The Ferris State track and field teams traveled to Grand Valley State to compete in the GLIAC Championships.
On the women’s side, Feb. 23-24, junior distance runner Anna Rudd claimed first place and conference championship honors in the 5,000 and 3,000 meter runs.
“I just tried to focus on going out there and competing the best I could,” Rudd said.
Recording a time of 16:42.95 in the 5,000 meter run, Rudd eclipsed Ferris State’s indoor track record that was set by Tina Muir in 2010.
In the 3,000 meter run, Rudd finished with a time of 9:37.06.
Winning her first conference championship by nearly 25 seconds over GVSU’s Courtney Brewis, Rudd also recorded her sixth first-place finish this season, and she was also awarded the GLIAC’s Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet and nominated for the Regional Track Athlete of the Year.
“Anna has really been relentless in attention to detail and in her work ethic. This isn’t a type of thing that happens overnight, and she has been working hard since she was a freshman,” Ferris track and field head coach Steve Picucci said. “She’s worked really hard for years and always gives 100 percent effort.”
The Bulldogs had another top performer in junior distance runner Jordan Best, as she came in sixth place in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 17:59.78.
Sophomore Shea Van Klompenburg also had a good day, placing fifth in the women’s 800 meter run.
Junior thrower Jessica Pilling finished in seventh place in the weight throw with a distance of 18.03 meters, which also was a national provisional qualification.
The women’s squad scored 15 points on the first day, which was good enough to tie them for fifth in the competition.
On the men’s side, senior mid-distance runner Ryan Chute finished in third place in the 3,000 meter run, while another Bulldog in junior distance runner Andrew Harper took home seventh with times of 8:24.72 and 8:31.83, respectively.
Freshman distance runner Lucas Copi finished in 11th place in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 15:18.12, while Harper was right behind him finishing in 14th place with a time of 15:27.59.
Finishing in seventh place was junior mid-distance runner Connor LaRowe, as he placed in the men’s 800 meter run with a time of 1:54.05.
“In some areas we may not have performed as well as we would have liked, but in other areas we performed better than expected,” Picucci said. “Nobody ever quit, and even people that were struggling came into their next race with good attitudes.”
The women’s team finished the championships with a two-day total of 28 points, which gave the Bulldogs an eighth-place finish, and the men’s team finished in 11th place with 10 total points throughout the 17 scored events.
“I think the team ran well,” Rudd said. “Everyone went out there and raced as well as they could even when the race wasn’t set up the best.”
Up next for the Bulldog runners is the NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala. on March 8-9.
“To qualify for nationals, you need to reach the national qualification mark, and depending on the event, the top 12-18 performers are invited,” Picucci said.
The Bulldogs are expected to have three athletes, Pilling, Chute and Rudd, competing at Nationals.