Lakers run away with 10th, 11th GLIAC Championships

Courtesy Photo/
The Mens cross country team races towards the finish during the GLIAC Championships in Ashland, Ohio on Saturday.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo/ The Men’s cross country team races towards the finish during the GLIAC Championships in Ashland, Ohio on Saturday.

Melanie Huhn

Muddy waters couldn’t stop the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s cross country teams from dominating the competition and winning GLIAC titles at the GLIAC Championships meet Saturday in Ashland, Ohio at the Brookside Golf Course.

The men ran an 8K course, placing first with a score of 17 points while barely missing out on a complete “sweep” after finishing four runners in the top five. Senior Anthony Witt ran to an individual title with a time of 25 minutes and 24.34 seconds, which earned him the honor of GLIAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

“It’s very humbling because I’m surrounded by teammates that are just as deserving,” Witt said. “We will be quick to leave honors from this meet behind while moving on to the next step.”

The GVSU women finished with seven runners in the top 10 for a notable 21 points, bettering second place Ferris State University’s score of 57 points. Freshman Rachel Clark earned a second place finish with a 6K time of 21:38.89.

Despite the sloppy course, both GVSU teams were prepared for tough competition and adverse conditions.

“Both squads were able to get out and establish good position early on in the race,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “We were in control pretty much the entire race but it was not easy. The course was very soft and muddy which made it a challenge. Our athletes were tough and competed well together to get the job done.”

On Saturday, the women captured an 11th-consecutive championship while the men captured a 10th-consecutive with both teams ousting nationally-ranked Ferris State University for the titles.

“We ran with great focus and intensity and we all know how great of an accomplishment it is to win the GLIACs,” said senior Rebecca Winchester. “We are all just honored to be a part of the string of championships.”

Winchester finished fifth with a time of 22:08.22.

While winning is what every coach wants, Baltes is proud of the team’s tenacity and willing to compete amongst great competition.

“What I am really proud of is how we came and competed,” Baltes said. “Our ladies really did a great job of racing with intensity and focus and that carried over to the men’s race and the open races. We will need to have that in our next two races to accomplish the goals we set out for at the beginning of the year.”

The Lakers will have two weeks of preparation before they race in the NCAA Midwest Regional, which will be hosted in Big Rapids, Mich., Nov. 5.

“We just need to stay focused on getting a little better these next few weeks and be ready to compete at a high level when the gun goes off on at Regionals,” Baltes said.

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