital to GVSU’s success is the team chemistry. The Lakers have made each other better by pushing one another in practice.

“It’s very important,” Winchester said, who was also named Women’s GLIAC Cross Country Athlete of the Year. “When we’re close with each other we encourage each other to stay up to a teammate and it definitely pushes each other and makes us better as a team.

The Lakers will put another impressive streak on the line when they will attempt to defend their NCAA Regional Championships in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The women have won the past 11 NCAA Division II Midwest/Great Lakes Regional Championships, while the men have been victorious the last 10 Regional Championships.

“We talked about how this is the first step in the process and we just gotta stay focused on staying healthy and hopefully getting a little bit better each week now and getting ready to compete at the regional meet and eventually the NCAA Championships,” Baltes said.

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