By Anthony Clark Jr.
With no shortage of intensity and grit while competing in each scheduled event, the Grand Rapids Community College athletic programs won the MCCAA Charlie Chanter All-Sports Award for the 2019-20 seasons.
GRCC President Bill Pink noted that winning the award “is a reflection of the strength and hard work of our students and coaches across the program.”
After the former Michigan Community College Athletic Association Executive Secretary, Charlier Canter, died in 2019, the award was renamed to pay homage. Canter served from 1954-2008 and impacted not only GRCC’s education and athletic programs, but community colleges throughout Michigan.
GRCC Athletic Director Bill Firn declined to comment on his program’s success, and instead referred questions to Dave Murray, GRCC Communications Director.
“The All-Sports Award highlights the opportunities for students looking to be part of a top program while gaining an excellent education,” said Murray, in an email to The Collegiate. “Our college has had legendary coaches, like Charlie Chanter. We’re proud of that. And we have some coaches guiding our teams now who are legends in the making.”
The women’s volleyball team went on a tear in the 2019 season as they took home the MCCAA and National Junior College Athletic Association Western Conference volleyball titles, and finished fifth in the NJCAA National Tournament. The team was led by sophomore Danielle Johnston who was named Second Team NJCAA All-American, and a handful of other Raiders.
Men’s basketball freshman guard Darien Banks earned an MCCAA All-Conference Honorable Mention for his leadership and success on the floor. The team fell short of a district championship in the NJCAA District semi-finals. Banks commented on how it feels to be part of the award and what he hopes to achieve next season.
“It feels really good knowing that I helped to contribute to the school’s success… I hope our team can bring a state championship next season,” said Banks.
Freshman golfer Tyler Hausserman was named to the Division II Central team by the Golf Coaches Association of America and received PING All-Team Honors. Hausserman was ninth in the region, and reflected on his contribution to the athletic programs.
“The last season we had was unfortunately cut short but successful nonetheless,” said Hausserman. “I love the team we have… we get along great and are always having fun. I believe that’s why we had so much success.”
Women’s basketball fell short in the NJCAA District semi-finals, but had an impressive season nevertheless. The team was led by sophomore Bethany Chick (All-Region, All-MCCAA, First-Team All-Conference), sophomore Kendall Griffioen (MCCAA West Defensive Player of the Year, Third-Team All-Conference), freshman Danielle Lamancusa (MCCA West All-Freshman Team, Third-Team All-Conference), and contributions from a handful of other Raiders.
Men’s and women’s cross country teams were also participants in the NJCAA Division I National Championships, as a handful of Raiders received region and conference awards. Mathew Converse (All-Freshman Team), Will Westveer, and Jack Kehoe of the men’s team received All-Region. Kiah Becker (All-Freshman Team) and Diana Candela of the women’s team also received All-Region honors.
This short list of accolades and awards were far from the only accomplishments the Raiders achieved, and the all-around effort and persistence of the athletic programs did not go unnoticed.
More information on GRCC Athletics can be found on their homepage.