The Grand Rapids Community College cross country teams had their first race at the Calvin Knight Invite over the holiday weekend with the men’s team placing 11th out of the 12 teams, and the women’s team placing ninth out of the 10 teams.
The Raiders were the only community college to compete in the Sept. 7 invite, going up against NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, and NAIA schools.
“It was an eye opening and humbling experience for them,” said men’s head coach Garret Lacy. “(It is) a way to kind of let them know how high the level of competition is at the collegiate level, and the work they will need to put in and continue to put in over the course of this year and even in future offseasons. They can be as good as the teams we went up against, but right now for them, it’s just learning how much you are going to have to work to compete against teams like that going forward.”
The top two runners for the Raiders included redshirt-freshman Kaylee Scott and redshirt-freshman Coleman Clark. Scott placed 40th place with a time of 24:32 in the women’s 6k while Clark placed 57th with a time of 26:48 in the men’s 8k.
Clark’s and Scott’s performance at the invite both gave them the honor of MCCAA Western Conference Runner of the Week.
“Despite being a freshman in her very first college race, Kaylee Scott raced like a seasoned veteran,” women’s head coach Sharon Becker said while reflecting on the race. “This was one of the largest fielded races that GRCC will participate (in.) Today was a great experience for Kaylee. She proved today that she is on the path to be able to compete alongside All-American Audrey Meyering as a top runner in the MCCAA Conference and the NJCAA Regional 12.”
Both coaches were able to learn a lot more about the teams. Even though they didn’t place high, they are confident about the rest of the season, and feel this was a great start.
“I thought it was a really good start for us,” Lacy said. “The guys have been putting in a ton of work over the first month of the season in practice… for the first meet I think it was one of the better starts that we have had during my time here at GRCC.”
Along with Clark, the men’s team also saw good performances in the 8k run from redshirt freshman Brian Frazee who had a time of 27:14 (77th), redshirt freshman Andrew Periard with a time of 27:47 (94th), and 2020 MCCAA Runner of the Year Joshua Kipkoech with a time of 28:14 (112th)
The 2020 MCCAA runner of the year, Audrey Meyering, started the season out strong by placing 60th overall for the women’s team with a time of 25:25 in the 6k run. Along with Meyering and Scott, the women’s team saw contributions from redshirt-freshman Elizabeth Meyering with a time of 26:10 (73rd), redshirt sophomore Allison Hoop with a time of 26:31 (78th), and freshman Rose Meyer 27:06 (84th).
Both teams will return to the Gainey Athletic Complex on Saturday, Sept. 17 to compete in the Knight-Raider Invite with the men starting at 9 a.m. and women starting at 10 a.m..
“We go back to the same course for the Knight-Raider invite, so we will be able to clearly see the improvements we made from first meet to second meet,” said Lacy. “It will be a cool opportunity to see how much better we can get over the next few weeks.”