GVSU - Women's Cross Country Preview

GVSU - Women's Cross Country Preview

Provided by GVSU

ALLENDALE, Mich. - The Grand Valley State women's cross country team, coming off a third-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship, will look to keep one of the more dominating streaks in the country going this fall.

The women's team has won 11 straight NCAA Division II Midwest/Great Lakes Regional Championships and have finished in the top five at the NCAA Division II National Championship in the last 11 years, as well. The last time GVSU finished outside the top three at the national championship meet, this year's college seniors were in middle school.

The undisputed leader of the 2012 squad will be the lone senior on the team and two-time cross country All-American Monica Kinney (Walker, Mich./West Catholic). Kinney finished 21st at the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship with a time of 22:04.5 on the 6k course and finished second at the GLIAC Championship with a time of 21:38.89, also on a 6k course. At last year's Notre Dame Invite, a 5k event, Kinney was the highest Division II finisher and second overall with a time of 17:45.

A pair of juniors will look to make the move in to the top group of runners for the Lakers as Kelcie Severson (Rockford, Mich.) and Molly Slavens (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) hope to make their mark. Both student-athletes have gotten valuable experience over the last couple years, but have not often ran in scored meets or with the top seven.

Severson, who has a best 6k cross country time of 24:45, finished 44th at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships last season with a time of 19:53.46. She was named GLIAC All-Academic along with Slavens. Slavens saw a little more action in 2011, finishing 20th at the Bulldog Invite in the opening meet of the season with a time of 19:24.15. She finished 49th at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championship with a time of 19:56.37 and finished the Spartan Invite with a 6k-best time of 22:43.

A group of sophomores will also look to continue their high level of success from the 2011 season. Jordan Chester (Valparaiso, Ind./Boone Grove), Hannah Osborn (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran), Madie Rodts (Niles, Mich.) and Allyson Winchester (Wayland, Mich./Middleville) all contributed last year, with Chester and Winchester both running in the regional and national championship races, respectively.

Chester was an all-region selection last year after finishing 23rd at the Midwest Regional Championship with a time of 22:57.8 on the 6k course. She also earned All-GLIAC honors after placing 13th at the GLIAC Championships with a time of 22:59.86. Her best 6k time came while running unattached at the Spartan Invite, when she finished in a time of 22:19.

Osborn had her best finish of the year at the GLIAC Championship, when she came in 20th with a time of 23:30.72. Her best 6k time of 22:19 came at the Spartan Invite, where she finished 50th among a heavy dose of Division I competition.

Rodts had her highlight of the 2011 season at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championship, when she was the top GVSU finisher, crossing the line in eighth place with a time of 18:53.72 on the 5k course. She finished 17th at the Bulldog Invite with a time of 19:14.59 and posted her best 6k time at the Spartan Invite, when she posted a mark of 22:34.

Winchester was one of the best true freshmen in the country last season, earning All-American honors after finishing 19th at the NCAA Division II National Championship with a time of 21:57.0 as she was the second Laker to cross the finish line at the meet. Her best 6k time also came at the Spartan Invite, which she ran unattached, posting a time of 21:51.

One of this season's surprising true freshmen could be Alison Work (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview), who enters the program with a best 5k cross country time of 18:42.

GVSU will begin the 2012 season on September 8th at 10 a.m. when they take part in the Knight Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Lakers will also compete at the Spartan Invitational on September 14th (East Lansing, Mich.), the Greater Louisville Classic on September 29th (Louisville, Ky.) and the Michigan Intercollegiate Championship on October 5th (Grand Rapids, Mich.). The GLIAC Championships will take place on October 20th, being hosted by Northwood in Midland, Mich. The 2012 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship will be on November 3rd in Kenosha, Wis. and the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship will kick off on November 17th in Joplin, Mo.