GVSU - Lakers Dominate in Midwest Region Championship Sweep
Provided by GVSU
Nick Kapatos - Sports Information Graduate Assistant
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Grand Valley State men's and women's cross country teams are once again the top teams in the region after sweeping the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championships on Saturday. The women's team wins their 15th straight regional championship, while this makes it 14 consecutive titles won for the men's team.
The Laker women placed five runners inside the top 20 to earn 45 points, edging out Hillsdale with 63 points to win their 15th consecutive Midwest Regional title. Ranked number on in the Midwest as well as in Division II, this year's GVSU squad saw six runners earn USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region honors by placing inside the Top 25.
As she has all year long, Gina Patterson completed the 6k course as the top finisher for GVSU. The true freshman and GLIAC Women's Freshman of the Year placed second with a time of 20:24.58, just 5.1 seconds behind overall race winner Emily Oren of Hillsdale. Finishing next for Grand Valley State was Kendra Foley, coming in sixth with a time of 20:42.28. The individual national champion from last season was followed by Jessica Janecke in eighth with a time of 20:58.88, giving the Lakers three runners inside the Top 10.
Jordan Chester crossed the line at 21:16.62 to place 12th, and the senior was followed by Amy Creutz in 17th with a time of 21:32.06, making it five Lakers to score points inside the Top 20 as well as earn All-Region honors. Kelly Haubert also earned regional plaudits with a finish of 21:41.79 to place 22nd, and Jenna Klynstra also finished strong with a time of 22:11.04 to place 38th.
The top six teams will advance to the National Championships in Joplin, Missouri from the women's competition. Joining GVSU will be Hillsdale (2nd, 63 pts.), Lewis (T-3rd, 150 pts.), Northern Michigan (T-3rd, 150 pts.), Southern Indiana (5th, 161 pts.), and Wisconsin-Parkside (6th, 204 pts.). The three highest-finishing women's runners who did not run on a qualifying team will advance as individuals. The individual runners from the Midwest Region will be Hannah Campbell of Malone (9th, 21:03.21), Flannery Musk of Bellarmine (13th, 21:22.77), and Carolina Hampton of Trevecca Nazarene (15th, 21:31.23).
Also ranked first in the region and the country entering today's race, the GVSU men registered 43 points in today's race to win them their 14th straight regional championship. Like their teammates on the women's side, six male GVSU runners earned USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region honors by placing inside the Top 25.
For the fifth time this season, Zach Panning finished as the highest-placing Laker in the race, completing the 10k course in a time of 31:02.31 to take fifth. Joining the GLIAC Men's Freshman of the Year inside the Top 10 for the Lakers was Chris May in sixth with a time of 31:02.56 and Wuoi Mach in seventh with a time of 31:02.64.
Kyle Flores completed the course in 31:16.83 to place 12th, and he was followed close behind by Trevor Sharnas in 13th with a time of 31:18.51 to make it five Lakers inside the Top 15. Brady Selner made it six GVSU men's runners to earn regional honors by placing 15th with a time of 31:30.49, and Mitch Wilkins ran hard to place 32nd with a time of 31:50.05.
On the men's side of competition, the top five teams will head to the National Championships. Southern Indiana (2nd, 122 pts.), Wisconsin-Parkside (3rd, 126 pts.), Malone (4th, 166 pts.), and Walsh (5th, 212 pts.) will all be joining Grand Valley State in Missouri. As it is for the women, the three highest-finishing runners who did not run on a qualifying team will be advancing as individuals. Representing the Midwest Region as individual runners will be Benjamin Tuttle of Cedarville (1st, 30:34.37), Alex Cushman of Indianapolis (2nd, 30:40.23), and Chris Striegel of Bellarmine (4th, 30:56.27).
With the Regional Championships now concluded, head coach Jerry Baltes and the Laker runners will now set their focus on the NCAA Division II National Championships on November 21 in Joplin, Missouri. Grand Valley State will be looking for their fourth straight national championship on the women's side, while the men's team will be gunning for the program's first national title after back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2014.