Nov. 13, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Four Grand Rapids Community College cross country runners earned All-American honors and both the men’s and women’s teams finished seventh in the nation in Saturday’s NJCAA DII National Championships.
It’s the second year in a row both GRCC teams finished in the top 10 nationally, with multiple runners earning All-American honors in Richmond, Va. on Saturday.
Joshua Kipkoech earned his second All-American award, finishing in 11th place, with teammate Coleman Clark following him by three seconds to finish in 13th place. For the women’s team, Kaylee Scott finished in 14th place, just in front of teammate Audrey Meyering, who earned her second All-American award by finishing 15th.
“I’m so happy for our team!” women’s coach Sharon Becker said. “The six women on this team are women of character and each one of them helped each other surpass what each only could accomplish alone. Because of the integrity, grit and caring attitudes, these women and this team have accomplished so much together.”
Becker said Meyering and Scott earning All-American honors was a big goal. Scott’s time was 19:29.5 and Meyering finished at 19:35.9.
“They could not have earned a top-15 spot if they let up and slowed down for even one second. They both ran a personal best time by over 15 seconds!”
Elizabeth Meyering, from Caledonia, at 20:08.3, and Rose Meyer, of Standale, at 20:29.3, each posted “huge” personal best times, Becker said.
“Their performances were even better than we had hoped for,” she said. “Those two ran harder than they have ever done before.”
GRCC’s Allison Hoop, of Jackson, finished in 94th place with a time of 21:48.6 and Alexzandria Webster, of Grandville, was in 98th place with a time of 21:51.6, beating her personal record.
Becker and assistant women’s coach Stephanie Thomas are in their first year at the helm, as is men’s team coach Garrett Lacy.
“I’m so proud of the guys and how they raced today," Lacy said. "To not be at full strength and still come away with a seventh-place team finish -- third-best in men’s program history -- is truly incredible and a testament to all the hard work this group has put in this season.
"We are also leaving with two All-Americans in Josh Kipkoech and Coleman Clark, just the second time we’ve had multiple All-Americans in the same race, and Josh became the third two-time All-American in men’s program history. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished this season and even more excited for the future seasons to come. This group is hungry and I’m confident they will return next season even better and accomplish even more. It’s a great day to be a Raider!”
Kipkoech, a native of Kenya, ran the 8K race in 25:55, with Clark, a freshman from Carson City, right behind him with a time of 25:58.9. Clark earlier in the month was named NJCAA DII National Athlete of the Week after winning the MCCAA-NJCAA Region XII cross country championships.
GRCC’s Christian Martinez-Ramos, of Kentwood, finished in 46th place with a time of 27:36.8, followed by Craig Fuller, of Ludington, in 61st place at 28:04.5, Lucas Schneider, of Kentwood, in 68th place at 28:13.7, Jaydon Moleski, of Rockford, in 71st place at 28:15.2 and Brian Frazee, of Watervliet, in 82nd place, at 28:29.2.
GRCC’s teams each finished in seventh place nationally, a year after the women’s team finished in fourth place and the men’s team in ninth.
Cowley College of Arkansas City earned the top scores among men, with Lansing Community College having the highest finish among Michigan colleges, in fifth place. Lansing’s women’s team came in first nationally.