What was different about this year’s team was how quickly they achieved the standard. "In my time coaching at Grace, I can’t recall a team, men or women, hitting the team standard in the first meet," stated Grace head coach Gerry Verwey. "Usually we have to take a couple shots at it during the season, finding our stride by the later meets in the year." For NCCAA division II schools, the team qualifying standard is achieved when the top 5 cumulative time is 2:05:00. The Tigers cumulative time was 1:58:42 at Friday’s meet.
Pack running was also a key to Grace’s success on Friday. Overall, Grace’s women finished 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th, and 47th in team scoring. In cross country, the lowest score wins and is determined by adding together the finishing places of the top 5 runners. Pack running helps ensure other teams don’t put runners between your team’s runners and helps keep your score lower.
"Watch out for this year’s team," added Coach Verwey. "If we can stay healthy and be the best possible teammates by only uplifting each other, we are going to make some noise this year."
Junior Alyssa Gennety (Jackson, MI) and sophomore Maty Temrowski (Fenton, MI) led the way for the Tigers on Friday, finishing in 22:59 and 23:04, respectively. Senior Lucy Nusbaum (Holland, MI), junior Julia Schultz (Traverse City, MI), and freshman Kristina Brandenburg (Twin Lake, MI) rounded out scoring for Grace.
Although the men’s team was not able to have any qualifying times due to the race only being a 5k (qualifying men’s times need to be for an 8k distance), the meet still served as a good "rust buster" for the guys as they had a rare chance to race a 5k off of the track. Junior Kent Herring (Evart, MI) led the way for the Tigers, finishing in 18:24.
The cross country teams will be back in action this coming Saturday, September 9th at Northwood University. The races will begin at 10 AM with the women’s 5k, followed by the men’s 6k at the Fisher Family Trails in Midland, MI.