Expections high for LCC cross country
Sophomore Liam Elder, shown crossing the finish line during a race last season, is one of three captains for the LCC cross country team this season. File photo by Julie Newell
By Michael Leek
The LCC men’s and women’s cross country season began last Friday, Sept. 1 at the Olivet Invitational.
The men's team had a convincing win in the 5,000-meter race, placing first with a total of 20 points.
The women's team placed seventh out of nine teams with a score of 166. Hope College won the women’s race with a score of 35.
With the LCC women's team winning the Division II National Championship last year, along with the men's team placing third nationally, expectations remain high this year for the Stars.
“I expected the men to perform how they did last Friday,” LCC Coach Jim Robinson said. “I have the most talented group of returning runners and freshmen I have ever had.”
Robinson was also content with the women’s showing.
“I am pleased with how the women performed,” Robinson said. “They placed first out of the two-year schools. Jana (Stiffler) did exceptionally well, and the runners who did run the race last year improved their times.”
Robinson said he is confident both teams can perform very well this year. The intensity and discipline in their practices reflect this belief.
“They are in a high-mileage training gap,” Robinson said. “Even (Tuesday) in the 90-degree weather, we were out there training hard.
“The women’s team (is) younger and at a different stage of development, but they do essentially the same thing; just modified.”
The men's team has a total of 23 runners this year, including nine returnees. The women’s team has 11 runners this season, with five of them being returnees.
While there are more freshmen than sophomore runners, the freshmen are learning from their upperclassmen and responding well in practice, Robinson said.
The captains of the teams are Stiffler for the women; and Michael Dennis, Liam Elder, and Brenden Castillo for the men.
The team's next meet is Friday, Sept. 15 at the Grand Rapids Knight/Raider Invitational. On the following Friday, Sept. 22, The Stars will be participating in the Lansing Invitational at Grand Woods Park, just west of Lansing.