By Maddie Toles
The LCC cross country teams have been holding strong these past few weeks, securing spots on the leaderboard at competition-heavy events.
Their recent Firebird Invitational in Grayling on Friday, Sept. 21 was a great success, according to LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson. Both Stars' teams won the invite.
The LCC men scored 21 points to easily defeat second-place Grand Rapids CC, which had 54 points. A total of nine teams participated.
Freshman Brian Moore won the men's race with an 8K time of 27:07 and freshman Dillan Haviland came in second with a time of 27:08.
The women's team won with a score of 37, with second-place Macomb CC finishing with 44.
LCC freshman Claudia Baryo came in third with a 5K time of 21:25 and freshman Jivana Esposito fourth, also with a time of 21:25. The identical times are a reflection of what LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson has been urging them to do – run together.
This event is a longer run than some of the team members are used to, so this success is even more promising, Robinson said. He explained they do not typically attend the Firebird Invitational, but it was a good opportunity to practice and run longer distances.
He urged his runners to consider it as a hard workout, but their success at the invitational proved even their workout tempo is impressive.
"If you can win an invitational when you are treating it as a workout, that's a really good sign," Robinson said.
A focus for the teams is preserving health and ability for regionals and nationals.
"It is hard to run at a high level week after week, and then peak for regionals and nationals. Our goal is to peak for them." Robinson said.
The teams are working on finishing races strong. This means they intentionally start slower, not tiring themselves out early in.
"You do not want to lose any of your runners for a whole season, so we are working hard to keep them healthy," Robinson said. "On the women's side, we need every runner healthy."
Robinson noted that freshmen TJ Kessman and Chris Davis on the men's team have been improving steadily, along with Baryo and freshman Anna Vanhill on the women's side.
The University of Louisville Invitational, which took place on Friday, Sept. 28, was another chance to face harder competition and an exciting opportunity to compete out of state.
The next meet for both teams will be the Lansing Invitational on Friday, Oct. 5 at Grand Woods Park in Lansing.