GVSU - Lakers Sweep GLIAC XC Championships
Provided by GVSU
MILFORD, Mich. - Grand Valley State cross country pulled off the sweep at the 2015 GLIAC Cross Country Championships, winning both the men's and women's races for the 14th year in a row. This makes 15 consecutive titles for the Laker women, and 14 straight for the men.
The women's team, entering the race ranked second in the Midwest and third in the country, narrowly edged out Hillsdale for the GLIAC title by the score of 30-37 in favor of the reigning champion Lakers on the 6k course. For the top-ranked men's team, the squad dominated the field to earn 24 points at the 8k course and a commanding victory over the next highest placing team, Malone with 101 points.
As she has for every race she has competed in this year, Gina Patterson finished as the highest-placing Laker runner with a second-place finish on the 6k course with a time of 21:18.8 to also earn her the GLIAC Women's Freshman of the Year Award for the highest-placing freshman at the meet. The true freshman was just 7.7 seconds off individual race winner Emily Oren of Hillsdale for first place and GLIAC Women's Athlete of the Year honors.
In her first race of the 2015 season, last year's NCAA Division II National Women's Athlete of the Year and individual national champion Kendra Foley followed Patterson with a third place finish in 21:25.9. Jordan Chester earned First Team All-GLIAC honors with a fifth-place finish in a time of 21:43.9, and Jessica Janecke made it four First Team All-GLIAC recipients with an eighth-place finish in a time of 21:52.4.
Three Lakers earned Second Team All-GLIAC honors in today's race. Junior Allison Work finished with a time of 22:31.8 to place 12th, sophomore Kelly Haubert ran the race in 22:36.2 to place 14th, and sophomore Jenna Klynstra placed 16th with a time of 22:38.4. Also finishing for Grand Valley State but not scoring any points were Amy Creutz (21st, 22:51.9), Rachel Bendewald (27th, 23:14.2), and Jordan Storer (41st, 23:36.5).
The Grand Valley State men were led to their 14th straight title by redshirt freshman Zach Panning. Named GLIAC Male Cross Country Athlete of the Week on October 6, Panning placed second with a time of 24:07.0 to earn GLIAC Men's Freshman of the Year honors. He was just 0.2 seconds behind James Ngandu of Tiffin in the race for first place and GLIAC Men's Athlete of the Year recognition.
Finishing behind Panning was last year's Freshman of the Year, Wuoi Mach. Mach finished this year's race in a time of 24:31.9 to place third. Chris May made it three Lakers in the top five with a fourth-place finish in 24:29.4, repeating on last year's fourth-place finish at the 2014 GLIC Championships.
Three other Lakers earned First Team All-GLIAC honors: Bryce Bradley, Brady Selner, and Chad Cini. Bradley placed seventh with a time of 24:46.9, Selner finished in eighth with a time of 24:47.4, and Cini placed eighth with a time of 24:48.0.
Mitch Wilkins placed 11th with a time of 24:58.8, earning him Second Team All-GLIAC honors. Trevor Sharnas placed 13th with a time of 25:00.5, but due to GLIAC rules only the top seven individuals from each team are eligible for All-GLIAC Awards, Sharnas could not earn Second Team All-GLIAC honors. Also finishing the race for GVSU were Kyle Flores (22nd, 25:13.7), and Kousei Yajima (23rd, 25:28.8).
In addition to cleaning up the Freshman of the Year Award for both the men and women, GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes was named the GLIAC Coach of the Year for both the men and the women. This marks his 12th men's coaching award, his 13th women's coaching award, and the eighth consecutive year in his career at Grand Valley State that Baltes has won both awards in the season.
With the GLIAC Championships behind them, Grand Valley State moves on to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Southern Indiana on November 7 in Evansville, Indiana.