The men’s and women’s nationally ranked Grand Rapids Community College cross country teams both punched their tickets to the national tournament after a runner-up finish at the MCCAA/NJCAA Region XII Championships on Saturday.
Lansing Community College, ranked No. 1 in both the women’s and men’s national poll, ran away with both victories, but GRCC finished well ahead of the third-place teams in each race. Southwestern Michigan College was third in the women’s race, and St. Clair County Community College in the men’s competition.
After a GRCC record-setting performance in her last meet, All-American Kaylee Scott led the No. 4-ranked women’s team with a time of 19:35, 25 seconds behind the winner Olivia Vanderway of Lansing. She was fourth overall out of 80 competitors.
Fellow All-American Audrey Meyering finished in eighth place with a time of 19:58. Rose Meyer was 11th overall with a time of 20:11. All three Raiders earned All-MCCAA and All-Region honors for their performances.
Women’s coach Sharon Becker said she is “satisfied with some solid performances and amazed and thrilled with some others performances!”
“Kaylee finishing in top five was super cool for her- she ran a great, steady, strong race today!” Becker said. “I’m so proud of Audrey and Rose for their strength, resilience and perseverance to power through to the very end. Today was a huge step to the progress we plan to pay off and finalize on Nov. 12!” Becker said. “The Raiders are not done yet. They have more to accomplish and look forward to the privilege and opportunity at the National Tournament in Florida!
GRCC’s men’s team, ranked No. 7 in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll, was led by the first time this season by 2021 All-American Coleman Clark, who ran the race in 26:35.
Freshman Mason Kolhoff ran 26:41 finishing in sixth place, while Andrew Periard and Dan Kehoe both broke 28 minutes finishing in a respective 17th and 18th place.
Clark and Kolhoff both earned All-Region and All-MCCAA honors, while Periard and Kehoe earned All-MCCAA honors with their performances.
Men’s team coach Rob Hyde said he is “super proud” of his team.
“Yes, we did not beat Lansing but it is the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, and we’ve gotten closer and closer to it,” Hyde said. “We broke up the top group like we’ve never had before and our guys coming behind them are getting closer and closer. My guys are bummed that the times are slow, but every single person in this race had a slower time. That’s cross country. We were ahead of teams by larger margins than ever before. So overall, we are still moving in the right direction with one more race to go.”
Both teams will have two weeks off to prepare for the National Championships, which will take place Nov. 12 in Tallahassee, Fla.