The Grand Rapids Community College cross country teams both placed second to open up conference play at the Kirtland Invite in Grayling on Friday, Sept. 24.
This was the Raiders’ first look at the conference competition this season. The top spot was taken by Lansing Community College, who has dominated the conference for the past 20 years.
“Of course I would like to beat Lansing, but they definitely have a very strong (team),” said women’s head coach Sharon Becker. “I would like to have our points not that far behind them. Even if we get second place, I think we can do a better job of getting closer to Lansing.”
Both teams’ goals are to keep decreasing LCC’s lead, and surpass them for first place by the end of the year.
“We handley defeated every other conference school, so really our eyes are set straight ahead on Lansing and trying to get closer each time and hopefully beat them before the year is over,” said men’s head coach Garret Lacy.
Freshman Coleman Clark has led the men’s team in every competition so far this season, and he continued his success when he placed first overall with a time of 26:30 in the men’s 8K at the Kirtland Invite.
“He was the overall winner Friday in the race, so as of now he is the top runner in the entire conference,” Lacy said. “…that really helps your team score if you can come away with one of your scorers being just a single point, and we’ll look to count on him to do that each and every conference meet, and I think he will.”
The women’s team was led by their top runner in each race so far this season, freshman Kaylee Scott, who placed sixth overall with a time of 20:54 in the women’s 6K.
Along with Scott, the women’s team also had contributions from redshirt-freshman Audrey Meyering who placed 10th with a time of 21:42, redshirt-freshman Elizabeth Meyering who placed 17th (22:12), and freshman Rose Meyer who placed 18th (22:25).
The men’s team saw contributions from redshirt-freshman Joshua Kipkoech who placed fifth (27:25), Brian Frazee who placed 14th (27:49), and Andrew Periard who placed 16th (28:03).
The challenging course was full of hills that the Raiders didn’t handle as well as the Stars, allowing LCC to dominate the competition, beating the men’s team 23-55 and the women’s team 25-68.
“It was quite the challenging course up there… I think Lansing handled it a little better than we did,” Lacy said.
The Raiders will look to improve their finishing times and overall positioning when they travel to Lansing to compete in the Lansing Stars invite on Friday, Oct. 1.
“It’s a good course, (and) we’re familiar with it,” Becker said. “… There will be a lot of other schools there than ours, so it’s actually going to be bigger and more people in that meet than our conference meet, so it’s going to give a good opportunity to the girls to really race against other people which will help them just get better.”