Cross country team completes first season

The Big Dance finally arrived.  All of the hard work and preparation over the last two and a half months was to prepare the Runnin’ Raiders for this day: the MCCAA Conference Championships & NJCAA Region-12 Championships.  The team was motivated to work extra hard in the middle of the race, when the mental side of racing haunts many runners.

The Lady Raiders got things started and got out strong the first mile.  Top runner Jody Sellers ran with true grit, positioning herself in 6th place at the half-mile and 14th at the mile.  The top 14 individuals are considered “All Conference,” so she set herself up perfectly to attain this honor.  About 15 seconds behind her, Ashley Laux and Alaina Wier were running within a few seconds of each other and looked in good position to move up.  The team was running with a purpose.

As the girls exited a mile-long stretch through the woods surround Grant Woods Park, each of the ladies had faded a little, but pushed up the final hill and down the slow decent to the finish with a look of determination in their eyes.  Sellers ended up in 23rd position, with a season-best time of 20:52, and was the 18th Michigan runner in the race (only 4 spots from All-Conference)!  Laux and Wier held their ground and came in 37th (21:50) and 41st (22:04), respectively, out of 73 total runners in the field.

Fourth runner Nikki Gewertz returned after a race off and stormed to a 40-second season best, only slightly bettering the improvements of 5th and 6th runners Maria Bosker (24:34; 21-second season best) and Alicia Geene (25:58; 33-second season best).  Overall  four of the six ladies ran season best times and showed great courage in getting out strong and continuing to push their limits in the middle and late stages of the race.  The Lady Raiders finished in 8th place of the 8 teams that fielded a full five or more runners, with 186 points, just ten behind Oakland CC.  The meet was won by host LCC with a score of 29.

After a warm-up jog and some enthusiastic cheering for the ladies, the men’s race got under way.  The men’s team had been working to beat a team at this race, as they had yet to defeat any teams this year.  That goal looked very attainable, as the team set itself up perfectly in the first mile.  Brett Slayton led the charge, running in about 25th place at the mile marker and about ten seconds behind him was a thing of beauty to a cross country coach: a pack of five Raider teammates (Rechy Rodriguez, Giancarlo Hernandez, Carlos Menjivar, Caleb Mounts and Jarquell Mitchell).  After stressing the importance of pack-running all season, these guys actually were executing it to perfection in the most important race of the year!

As the race progressed, the pack did break up, as Rechy and Caleb continued to push forward through the throng of 92 runners and the other faded slightly.  At the finish, Slayton finished in an impressive 31st place with a time of 28:39 – good enough for 23rd of all Michigan runners.  A little over a minute behind, the wing-men Rodriguez and Mounts finished strong in 52nd (30:03) and 55th (30:11; 1:00 PR!) places, respectively.  Hernandez ran a very gutsy race and finished only slightly off his PR in 74th place (31:32).  He was followed by Menjivar in 76th (31:53), Mitchell in 78th (32:13), Tyson DeWald in 88th (36:38; 1:01 PR!) and Brad Hentzelman in 89th (37:44).

Despite only two of the team’s eight runners setting personal record times, the display of pack-running was very impressive and the races by Mounts and DeWald both were personal records by a full minute.  The Raiders finished 8th of 11 schools that fielded a full team. Congrats on getting your first three victories of the season!  Somber attitudes from seeing the season end quickly changed to excited ones as the team vans rolled in Red Robin for the post-race meal.

The team is also very eager to enjoy a few weeks off of training before starting back up an off-season session that will include running at least 5 days a week for the next 10 months.  Team members will start at about 3-4 miles per run and work up to 8-15 mile runs by Spring, in preparation for several area track and road races.  Can’t wait to see what those Runnin’ Raiders will bring to the race course next year!!

GRCC In the News, 10-13-14

Grand Awards 2014: ‘Spamalot’ at Circle Theatre, ‘The Hatpin’ at GRCC lead awards

Oct. 12, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — From the volume of cheering at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Sunday night, one would have thought the 18th annual Grand Awards was handing out more money than the half million in prizes awarded at the same venue just two days before during the ArtPrize Awards.

… In the battle for most awards, it was a duel between swords and hatpins as Circle Theatre’s production of Spamalot and the Grand Rapids Community College production of The Hatpin each garnered five awards. Civic Theatre’s Les Miserables and Venus in Fur at Actors Theatre, each won four awards.

ArtPrize Awards 2014: Artists react to winning $20,000 in public vote

Oct. 11, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Robert Shangle was not expecting to win an award at ArtPrize 2014.

… Grand Rapids’ Gretchyn Lauer won best two-dimensional work for her oil painting “Outcry,” a close-up portrait of a weeping teenage girl, located in DeVos Place. Marc Sijan, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, won the three-dimensional prize for his Grand Rapids Art Museum work, a lifelike resin sculpture titled Reciprocity, depicting a man carrying his elderly father on his back.

(This article does not mention it, but Gretchyn Lauer is a GRCC student.)

Grand Valley State, Lansing CC flourish at Muskegon Community College’s Jayhawk Cross Country Invitational

Oct. 10, 2014; MLive

MUSKEGON, MI — Collegiate athletes from across Michigan converged on the University Park Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 10 for Muskegon Community College’s Jayhawk Cross Country Invitational.

… Rounding out the field was Lake Superior State (118), Macomb College (167), Mott Community College (225), Muskegon Community College (250), Indian Hills Community College (254), Hope (262), St. Clair College (267), Jackson (293), Adrian (307), Alpena Community College (328) and Grand Rapids Community College (341).

… In the women’s race, Lansing CC (39) took the overall win, Calvin College (53) finished second and Lake Superior State (140) came in third. The rest of team scoring included St. Clair College (148), Hope (153), Macomb College (154), Cleary University (156), MCC (184), Mott CC (201), Sault College (213) and GRCC (285).


GRCC In the News, 9-8-14

Guest column: GRCC is here to stay as it reaches its 100th birthday, president says

Sept. 6, 2014; MLive

Grand Rapids Community College is marking a momentous occasion this fall: its 100th birthday! As president, it is an honor and humbling to serve at the helm of the college during this amazing milestone. Founded in 1914 as Grand Rapids Junior College, there were 49 students enrolled. This past year, GRCC served more than 33,000 students.

(Guest column by President Ender.)

Change Ups: Cooley Law student earns Great Deeds Award

Sept. 5, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal


… Grand Rapids Community College has announced the recipients of its 2014 Excellence in Education Awards: Faculty Award, Tom Neils, chemistry professor in the physical sciences department; Adjunct Award: Mary Beth O’Rourke, adjunct instructor, physical sciences department; and Staff Award, Mary Kay Bethune, customer service manager in the financial aid office.

Recession’s End ‘A Bad Thing’ for GRCC

Sept. 5, 2014; WOOD Radio

While the big Universities report enrollment increases this year, the Community Colleges are losing students.

GRCC says that’s because the Recession is over, more people have secure jobs, and no longer need re-training.

Men’s Cross Country to Race in Titan Invitational

Sept. 5, 2014; EMU Eagles (Eastern Michigan University athletics department website)

YPSILANTI, Mich. ( — Eastern Michigan University’s men’s cross country team is set to run in its second meet of the 2014 campaign after opening up the season with a win at the Toledo Home Opener, Aug. 29. This week, the Green and White will stay close to home to compete in the 28th Annual Running Fit-Detroit Titan Cross Country Invitational, Sept. 6 in Northville, Mich.

… Fifteen teams will headline the men’s race, including: Bucknell, Concordia, Detroit, EMU, Grand Rapids Community College, Lawrence Tech, Macomb Community College, Madonna, Marygrove, Michigan-Dearborn, Northwood, Oakland, Rochester, Schoolcraft, and Wayne State. Last year, Martin Nelkie won the overall title in 20:44 and led the Titans to a team victory with 37 points. Nelkie has since graduated, but Detroit returns eight runners from last season’s roster.

GRCC In the News, 8-25-14

Tom Rademacher: Happy 100th birthday to GRCC, the ‘Little College That Could’

Aug. 24, 2014; MLive

Happy 100th Birthday to Grand Rapids Community College, which I have reason to celebrate in the name of Foosball, T.S. Eliot, Dave Clark, back handsprings, Emerson & Thoreau, countless laps in the pool, nictitating membranes, the people at 7-Up, and a certain girl named Nicki with whom I spent quality time on the roof of the Main Building.

GRCC toasts area’s philanthropic spirit as it turns 100

Aug. 22, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal

As Grand Rapids Community College celebrates its 100th birthday, staff and students are participating in service projects to give back to the community.

College & charter school students head back to class

Aug. 25, 2014; FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While the majority of public school students have one more week of summer vacation to savor, most colleges and charter school students will be heading to class Monday.

… Grand Rapids Community College is celebrating 100 years with a new partnership and new sports teams.

Declining demographic, better economy impact enrollment

Aug. 22, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Students are beginning to take their seats as college classes kick off for the fall semester, but enrollment may face challenges in the future.

… Tina Hoxie, dean of student affairs at Grand Rapids Community College, noting that Kent County’s unemployment rate is lower than the state average, said declining enrollment also can be blamed on the improving economy.

5 tips to relieve back-to-school stress from Grand Rapids native, magazine publisher

Aug. 25, 2014; MLive

WEST MICHIGAN — As parents and children prepare for the upcoming school year, magazine publisher and Grand Rapids native Debra Gano shared five tips to help relieve back-to-school anxiety.

… Gano, a Forest Hills Northern High School graduate, is the publisher and founding editor of the international self-esteem magazine, Be Your Own You, for young girls. Before joining BYOU magazine, the former actress and model taught in the fashion merchandise department at Grand Rapids Community College and was a former freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press. She now lives in Denver, Co.

Tinkerers gathering in Grand Rapids

Aug. 22, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal

A collection of creative thinkers, tinkerers and makers will come together Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

… Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire was organized by GR Makers, The Geek Group, Grand Rapids Community College, Genesis Inc. and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Greenwich Village Art Fair Scheduled for September

Aug. 25, 2014; WIFR

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — The 66th Greenwich Village Art Fair takes place Sept. 1314, rain or shine, on the grounds of Rockford Art Museum at Riverfront Museum Park, 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois. Gates are open 10 a.m.6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.5 p.m. Sunday. Admission at the gate is $5 for adults, free for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets are $3 and are available at Alpine Bank location and RAM Store. All proceeds support Rockford Art Museum programs throughout the year.

… More than 150 artists from across the nation will exhibit at this year’s fair. Types of artwork represented include paintings, jewelry, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles, photography, wood, mixed media and more. Artists compete for awards on the first day of the fair, where their work will be viewed by 2014 Judge Juan Fernandez, a working artist based in the Chicago suburbs and photography professor at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan who previously taught at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Striking gold with Silver Line? Grand Rapids bets $40 million on state’s first bus rapid transit system

Aug. 24, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — From the second-floor of The Rapid’s headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids, Conrad Venema looks out at U.S. 131 cutting through the heart of the city.

… The Silver Line equates to roughly $3.5 million to $4 million per mile of investment, Venema said. Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market, Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids Community College and many more housing developments and eateries lie on the route’s northern end and the hope is that the growth spreads southward.

One-time Ohio State redshirts look for big role on offense

Aug. 24, 2014; The Lantern (Ohio State University’s student newspaper)

A typical highly-touted college football recruit hopes to see the field as soon as they arrive on campus, but that doesn’t always happen.

… While Wilson is entering his true sophomore season, the other three players Meyer singled out all redshirted last year. Marshall is a redshirt-freshman, (Corey) Smith is a redshirt-junior after transferring from Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan before last season and Thomas is a redshirt-sophomore who played as a true freshman in 2012 before sitting out last year.

GRCC In the News, 7-22-14

GRCC approves increased salary schedule for campus police

July 21, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The salary schedule for Grand Rapids Community College police officers will climb by 2 percent in the 2014-15 fiscal year, under a new contract approved Monday by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Matt Sicilia to lead new Grand Rapids Community College cross country teams

July 21, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Matt Sicilia, a former assistant coach at Calvin Christian High School, has been named coach of the new cross country program at Grand Rapids Community College.

GRCC In the News, 4-15-14

Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra names new music director

April 14, 2014; Petoskey News

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra board of trustees announced the selection of Libor Ondras, Ph.D., as the new Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra music director.
…A viola recitalist, Ondras serves as music director of the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra and orchestra director at the Grand Rapids Community College.

Brann’s Steakhouse CEO’s folksy memoir serves up tales of 4 decades in Michigan restaurant business

April 15, 2014; MLive

At age 19, Tommy Brann became the youngest restaurant owner in Michigan.
…His philanthropic efforts range from creating a scholarship for African-American hospitality students at Grand Rapids Community College, donating $15,000 for the Veterans Park in Grand Rapids and purchasing helmets for the Wyoming Police Department.

Local athletes compete at collegiate level

April 15, 2014; Cadillac News

Aquinas College freshman Aaron Hodges (Cadillac H.S.) hit the “B standard” for the NCAA Championships in the pole vault as he took fifth place with a leap of 15-feet, 5-inches at the Don Klienow Track & Field Invitational Saturday at Siena Heights.
…Davenport University freshman Cayman Gatt (Pine River H.S.) had three hits in the Panthers’ 7-2 JV softball win over Grand Rapids Community College on April 7. She added two hits in Davenport’s 4-2 Game 2 win.

Muskegon Community College sports recap: Jayhawk softball extends win streak to 3 games

April 14, 2014; MLive

MUSKEGON, MI The Muskegon Community College softball team got off to a slow start this season, but appears to be turning things around.
…MCC swept Grand Rapids Community College 11-0 and 13-0 on April 11.