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GRCC Cross Country: Women’s team takes 11th, men finish 14th at Jayhawk Invite

The GRCC men's and women's cross country team pose for a photo at the Calvin Knight Invitational. (Photo by Zach Watkins)

By Zach Watkins – Sports Editor

The Grand Rapids Community College women’s cross country team totaled 285 points and took 11th place at the Jayhawk Invite on Oct. 10. The men finished 14th, with 341 points.

Lansing Community College took first in the women’s race, tallying 35 points, while Grand Valley State’s junior varsity took first in the men’s race with 20.

GRCC’s Jody Sellers took 62nd place with a time of 20:59.64. Ashley Laux finished 66th (21:10.22) and Alaina Wier 79th (21:51.78).

“The ladies previous two races, everyone ran a personal best,” Sicilia said. “To even have  four of them run personal bests was nice.

“Ashley’s closing the gap on our top runner, Jody. You want all of the top five to run together and continue to improve together. For her to only be ten seconds behind her, I was really impressed with that. We’ll see with these next two weeks of training if she can get better.

“Jody ran under 21 minutes for the first time this season, it’s encouraging for her. It was

Alaina Wier’s first time she ran under 22 minutes this season, for a new PR.

Alicia Geene finished 106th at 26:31.60, while

“Alicia had another personal best,” Sicilia said. “Every race she’s been knocking off minutes and seconds.

“She’s our bottom girl, and she’s been improving. We ran without Nikki Gewertz our normal number four, but Alicia and Maria Bosker really picked up the slack.”

The men’s top finisher was Brett Slayton in 72nd place at 28:33.94. Tyler Fisk finished 74th (28:37.16) and Rechy Rodriguez 105th (29:58.28).

“The challenge for the week was to not set limits on yourself, but to be more aggressive and get out a little bit faster and see what happens,” Sicilia said. “Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s scary.

“The guys did a great job of taking that challenge head on and a few guys had huge breakthrough races. Jarquell Mitchell was dealing with a sore knee, but ran 1:30 better than his previous personal record.”

Giancarlo Hernandez finished 120th, with a time of 31:08.04 and Brent Heintzelman took 130th (34:21.84).

“Giancarlo had a huge race,” Sicilia said. “He’d never broken 32 minutes before, but got down to 31.

“Brad’s typically been one of the bottom two, and was again, but he knocked off over two minutes of his personal best.”

With the season winding down, Sicilia is less focused on drastic improvements and more on sharpening skills.

“We’ve reached our peak as far as distance and intensity in workouts,” Sicilia said. “We’re going to maintain the distance some days, but drop the mileage on others. So instead, we’ll be having two harder workouts and they might in between have an easier run.

The process is called tapering. All of this is just preparing them to feel their best and run their best at the regional.”

The teams are at the MCCAA Championships and Region XII championships on Oct. 25.

We just want continued improvement,” Sicilia said. “It’s kind of the last race, so I’d like them to push themselves to the mental and physical limits.

“Our guy’s team has been pretty close to beating a team this year, but has finished last in every race. They’d be pretty excited if they did that.

“The ladies team ran at Lansing two weeks ago, and beat three teams. It’s the best they’ve done. If they can do that well again, and continue to breach their mental and physical limits, I’d be happy.”

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