Marysville, MI – The Grace Christian University cross country teams got their first taste of competition this past Friday at the St. Clair County Community College "Skippers Invite". In the process, three individual Tigers punched their tickets to the NCCAA National Cross Country Championship meet in Joplin, MO this coming November.
"It was a brutally humid day for our first race," commented Grace head coach Gerry Verwey. "Overall we saw some good things. We just need to work on our will to compete even when we are tired and hurting. There are some weaknesses in that area for a few of our runners," added Verwey.
If the Tiger runners can learn to run together as a pack during their races, times are really going to drop and the individual Grace runners could position themselves for top 20 finishes at Nationals.
Freshman Maty Temrowski (Fenton, MI) qualified for the NCCAA National Cross Country Championships by running a solid 5k race, finishing in a time of 24:02. Temrowski started conservatively and continually made passes throughout the race.
Junior Kent Herring (Evart, MI) and freshman Jonathon Williams (Charlotte, MI) hit the automatic qualifying standard for the men’s 8k, finishing in 30:58 and 32:06, respectively. Herring looked strong from the gun, focusing on effort rather than pace and moved steadily through the field. Williams followed suit, showing strong focus throughout the race as he ran down a number of competitors during the middle miles as he earned his spot at Nationals.
The Grace cross country squads have an important week of practice ahead of them as they work to grow from Friday’s meet. The competition only gets tougher from here as the Tigers travel to Big Rapids this Saturday, September 10, to race against GLIAC competition (NCAA D2), toeing the line against Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Wayne State, Saginaw Valley State, Davenport, Lake Superior State, as well as the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Located at Katke Golf Course, the first race is scheduled to start at 9:30 AM.