By Sabrina Edwards
While there have been significant changes to cross country, the Grand Rapids Community College Raiders are taking it in stride. On Sept 4, the team traveled to the St. Clair County invitational to race, placing first overall in both men’s and women’s races.
Sophomore Kiah Becker won the women’s overall on Friday with a time of 20:46. The men’s overall was won by freshman Joshua Kipkoech with a time of 27:26.
The women’s team finished the meet with 34 points, nine ahead of the runner-ups. The men’s team had a landslide victory with a total of 30 points, 58 points ahead of the runner-ups, earning the men’s team the third trophy for the program in its seven-year history.
Also competing for GRCC’s men’s team was Jack Kehoe with a time of 29:08, Wilson Ishimwe at 29:25, Gabe Sanchez at 29:33, Andrew Periard at 29:42, Lance Jourdan at 30:10, Noah Peterson at 30:31, Devin Simon at 31:14, Ashton Brennen at 31:26, and Cesar Vargas at 34:26.
GRCC’s women’s team that competed were Audrey Meyering with a time of 21:54, Kathryn De Leeuw at 22:11, Carolanne Merlington at 22:12, Elizabeth Meyering at 22:17, Noelle Fink at 22:42, Allison Hoop at 22:47, Bree Bonnema at 23:41, Paige Bodine at 24:20, Angel Stewart at 24:26, Alex Webster at 24:26, Mariah Vos at 24:45, Jennifer Franz at 28:02, and Ely Horling at 28:59.
“The coaches were extremely proud of the selflessness of our runners on both teams – many of whom sacrificed their own personal goals to focus on encouraging their teammates and running in packs,” said GRCC’s Head Cross Country Coach Matt Sicilia. “We are excited to continue training hard in the coming weeks to set both teams up to earn a birth to Nationals for the first time in program history.”
In addition to their usual training, the GRCC runners have had to adjust to changes that were made due to COVID-19, including mandatory temperature checks, runners being sent in different waves, and a ban on spectators.
Another change was made to celebratory team dinners.
“One of the highlights of our season is being able to eat together as a team at a restaurant, but this year we will be ordering ahead and eating food on the bus,” said Sharon Becker, assistant coach.