Louisville, KY – The Grace Christian University Cross Country teams took on one of the largest cross country meets in the country on Saturday, competing in the Live in Louisville Cross Country Classic. The Tigers competed in the "silver" division races, which featured a total of 58 teams competing in the 84 degree sunny weather at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville.
Although the Tigers did not run their entire squad as they are trying to manage wear and tear through the season in preparation for the NCCAA National Championships in November, those who did compete were tasked to work on race strategy, specifically passing.
"We knew it was going to be hotter weather than we’re used to racing in lately, so we told our team to not focus on times but on passing," remarked Grace head coach Gerry Verwey following Saturday’s action. "Everything for us is about November 10th when we compete at Nationals. We have to realize that times don’t matter but that places do when it comes to cross country. We need to be ready to fight for positions at Nationals so that’s what I wanted the team to work on doing today."
The Tigers game plan was to pass as many competitors as possible after the first mile of their respective races. "Ultimately, if you’re making moves during the race, shifting gears and competing, then the time will take care of itself," added Verwey.
Highlights for the men’s side included junior Ben Bird (Allendale, MI), who advanced 37 places forward in the race between the 2.1k mark and the men’s 8k finish. On the women’s side, sophomore Maty Temrowski (Fenton, MI) gained 11 spots for the Tigers in the women’s 5k race.
The Tigers will be competing in their first ever NCCAA North/Midwest Regional Cross Country meet in Ankeny, Iowa on October 21. The NCCAA Cross Country National Championships will follow on November 10 in Warsaw, Indiana.