Men, women see success at Spartan Invitational

GVL Archive
Head Coach Jerry Baltes watches his team

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Head Coach Jerry Baltes watches his team

Brady Fredericksen

Running in their second meet of the season, the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s cross country teams put together a strong showing at the Spartan Invitational on Friday.

With both teams coming off of successful seasons — the women won the Division II national title, and the men finished in third — the meet in East Lansing, Mich., was the first meet of the season for the entire set of runners on both sides.

“It was a great start for us, and they were eager to get racing,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes, referring to the men’s team. “We actually held out one of our top five guys, Ryan Toth, and we would have been a little bit stronger with him, but I think it’s a good start, and we know we have to focus and keep getting a little better.”

While the meet wasn’t scored, the men’s team put together a strong showing, led by seniors Anthony Witt and Tyler Emmorey. Witt finished with a time of 24 minutes and 30 seconds, and Emmorey finished right behind him at 24:34.

“It shows a great starting point for us as far as the rest of the season is concerned,” said Witt, who finished third. “There’s always a big question mark going into your first race as to how effective your training has been and where you’re going to be at time-wise. For us to go out and have the showing we had today is very positive going forward, but it also shows there is a lot of improvement still. But it’s a great start.”

In last weekend’s Bulldog Invitational at Ferris State University, both teams held out many of their top runners, resting them for Friday’s meet. With full rosters on both sides, the teams ran against Division I teams like Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University, and the Lakers put together strong showings on both sides.

“I think it helps to knock a Michigan State team off – it’s not every meet you get the opportunity to do that,” Baltes said. “It’s just great to have that competition, and it should help prepare us for late in the year.”

Also placing in the top 15 for the Laker men were juniors Stephen Fuelling and Jake Isaacson. Fuelling finished ninth with a time of 24:50, while Isaacson finished 14th, with a time of 24:57.

On the women’s side, the success was still there, but not as apparent and consistent as the men. Junior Monica Kinney, the 2010 GLIAC indoor mile champion, finished fourth with a time of 20:47.

The remaining Lakers fell short of their teammates’ success but still put together respectable races in the Division I-heavy field. Senior Julia Nowak finished 28th with a time of 21:47, while freshman Allyson Winchester ran a time of 21:51 for 29th.

“We’ve got some work to do,” Baltes said of his women’s team. “If you scored the meet, Ferris State would have beaten us, but it wasn’t an awful start, we just need to compete a little better and focus on not being complacent.”

Both teams will return to action at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 30.

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