GV on pace to win eighth-straight

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
President Haas holds up the Directors Cup as athletes celebrate behind him. GVSU has seven Directors Cups.

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills President Haas holds up the Director’s Cup as athletes celebrate behind him. GVSU has seven Director’s Cups.

Zach Sepanik

With seven consecutive Directors’ Cup victories and two national championships in December, Grand Valley State University holds a commanding lead in the quest to capture its eighth-straight Directors’ Cup as the best varsity sports program in NCAA Division II.

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed in a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 14 sports, seven in men’s and seven in women’s.

The Lakers have 411 points after the successful fall sports slate, 147 points ahead of second-place Shippensburg University. Women’s cross-country and women’s soccer led the way with their respective national championship victories, and women’s volleyball, men’s cross-country and football also finished in the top ten in Division II.

The 147-point spread is the largest difference GVSU has held after the fall season since 2005. GVSU has already set a DII record with seven straight Directors’ Cups.

GVSU athletic director Tim Selgo has led the Lakers athletic program for the last 15 years and has been at the helm for the seven straight Directors’ Cups. He said a strong focus on GVSU’s student athletes helps the programs succeed.

“From an administration standpoint, it starts with making sure (the student-athletes) have the right coach for the program,” he said. “I want us to be the best we can be at all sports. We don’t talk about Directors’ Cups. Our goal is to try to stay focused to help our student athletes and teams reach their full potential.”

GVSU head cross-country coach Jerry Baltes, now in his 12th year at GVSU, said he is glad his teams are helping GVSU’s run at another Directors’ Cup.

“We had our highest place finish for both sides as our women won a national championship and our men finished third,” he said. “The results will speak for themselves and produce positive results. That is what we focus on, and it is only because we have good people in our program over the years that work hard that we have been able to win a national championship.”

Red-shirt freshman Danielle Tepper, an alternate for the varsity cross-country team this fall, witnessed the camaraderie formed within the team as its members pushed one another daily.

“Throughout the fall we became more of a team,” she said. “For example, instead of finding comfort in running with certain groups of teammates, everyone pushed each other from the front to the back. We are as strong as ever as we head into track season, and we are ready to hit it with the same intensity as this past fall. We just have to keep our focus because of the long season.”

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