GLIAC Runner of the Year leads on and off the course

Courtesy Photo /
Anthony Witt, pictured with teammates, was named GLIAC Mens Cross Country Athlete of the Year

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Anthony Witt, pictured with teammates, was named GLIAC Men’s Cross Country “Athlete of the Year”

To be to be able to run 120 miles a week, one must possess a superior work ethic and sheer determination, but for senior Anthony Witt, running that distance every week has become second nature.

After leading the Grand Valley State University men’s cross country team to its 10th-straight GLIAC Championship in Ashland, Ohio, this past weekend, Witt has put in the miles and was named the GLIAC Runner of the Year.

Even with Runner of the Year honors, Witt said he is not satisfied yet. H

is ultimate goal is to perform well in the Regional Tournament on Nov. 15 in Big Rapids, Mich., and then end the season with a national championship.

“Running is a sport where there are no shortcuts,” he said. “To have success, you have to put in the work, and I’ve been able to do that with my teammates, so that’s why we’ve seen the success.”

GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes said Witt brings several intangibles to the cross country program, but his biggest strengths are his work ethic, leadership and commitment to being great.

“Anthony can lead by either example in doing work, he is someone who trains anywhere from 120 to 125 miles a week,” he said. “That’s the highest on our team, so everyone looks up to that and understands that he is doing the work that it takes to get the job done.”

Baltes added that Witt is willing to lead vocally if needed by telling or asking teammates to do the right thing.

Witt began his running career in high school at Shakamak in Jasonville, Ind., when looking to get involved in activity outside of the norm.

“I’ve always wanted to find something to be different than most, so in high school the way to do that was through running rather than the mainstream sports of baseball and basketball, at least in my school,” he said. “That’s kind of when I developed a passion for it and met some interesting people, so that kept me going.”

Fellow teammate Tyler Emmorey said he recognizes that Witt brings a lot to the team in terms of athletic ability, but perhaps more importantly, Witt has an entertaining personality to which the entire team can relate.

“You think he is serious, but he’s always cracking jokes,” he said. “Still, he’s very passionate and he steps up when he needs to.”

Witt, a biomedical science major who has aspirations to go to medical school after he graduates, said his success this season is in large part due to the support and encouragement he receives from his teammates and the GVSU coaching staff.

“It’s been of culmination of four years in college and then four years high school, so eight years total, working up to this point,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay relatively healthy so you put all that together and luckily that has resulted in positive things.”

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