Louisville, KY – The Grace Christian University cross country teams traveled down to Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend to compete in one of the largest collegiate cross country meets in the country, the Greater Louisville Classic. The Tigers competed in the silver division races, which featured over 50 teams in both the men’s and women’s contests. Conditions were pleasant, with minimal humidity, a light breeze, temperatures in the low 70s, and a dry and fast course. Although the dust kicked up by the nearly 400 runners in each race was a challenge, numerous Tigers had big races that equaled the scope of the meet.
Grace head coach Gerry Verwey was pleased with the effort on the day but also noted there is still work to do. "Officially, every individual on both of our men’s and women’s teams has now qualified for Nationals, which is huge," noted Verwey. "I can’t recall us having a team before where every runner hit the individual qualifying time and we had runners who turned in their very best efforts today. With that said, it wasn’t our best team race yet. We still have some work to do with being mentally stronger in the middle of races and not being afraid to run faster in races. We will get there, but time is of the essence."
Freshman Collin Bishop (Rockford, MI) hit the individual qualifying time for the NCCAA National Championships by crossing the finish line in a time of 33:28. Bishop passed a net total of 14 runners during the course of the race to punch his ticket to Nationals and ran a 2 minute personal best time in the process.
Freshman Jonathon Williams (Charlotte, MI) ran a new personal best time of 31:42 for the men’s 8k race. He passed a net total of 26 runners in the last 6k of the race.
Junior Kent Herring (Evart, MI) led the Tigers across the line in a time of 31:02.
Senior Kendra Bonnema (Caledonia, MI) also hit the qualifying time for Nationals with a 5k effort of 24:23 on Saturday. This achievement comes almost a year to the day after an injury sidelined her season last year and represents a lot of patience and hard work to get back on the course this season.
Freshman Kierra Flegel (Kent City, MI) led the lady Tigers across the line in a time of 21:37, finishing in 162nd place out of 356 runners.
Freshman Maty Temrowski (Fenton, MI) passed 27 runners throughout the course of the race to end with a solid effort of 22:58.
The Tigers will now enjoy another off week from racing as they continue to train and strengthen their efforts in preparation for Nationals in Joplin, MO this November. They will return to racing action at Muskegon Community College on October 15. The MCC race will take place at University Park Golf Course, starting at 1 PM.