Nov. 3, 2020, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College cross country student-athletes swept top individual honors after celebrating regional and conference championships with teammates.
Joshua Kipkoech and Audrey Meyering earned All-MCCAA Runner of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards from the Michigan Community College Athletic Conference. Matt Sicilia was named Coach of the Year by both the MCCAA and the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 12.
“We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes,” Interim Athletic Director David Selmon said. “They’ve worked hard to be successful, and that’s reflected in the championships and the individual honors. The students, the coaches and the staff have all been wonderful ambassadors for GRCC, and it’s great to see them gain this recognition.”
NJCAA Region 12 includes community colleges in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. MCCAA includes college in Michigan and Ancilla College in Indiana.
Three GRCC women student athletes -- Audrey Meyering, Kiah Becker, and Liz Meyering -- were named by the MCCAA to the nine-member All-Conference Team.
Kipkoech and Lance Jourdan from GRCC were named to the nine-member men’s All-Conference Team.
The Meyerings and Becker were joined by teammates Carolanne Merlington, Kate De Leeuw, and Allison Hoop on the 17-member All-Region Team, selected by the NJCAA. Kipkoech and Jourdan were joined by Gabe Sanchez and Noah Peterson on the men’s All-Region Team.
The Raiders on Saturday earned both the men’s and woman’s conference and regional championships, with Kipkoech winning his fourth race of the season and Audrey Meyering winning her second. It’s the first championships since the rebirth of GRCC’s cross country program in 2014.
Sicilia is in his seventh season coaching the GRCC men’s and women’s teams. Prior to this season he guided two NJCAA DI All-Americans, six individual National qualifiers, and three top-25 teams.
“The coaches are so happy that all the physical and mental preparation that our runners have invested, and they were rewarded with the Conference and Regional titles,” Sicilia said.
“We were kind of expecting this success, as we have seen these teams three or four times already this season, but we never wanted to take it for granted. Even though we’ve beat these teams before, they still have to go out and do something extremely hard -- run a 5k or 8k race. The previous results didn’t matter on Championship Saturday. We focused on each runner giving their absolute best on that given day, just like every other race of the year and the teams got the job done.”
Sicilia said the women’s team ran their best team performance of the year in Saturday’s regional championship races, and executed the race plan to near perfection. The men’s team had to overcome the loss of a key team member and an off race by a top 5 runner, but held on to win.
We look forward to the last two weeks of training and preparation and trust that the runners will be ready to perform their best and represent GRCC well at Nationals in Iowa.
Both teams are headed to the NJCAA Division II National Championships on Nov. 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.