GVSU cross country teams place first, sixth at Louisville Classic

GVL / Courtesy - Alan Steible
Zach Panning (517)

GVL / Courtesy – Alan Steible Zach Panning (517)

Danny Schwartz

The Grand Valley State cross country team traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic Saturday, Oct. 1. The women participated in a 5K while the men took part in an 8K.

For the women’s side, GVSU placed sixth out of 36 teams, with a total time of 1:28:31 and a team average of 17:42:20. The University of Michigan placed first for the women with a total time of 1:25:12.

For the men’s side, GVSU placed first out of 33 teams with a total time of 2:01:34 and a team average of 24:18:99.

Those scores are especially impressive considering the field included many Division I teams.

Senior Kendra Foley came in first for the GVSU women, finishing ninth overall out of 235 runners and posting a time of 17:07. Sophomore Gina Patterson finished 52nd overall with a time of 17:44, while junior Kelly Haubert finished 54th overall with a time of 17:45.

“Throughout the day we had a lot of fun and tried to keep it in perspective because it was a huge field compared to the Spartan Invitational,” Haubert said. “We had to focus on getting out a lot harder and putting ourselves in a position to score points among hundreds of people.”

On the men’s side, GVSU sophomore Zach Panning came in first on the team, finishing fourth overall out of 213 runners and posting a time of 23:43. Senior Chris May came in second place for GVSU and ninth place overall, posting a time of 24:09.

“The focus of this race was really just using it as a dry-run for the national meet, because this is some of the best competition we’ll probably see until then,” May said. “Overall, we did pretty well as a group, but we still have things to work on.”

The GVSU men’s squad wants to see the amount of time between the first runner and the fifth runner decrease, and they’re looking forward to working on that as the season progresses.

Other notable scores for the men’s squad include junior Wuoi Mach, who finished 19th overall with a time of 24:28, as well as senior Nate Orndorf, who finished 21st overall with a time of 24:30.

GVSU coach Jerry Baltes said the team did a great job of keeping their noses to the grindstone, no matter what.

“We had a couple kids banged up and a couple of sick runners,” Baltes said. “Also, we had one runner step on a root and twist her ankle. While we had a lot of adversity during the day, I think for the most part we handled it well and got through it.”

GVSU’s next events will take place on back-to-back days. First, the Lakers head to Lansing to compete in the Lansing Community College Invitational Friday, Oct. 7. The following day, the Lakers travel to Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois for the Conference Crossover, which begins at 11:30 a.m.