Lakers score high at Penn State invitational

Jon Van Zytveld

The Lakers faced off against 21 of the top colleges in the nation at the Penn State National Invitational on Friday. The men ran a 5.2-mile course around Penn State’s golf course and placed second with 55 points, trailing only to host Penn State’s 47-point total.

The GVSU women ran a 6k, placing fifth with a score of 171 behind West Virginia University, the University of Connecticut, Penn State University and Duke University.

“It was really muddy and really sloppy, so the runners had to be really careful on the turns and the side hills,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “We had a couple kids go down. You just have to be a little more focused, careful and attentive, while making sure that you stay on your feet.”

Despite the weather, the GVSU men placed five runners in the top 20 in an invitational of nearly 200 runners.

Seniors Anthony Witt and Tyler Emmorey continued their streak of high finishes, placing fourth and fifth with times of 26:26 and 26:29, respectively.

GVSU sophomores Brent Showerman and Josh Joskalewski placed 16th and 20th, with times of 27 minutes, one second and 27:08, respectively.

“It was cool,” Showerman said. “Being second here in this program, kids sometimes don’t get that opportunity. It was fun, it was a good racing experience for me, and it was a tough competition, so I was pleased.”

Freshman Rachel Clark led the way for the Lakers, finishing 16th with a time of 21:55, while her twin sister Callie followed closely with a time of 22:08.

“We need to pack up and group together, making sure our packs are together and in front of people,” said senior Rebecca Winchester. “As long as we stay together, I think we can get in front of people and get the results we want.”

Winchester finished with a ranking of 40th at 22:39.

At the end of the invitational, the Lakers were the highest-ranked Division II team in attendance.

“I think that a lot of the girls just stayed tough, especially during the hard parts like the uphill sections and the mud,” Winchester said. “We came prepared to race and it was a good outcome.”

The Lakers run next at 11 a.m. Saturday at the GLIAC Cross Country Championships in Ashland, Ohio. However, before then, the team agrees that they have one main thing to work on.

“We need to close the gap for our top seven,” Showerman said. “We want to get a consistently smaller gap between our main guys, while working together as a whole. We hope to pack it up, run well together, and bring home the title.”