XC trains for another championship
Going into the 2012 cross country season, the possibility of a national championship was rarely discussed among the Grand Valley State University women’s cross country team. However, it ended the season on top, winning the national championship for the second time in three years. This year it plans to take the same approach as last season, hoping history will repeat itself.
“We aren’t really looking too far down the road right now,” sophomore Jess Janecke said. “We have another strong group this year. For us to accomplish all of our goals, we need to take the season step by step.”
The women’s cross country team only returns three seniors, but it welcomes a slew of incoming freshmen accompanied by a handful of redshirt freshman ready to take the course for the first time in college.
“Across the board we have a strong roster that should compete for Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships, as well as regional championships and so forth,” said head coach Jerry Baltes.
Winning a national championship will be an added challenge for the GVSU women as they now loom large in their competitors’ sights.
“We realize we have a huge target on our back now,” Janecke said. “The biggest thing is for us not to get nervous during our races. There’s a reason everyone will be gunning for us, we just have to remember that.”
Meanwhile, the GVSU men’s cross country team is coming off a seventh place finish at the national championships and is eager to return.
“I think many of the guys, if not all on our team, are going to look back at the national championships from a year ago and use that as motivation to put us in the same situation this year,” Baltes said. “We have the experience and mindset that will give GVSU the opportunity to get back to the national stage.”
The GVSU men will be led by a number of seniors, including USTFCCCA All-Region runners Josh Moskalewski and Brent Showerman. The Lakers also return with a group of experienced sophomores and juniors in their arsenal.
“We have put in a lot of hard work since we last raced last season,” said junior Allen Peterson. “We all have faith in the coaching staff that they can lead us to another regional championship and a chance at a national championship. It’s up to us to get the job done.”
The GVSU men also have a streak to maintain as they will be gunning for their 12th consecutive regional championship. As their streak has grown from year to year, the challenge of adding another regional championship to their belts only gets harder- but they’re determined to keep it going.
“We will continue to race the same way we have been in the past and that’s by running for one another,” Peterson said.