GVSU - 2015 Cross Country Preview
Provided by GVSU
Nick Kapatos - Sports Information Graduate Assistant
ALLENDALE, Mich. – The cross country season is underway and Grand Valley State is prepped and ready to go in the hunt for yet another national title.
The Laker women will look to win their fourth consecutive national championship this season and fifth in six seasons, while the Laker men look to capture the program's first ever title after finishing runner-up for the last two seasons.
The women's team brings back a strong roster packed with experience, highlighted by last year's individual national champion Kendra Foley. Foley, also named the USTFCCCA Division II National Women's Athlete of the Year, crossed the finish line first with a time of 21:05.8 at the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship EP Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky to become the first Laker individual national champion since 2005. The junior from Noblesville, Indiana was also named the 2014 GLIAC Women's Runner of the Year after placing first at the 2014 GLIAC Cross Country Championship with a time of 20:31.8.
Also returning for another tour of duty will be fellow All-Americans Jessica Janecke, Jordan Chester, and Amy Creutz. Janecke placed third at the National Championships behind Foley and graduated All-American Allyson Winchester with a time of 21:14.7 to go 1-2-3 at the national final for the first time since the USTFCCCA switched to a 6k championship format in 1998. Janecke was also named USTFCCCA All-Region for finishing third at the 2014 NCAA Division II Midwest Region Cross Country Championships with a time of 20:55.0 and was named All-GLIAC First Team for placing third at the 2014 GLIAC Cross Country Championships with a time of 20:44.5. Off the field, the senior from Scales Mound, Illinois was named the USTFCCCA Division II Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year.
A senior from Valparaiso, Indiana, Chester earned All-America honors by placing 34th with a time of 21:59.2) to help the Lakers capture their third straight national championship. Chester also received All-Midwest Region recognition after placing 10th at the Midwest Regional Championships with a time of 21:21.7 and was named All-GLIAC Second Team with an 11th place finish at the GLIAC Championships with a time of 12:16.0.
A junior out of Saline, Michigan, Creutz placed 37th with a time of 22:03.1 at the National Championships to give GVSU six All-Americans and power them to an easy victory in Kentucky. Creutz was also named All-Midwest Region after placing 19th at the 2014 Midwest Region Championships with a time of 21:32.8, and received All-GLIAC Second Team honors with a 19th finish at the 2014 GLIAC Championships with a time of 21:35.7. Adding in returning runners Kelly Haubert, Kaylie Rhynard, Alison Work, and Rachel Bendewald and a number of other contributors and incoming freshmen, GVSU looks to be the favorite to once again hoist the national title after the final race of the season.
On the men's side, the team looks just as strong with four out of five 2014 All-Americans returning to the this year's roster. Junior Bryce Bradley looks to lead GVSU into the 2015 season after placing 27th at the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship with a time of 31:21.7 to help the Lakers finish runner-up for the second consecutive year. The native of Chelsea, Michigan was also named USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region with a 12th-place finish at the Midwest Regional Championship and All-GLIAC First Team with a seventh-place finish at the GLIAC Championships.
Returning for his senior season will be Chad Cini. Originally from Northville, Michigan, Cini ran the National Championship in 31:27.3 to place 36th. Cini also earned All-Region plaudits by placing 10th with a time of 30:58.2 and an eighth-place finish at the 2014 GLIAC Championships in 24:13.7 to earn All-GLIAC First Team recognition.
Chris May also returns for another year on the course after finishing just behind Cini at the National Championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky, placing 37th with a time of 31:28.6. The Elmhurst, Illinois-native, who was also an All-Region selection in 2013, placed eighth at the 2014 NCAA Division II Midwest Region Cross Country Championship with a time of 30:51.3 and was named All-GLIAC First Team with a fourth-place finish at the 2014 GLIAC Cross Country Championship, helping the Laker men win both events.
Finally, Brady Selner rounds out the core of returning 2014 All-Americans for the Laker men. After arriving to GVSU from Division II powerhouse Adams State, the Green Bay, Wisconsin-native earned All-America status with a 39th-place finish as the Lakers place second in the National Championship for the second time in as many years, and ninth top five finish in the last ten years.
Add in 2014 GLIAC Freshman of the Year Wuoi Mach, All-Regional honoree and All-GLIAC Second Teamer Nate Orndorf, and All-Region selection Kyle Flores, plus a number of other talented runners and strong group of incoming freshmen, and this may prove to be the year GVSU men hoists their first championship trophy in program history.
With both team ranking first in the Midwest Regional rankings of the season released on September 1, and the women placing first and the men second in the Division II National rankings released on September 2, Grand Valley State stands to be strong favorites to repeat as champions and win their first title.
The Laker men and women kick off their season in East Lansing, Michigan on September 18 at the MSU Spartan Invite, hosted by Michigan State University.